**spoiler alert** I have to admire Stephen King for writing this book; writing a story about how some stories don't have a pat conclusion all tied up**spoiler alert** I have to admire Stephen King for writing this book; writing a story about how some stories don't have a pat conclusion all tied up with a bow is a hell of an ambition. And so it's no surprise that I wasn't in love with the book; even more than some of King's later books, it tends to meander, precisely because it's not headed toward any sort of conclusion. The shifting narrator was also more of a distraction than a benefit; if the primary narrator (Sandy) had been the only narrator, I think I would have liked it more.
All in all, it was an interesting, modern take on an H.P. Lovecraft story, and for that you have to give it some kudos; nobody really does cosmic horror anymore, and now I can see why -- even a writer of King's prodigious gifts has a tough time putting words on a page that convey the horror of something so OTHER than ourselves. I imagine that's why Lovecraft mostly kept his OTHERS to horrifying glimpses, dizzying impressions, or madness-fogged rantings. King did his level best, though, and a couple of the images he created definitely put me off of dinner.
I will say that the last 20-30% (sorry, I'm on a Kindle) of the book was gripping as hell; I'm glad that I didn't drop it at the half-way mark, which I had seriously considered doing. So...I don't know, mixed scores? I'm glad I read it, but there were times when I considered dropping it....more
It can be difficult to read these back to back, because the narration can get redundant -- keep in mind that these were strips that were intended to bIt can be difficult to read these back to back, because the narration can get redundant -- keep in mind that these were strips that were intended to be read once per day, or even once per week, and so they suffer from "Last time, on Flash Gordon..." syndrome.
That said, these are an entertaining must-read for any fan of early sci-fi. These strips and Buck Rogers bear a lot of responsibility for shaping our modern conception of early sci-fi. Raymond's renditions of rockets and ray guns are the gold standard against which all others must be measured. His artwork is unmatched; unlike a great deal of early sequential art, his strips can stand against some of the greatest artists of today.
The characterizations are paper thin, the plots are canned and rife with deus ex machina, and Flash Gordon is alternately a military genius or a bumbling doofus, depending on the needs of the strip, but you just can't beat the raw creativity and enthusiasm of Flash Gordon, particularly in these early strips (things kind of take a turn in later volumes, once Flash leaves Mongo)....more
What I liked: The author really has a gift for world-building without a bunch of info-dumping exposition. Instead, you are dropped into the middle ofWhat I liked: The author really has a gift for world-building without a bunch of info-dumping exposition. Instead, you are dropped into the middle of the story and left to gradually learn about its world; luckily, the world of The Golden Compass is very similar to ours, and so we are left only to discover the differences. Even so, fully half the book had passed before I felt that I had a handle on what the world was like.
The author also has a gift for language, and does not shy away from using it creatively. The book is fantastically well-written, with a slightly formal style that accompanies the Victorian atmosphere of the world well (though I may be misinterpreting ordinary Britishness as formality).
What I didn't like: I can't articulate why the book didn't grab me, but I feel no real affinity for the world that it created. For a book to truly get its hooks into me, I have to be left imagining myself in that world, fantasizing about how I might, say, ride a giant sandworm, or pilot a mechanical walker, or delve the Mines of Moria. I didn't have that relationship with this story; it was interesting in a sort of academic way.
Still, it was a good read, and really well-written. I may come back to the sequels at some later date. For now, onward toward Asimov!...more
I really enjoyed this science-grounded space opera romp; the two main characters were interesting and readable, and a fairly long book, Leviathan WakeI really enjoyed this science-grounded space opera romp; the two main characters were interesting and readable, and a fairly long book, Leviathan Wakes maintains an unrelenting pace. I also appreciated the author's knack for worldbuilding by story-telling; there's very little info-dumping in the book, and most of what the reader needs to know about the universe emerges naturally from the story.
It was an engaging sci-fi romp. I held back a star because I reserve 5-star status for books where I become really enamored of the universe. That's the only downside to Leviathan Wakes, really; the world of the book is so practical that it's hard to fall in love with (i.e., "Man, I wish I had my own ship in Leviathan Wakes!")....more