I have to admit, I'm not one of the people who read every single book King has ever written, but I've read enough of them and I've always like his styI have to admit, I'm not one of the people who read every single book King has ever written, but I've read enough of them and I've always like his style and the way he can make a story come alive and his characters breathe. He can make you fall in love with the characters or hate them or fear them... he can just make you feel stuff. Usually stuff that make you think twice before you go to the bathroom at night.
Stephen King is a big deal in the world of literature, which is why, weeks before this book came out in the Czech Republic, people were asking about it. And I felt intrigued. Like I said, I haven't read all his books and I don't sit around waiting for his next to come out. But when you hear about something so much, you start to wonder.
Well, no, no it's not. I already knew that when I started reading it. I knew it was one of King's non-supernatural books and I was ok with it. I read Misery and I loved it, so I should like this, right?
As you can see from my rating, wrong.
I would love to say that it was amazing and it deserves the aclaims and the Goodreads choice award and all that. The truth is, the only reason I can imagine for this book winning that award is that people voted for the author not for the book.
One thing I remember I felt throughout most of the book was confusion. I wasn't sure what it was that King wanted to write. It wasn't a crime novel, it wasn't horror, there wasn't much mystery in that either. The only theory I came with was that King noticed the rise in popularity of the nordic crime thriller genre and wanted to have his share in the trend. The result is a novel that is average in its genre and far below average in King's bibliography.
It was not a complete disaster, but I'm bitter. And there are other feelings that made me give the book only two stars, which I will relate in a minute.
There are three main things I usually notice in a novel and I think it's very similar for most people. I notice the plot, the characters and the style.
The style was one of the more pleasant things about this book. I was a bit taken aback with the use of a present tense for a 3rd person narrative, but it was mostly because I'm not that used to it. King switched into past tense when he wrote flashbacks, which was something I really liked. It's neat.
King has a way of using words that fit the mood of the narrative and I felt like he did good with it in this book too, though there were some parts, especially when talking about technology, when the speech of the character felt forced and unrealistic. Another this was that they blabbed out a lot of unnecessary things that had nothing to do with the story and I had no idea why it was they were talking about it. Maybe King was trying to show how people can switch from one thought to another when they're talking, but it didn't work when he wrote that down. It didn't work at all.
While we're talking about forced things that didn't work, I don't know what's the deal with King and the LGBT community, but there was a lot of weird, off sentences that mentioned gay people. It mostly felt like someone told King he should put something about gay people there because it's a big topic now or something, so he went back to the text and randomly added thoughts about how someone was gay to the characters' minds. And the most clichéd lesbian character ever.
Another attempt to follow one of the hot topics was probably Janelle, who I can only guess was supposed to be a strong female character. I wish I could call it a "nice" try.
I got off the track here a bit, so I'll get back. The second thing I notice is the plot. In this case, I had very conflicted feelings on this topic.
For starters, almost nothing happened for about a half of the book. It was mostly just the two main characters, Hodges and Brady, thinking about each other and sometimes communicating through writing (which was a clever move on King's side though because he could use his experience when Hodges was figuring things out from Brady's style - write what you know). Things only started to get even remotely exciting in the second half, but even then, I was mostly switching between two emotions: cold disinterest and anger.
Which gets me to the biggest problem of this book: the characters!
In the first half of the book, I had absolutely zero interest in the two main characters. In Hodges' case, that lasted throughout the whole book. I started to get morbidly interested in Brady later in the story. Apart from that, there was only one character that I really liked, one that I didn't mind, and another that I thought I liked at first but then realized I was wrong and I don't care about them at all.
I liked Jerome. I actually think he was pretty much the only reason I finished the book. Jerome is a very smart teenage boy that works for Hodges occasionally and has a very bright future in front of him (probably Harvard). He was a breath of fresh air in a story that was otherwise mostly dull.
The character that I didn't mind was Holly. She was at least interesting if nothing else and I cared about what happens to her. I felt like King was maybe slightly clumsy when he was writing her, even though most of it made sense give her condition. But it was so different from King's other books where the character breathe and come alive in front of my eyes. Holly was a puppet, not a woman.
Then there was Janelle, out attempt at a strong woman. When I met her, I was almost desperate to find anyone else in the story besides Jerome, I could care for, which was why I tried really hard to find her likeable and to relate to her. I failed. She was a walking cliché of the worst kind and I couldn't make myself feel anything about her. (view spoiler)[I didn't even blink when she died. King was talking about her ripped off arm and I was almost bored. (hide spoiler)]
Brady didn't seem that interesting at first. I mean, aside from the fast that he stole a Mercedes and used it to kill people. He was a little disturbing, but not enough to actually make me interested in what he was going to do next. It only came later when King started to get a little more into his backstory, that I started to wonder about him. The scenes with him were the only parts of the book where I felt the strongest emotions (usually disgust) and just for that, he deserves some sort of medal as a character :).
Then there's Hodges. Even though I knew that this wasn't a supernatural story, I thing it would actually be a lot more interesting if Hodges succumbed to his suicidal thoughts at the beginning of the book and then investigated his biggest unsolved case as a ghost who can't move on, because this is his unfinished job.
As it was, there was nothing even remotely interesting about Hodges and certainly nothing that would justified a trilogy being written about him. He is another walking cliché. A retired cop that is haunted by a mass murder he's never solved. I did think it was a good thing that King managed to avoid another cliché that is a cop being manipulated by the killer. It was actually pretty much the other way around in this case.
But it didn't cover the fact that Hodges was an absolute fail of a character. I can only guess King wanted him to be a really nice guy that everyone likes and a retired cop that was really good at his job. The result of that was a guy I only felt anything about when I got mad at him for being irresponsible and unbelievably stupid. He spent the book making up reasons for not telling the police about Mr. Mercedes. It would be believable if this was a character that had bad experience with police and had a reason to be distrustful, but this is a former cop for God's sake! He has connections and people he can trust and that trust him (wonder why). So I'm sorry, but this was a huge fail on King's part. Even when he tried, probably out of lack of ideas how to make Hodges' stupidity plausible, to make it personal for Hodges, he failed even worse. (view spoiler)[I yelled at the book because of this. Janelle died because Hodges tried to track down a murderous maniac and not only that, he got other people involved. (hide spoiler)] It seemed to me like Hodges was determined to talk about what he was doing to all the people he met, except anyone even remotely competent to deal with this kind of thing. And when he was confronted with the consequence of his choices, he went and made the exact same choice again. (view spoiler)[Janelle died because of him and instead of telling the police what he knew (and he had like a thousand chances to do that), he barely shared a tear about his dead girlfriend (who he claimed to love after knowing her for just a few days), before getting another person actively involved, this time a kid with his whole future in front of him, and a mentally unstable woman. What kind of cop would do that? No, scratch that... What kind of person would do that? (hide spoiler)]
I quite liked the climax of the story though. It was exciting and I cared how it would go down for a change (view spoiler)[and it also helped A LOT that Hodges wasn't present for a lot of it due to his heart attack, which was probably King's way of trying to make the climax even more exciting, but that effect was spoiled by the fact that I couldn't care less if Hodges dies or not - besides, there are supossed to be another two books about him, so of course he wouldn't die (hide spoiler)].
It's not much, huh? It is weird to look back at a book written by Stephen King and realized there were only very few things that I liked about it and most of them weren't even that important. King would do better if he abandonned Hodges and went back to his usual genre. Or possibly turn Hodges into a ghost, like I suggested :). I'm pretty sure he would be at least a slightly more interesting then.
I seriously doubt I will read the other two books when they are published. And if I open them, it will be for Jerome and Holly, who might not even be there. I actually kind of wish they weren't, so I would not be tempted to read the books.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The book started off good. But most of the thrill I got from the beginning was totally killed when I encountered the main protagonist. I understood frThe book started off good. But most of the thrill I got from the beginning was totally killed when I encountered the main protagonist. I understood from what I heard about the book that her life and family is supposed to be the key to the murder, but, unfortunately, most of her family was dead (apart from her husband, who was ignored through most of the book) and her life was so boring it hurt. There were long passages of her reminiscenting over her past or scenes that seemed to only serve to one purpose - to slow down the plot. It got a lot better in the second part of the book, where we follow a young Chinese man on his voyage to America and then back to China. I got my hopes up during that part only to be let down again when we came back to the judge who first took annoyingly long time to decide if she wanted to go to China with her friend and then, when she got there...wait for it...NOTHING HAPPENED! There were a few "mysterious" incidents, but basically I just really didn't care. Then she came back. After that I made one last try to go on reading, when I realized that we'd get to encounter another character, but I had to give up. I only gave this book two stars for the beginning and for the part with the Chinese guy. Maybe I'll get back to it when I'm in a mood to read boring thoughts about marxism from one of the most boring characters I have ever encountered....more
To be honest, I have expected a lot more of this book. Maybe it's the fact that I've read Mort and Good Omens or perhaps it was just the fact that I'vTo be honest, I have expected a lot more of this book. Maybe it's the fact that I've read Mort and Good Omens or perhaps it was just the fact that I've heard so many people praising Pratchett for the Discworld series. Somehow I don't see what everybody sees in it. BUT it's not bad either. I enjoyed reading it and even though I sometimes had to push or bribe myself into opening the book again, I never regretted it. Pratchett wrote a nice parody that touches not only the fantasy books, but mostly just the world around us. I can push aside the fact that parody is not my cup of tea. Even I can enjoy it if it's really good. And I did enjoy Pratchetts remarks and cues - when there were any. I think that this book was just fine. I don't think it was humorous or witty. I don't think it was brilliant and even though I admire Pratchett's imagination, I don't think it's uncommon to have enough of it to create such a world. The reason why Discwolrd is one of the kind is simply that everybody uses this imagination in a different way. Not to mention that with writers it's always a bit unsure what is the source of the story, the characters, the settings and so on. Many writers say that it's not a result of them thinking about it or conciously creating it. The idea just suddenly appears in their brain and they write and are surprised themselfs at what comes out of it. I do write a bit myself and I can confirm that it's possible. Maybe it's the imagination who puts those ideas into the writers brain. Maybe it's God (religious explanation) or nature (scientific explanation) or our parents (psychological explanation). I personally believe in imagination and I admit that Pratchett has a lot of it. Just not uncommonly so. The feeling I actually had was that Pratchett had a few ideas and thought of a few good jokes about several different things and then wrote a story so he could use them there. It's a bit like: "Oh, I know! How funny it would be if there actually was a little painter-demon in your camera." So he let Twoflower to have a camera. The whole thing with the first tourist and everything is brilliant, but after that, there's a whole bunch of nothing. An ordinary story. It all stands and falls with the jokes and there is not that much of them in the book. The style of the book is just about the same as everything else. It's nice but that's about it. The only think I really admire on Pratchett's style is that he's able to use an absurd comparison or unlikely words to describe something and you know exactely what he means. You read the words and you feel it, but if you think about it, it doesn't really make sense. For example the whole: "!" said the stranger. Now that is brilliant. If I look at all pros and cons, I can't help but think that the book was average. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it and I'm afraid that I will soon forget about it. But I probably will come back to the Discworld series and hope that I won't have to bribe myself into reading on by telling myself that I'll only start to read Catching Fire after finishing this....more
At first I planned on reading both Alice’s Adventures, but only a few pages into the first book I realized that I’m not drinking my cup of tea at all.At first I planned on reading both Alice’s Adventures, but only a few pages into the first book I realized that I’m not drinking my cup of tea at all. I need to tell you a story for you to understand my disappointment even at the risk of making you angry. Once upon a time there was a girl (not so little anymore, but not big either). She loved books, but she never really read popular books until after everyone else read them twice. She wanted to, but there were so many other books she wanted to read. She heard a lot about two children’s books particularly that everyone told her were amazing and that she just had to read it. When she was about fifteen she finally got to read the first of the two. It was a series actually – The Chronicles of Narnia. The girl at first thought she was too old for the books, but she loved them. Then, when she was over twenty, she remembered the second book – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This time she wasn’t afrain she was too old, because she still loved Narnia. But there was one little problem: Lewis Carroll wasn’t C.S. Lewis and Alice wasn’t Narnia. I have no idea, why this book is so often classified as a children book. I certainly will never read this to my children. The only thing that I think makes it a children book for people is the fact that the main protagonist is a little girl. Other than that I would call it a surrealistic psychological study of child’s mind bordering on absurd fiction and at times it mostly sounds like stream of consciousness (maybe the fact that Lewis Carroll used it before the modernists came is the reason why many consider him such a genious). It was clever to use the story-in-a-dream move, because then he could make anything happen without the risk of being accused of taking a drug before he started to write – or before he started to speak. I actually read on Wikipedia that originally, this story was an improvized tale he told some children during one afternoon. Now that explaines a lot! I have my experience with improvized fairy tales and a lot of them is just the main character stumbling around, meeting various other characters, each of whom is more absurd that the one before as the story teller starts to get distrated by thinking desperately how to end the tale as quickly as possible, but in a way that would satisfy the children, so they won’t ask for more. That’s how I see this story. Through half of the book Alice does little more than wandering around growing short and tall as if it was a piece of cake (which it actually sometimes quite literally is). She does it so often that I was wondering if there’s some deeper meaning to it, but I soon gave up on trying to understand. Maybe I’m analyzing it too much. But I did try to just read. Without thinking much about it. Unfortunately I was soon distracted by the pattern of the story, which was basically the same episode happening over and over again only in different settings with a different character. It was like reading Rosemunde Pilcher (or I guess that’s how it would feel to read her books – I saw a few movies and it was exactely like I said: same story, different settings, different names). In Alice’s case the pattern went: Alice grows taller or shorter, Alice meets someone, Alice makes an absurd conversation with the character, Alice goes on… You probably already guessed that I don’t like surrealism and this is the feeling I got from the book. It was surrealistic. Unfortunattely it completely overshadowed all the good things that I guess other people see in Carroll’s writing – the colorfulness and the imagination. I could not feel amazed by his imaginative tale when all this imagination was exactelly what made me feel constantly lost, overwhelmed, confused and at times kind of bored. Carroll Lewis writes in the kind of style I will never enjoy reading very much (unless I undergo a massive change of taste), so I couldn’t have given him a good score. I was tempted to give Alice just one star, but I decided on two, because of the Cheshire Cat (which was the only character who sparked my interest) and because at times I was actually a bit amused by the absurdity of the story, staring at the words with a distrustful smile, thinkng: „Oh, he must be pulling my leg now.“
Best supporting character: The Cheshire Cat Best scene: Alice is talking to the Cheshire Cat after visiting the Dutchess....more
The nicest thing I have to say about this book is that it’s at least short. When I finished the first book of the series I was far from impressed andThe nicest thing I have to say about this book is that it’s at least short. When I finished the first book of the series I was far from impressed and it actually really failed to meet my expectations. I was always very cautious about the books that were overly popular among people, because even though part of them proved to be really amazing and deserving of every single bit of attention they got, there is still the other group of books, which further consists of two categories: painfully average and exceedingly bad. In my goodreads shelfs both of those categories go to the they-are-wrong one. I got through the first book fairly easily, because not only was it short, but it was actually quite entertaining and I was interested in what was going on there. But I wasn’t intrigued enough to want to read the second book and the only reason I picked it up was that the first book had an opened ending which made me feel as if I didn’t finish reading and I hate that. So I got over my doubts and opened the second book in hopes that it will get better and I won’t regret it after all. Big mistake! It only got worse. In the first book I was only slightly bothered by the writing style, I thought the main protagonist was only a bit unpleasant, annoying and maybe stupid when it came to Stefan, I found the story average and I got through the book not eager to know what happens next, but not wanting to stop reading and run away screaming either. The second book started with me feeling the same way as I did while reading the Awakening, but then it got worse and worse in every of the previously stated aspects and half way through the book I started to feel trapped (which is the worst feeling an author can give me and I’m usually determined to hate them for the rest of my life). The trap is simple: I really want to stop reading the book and put it away forever, but on the other hand, I already got over the half of the book and it would be a serious waste of time if I didn’t finish it, especially if it won’t take me more than two hours to do that. I really need to learn how to put away the books I get bored with! I‘ve never regreted that the popular culture made me read Harry Potter (I love the pop culture for that). I actually don‘t even regret that I read Meyer (despite the lack of good writing and other faults). Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Da Vinci Code, Eragon or most recently the Hunger Games convinced me that I can love the same things other people love (no matter how silly they are) and that sometimes there is a reason why the books became so popular (other than that the vampires are suppa-cool and the main protagonist is sooooo hawt). Despite my review of the first book I must therefore inevitably conclude that the Vampire Diaries might be more realistic than Twilight, but who cares about realistic when you have to kick yourself through it! Zero suspense, no thrill and only one character that could be called exciting (even though that too gets questionable, because being more exciting than the other characters is no achievement when it comes to this book). I’m not talking about Elena of course – why would we try to make the main protagonist interesting when we can make her insufferable instead? I’m not talking about Stefan either. The Most-exciting-character award would go to Damon, who, despite his totally embarassing bad-ass posture, provides at least a bit of drama. Although he would probably inspire much more excitement if he dyed his hair pink and started a cat shelter (yes, I would love to read THAT spin-off). There are all in all two characters that I like enough to be interested in them and in what they have to say. The first one is Bonnie, because she seems to bet he only girl out of the main trio who can use her brain. The second one is Matt, who unfortunately only seems to be in the books to be everyone’s flunkey. If Bonnie and Matt were the main protagonists, it could make the whole story readible. And what I hate most about the book is the ending. It’s the same as with the first book. There’s nothing exciting happening the whole time, but when you think the torture is behind you it ends in a way that makes you see what happens next. That would be a good thing if the book was actually worth reading. But it isn’t. Cliffhangers were never my thing but they are the deadliest weapon when they are the only thing the author can write satisfyingly. Which would probably be this case. This book made me so mad I can't give it more than one star. End of the rant....more
Ok, I've finally gave in. I was always a fan of vampires and I've heard a lot about this series, so why not try it. Especially since I've heard it's aOk, I've finally gave in. I was always a fan of vampires and I've heard a lot about this series, so why not try it. Especially since I've heard it's a lot more realistic than Twilight (just for the record, I know that the VD came first). It is more realistic. For starters, the main protagonist is not a hysterical neurotic who hates everybody around her. Elena is not perfect, but not in the Mary Sue way. Her imperfections really are imperfections and her weaknesses are not there just to make her look cute. And her strenght is not over the top. All that is good. Now, her obsession with Stefan is kind of weird, but I have to admit the explanation of her feeling insulted by his indifference suited her character. At least the character she had at the beginning. But it seemed to me that she started to change for no apparent reason. One day she was queen of the school and she thought every guy should fall for her. I liked when she was a bit bitchy, because it made her believable. But then she told Matt she doesn't want to hurt anyone and since then she turned into the nice girl who fell in love with someone she doesn't know. That's one star less for the book. Stefan is alright when he's not brooding or putting on Edward Cullen. (view spoiler)[Blaming yourself for your love's death even though it was clearly not your fault. Original. (hide spoiler)] So this is the other star. The third star is for the writing style, because it's...just...trivial. I don't know how else to describe the total lack of depth or anything else that could catch my interest. As for the plot, it's better than I expected after seeing the pilot episode of the TV series. I'm not a violent person, but when I read about vampires I kind of expect there to be death in the book. I've been disappointed a lot of times, since some authors really don't care about this and they either don't kill anybody or the kill a few faceless people and don't even give their death a second look. I like that L.J. Smith doesn't do that. Ok, people don't always die, but at least the vampires here are not all nice and they really can be scary. And they don't glow - that's good too. To sum it up. This is not a book I would be wild about, but it's not bad and I will read the next book to see what will Elena do to Damon since she's so pissed off. Oh, and one more thing...about the summary here. Damon is not sexy. At least not from what I've read in the first book. Maybe it's the impression the author wanted to give, but I didn't feel it. He's dangerous and he's definitely a jerk, but so far the only reason I see for anyone to fall for him is some kind of a super power.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A to jsem si myslela, že nikdy nepřečtu nic horšího než Stmívání. Ale vzhledem k tomu, že tohle není nic jiného než Stmívání v kostce (to, co se u MeyA to jsem si myslela, že nikdy nepřečtu nic horšího než Stmívání. Ale vzhledem k tomu, že tohle není nic jiného než Stmívání v kostce (to, co se u Meyerové odehraje ve čtyřech knihách se tady stane v jedné a ještě o polovinu kratší). Kdo to editoval a schválil k tisku to nevím, ale buď to byla autorka sama nebo někdo, kdo si myslel, že tím dojde podobného úspěchu jako Meyerová. Jak moc Meyerovou nemám ráda, její časová osa příběhu se ještě dá zkousnout. Celou knihu se v podstatě nic neděje a když přijde na rádoby drama, je smrsknuté na dvou stranách a napsané způsobem, že by to jednoho uspalo. Knihu rozhodně nedoporučuji. Raději si přečtěte fanfiction ke Stmívání, protože hodně z nich má vyšší úroveň než tahle kniha....more