How is it possible for every single one of Neil Gaiman's novels to be so nearly perfect? He MUST have at least one bad book? Or at least a mediocre onHow is it possible for every single one of Neil Gaiman's novels to be so nearly perfect? He MUST have at least one bad book? Or at least a mediocre one? So far, I haven't found it. Neverwhere is one of the best fantasies I've read to date. Gaiman weaves a dark, dangerous world into existence, just below our own. Filled with stomach-dropping twists and turns, it's a hard book to predict, and an even harder one to put down. As always with Gaiman's work, the protagonist is the least interesting character. I don't know whether this is because Richard Mayhew is legitimately dull, or everyone else in the novel is so extraordinarily intriguing. Regadless, by the end, our hero builds up to become someone I couldn't help but be proud of. I've seen this novel described as an adult version of a modern day Alice in Wonderland, and I must respectfully disagree. Neverwhere is much too complex and intrinsically designed to be compared to any other story, classic or not. Gaiman sets a new bar for fantasy--and fiction in general--that makes it impossible to really compare. His world building skills are nothing less than astonishing. (That said, there are several references to Alice in Wonderland throughout the novel). Every time I write a review for a Gaiman novel, I rave about the ending. Endings can make or break a novel, in my opinion. There was a brief moment in which I thought I would be disappointed by this one. I was wrong. Nothing about this story is disappointing. A strong 5 stars, as usual....more
This book should come with a warning label: do not pick up if you have anything such as work, school, errands, or any other obligations such as eatingThis book should come with a warning label: do not pick up if you have anything such as work, school, errands, or any other obligations such as eating or sleeping for at least 6-12 hours depending on your reading speed. Beginning with an in medias res intro, this novel starts at page one with action hitting you at break neck speeds and it doesn't slow down for a second. The problem is, I did not set aside 6 solid hours to read this book. I picked it up at the airport and when I got home three hours later, I had to sleep and then work, and then had a million other things to do. As a result, I was sidetracked for each of the 48 hours that it took me to finish reading. This book has a way of getting inside your head and sticking with you, because the way Barry describes the science behind the brain hacking these people do, sounds as if it legitimately makes sense. A starkly original and intelligent thriller, Lexicon explores the world of a clandestine organization known as the Poets, who have learned through neurolinguistics how to hack people's brains using words, leaving them completely susceptible to persuasion. I read an article written a couple years ago about a director securing the rights to this book, and they described the plot as this: ...a secret, ancient, global organization possesses the remarkable and dangerous gift of using words to such manipulating extremes that they can be lethal. The most gifted member of this elusive group of deadly diction dealers is a young woman who suffers a crisis of conscience when she breaks the cabal's most important rule by falling in love. So, in a world where words have the power to kill, is "I love you" the most dangerous phrase of all?" And it made me so angry, because this isn't a love story. It's so much more than that. It's a story about power and how far people are willing to go. It's a story about what happens to humans when they're forced to shut themselves down completely from the outside world, or risk being destroyed by those they call friends. And most of all, it's a story about how there are always two sides to every tale. Sometime even three. Never before have I encountered such an unexpected plot twist that my head spun. Unprecedentedly original and smart, scarily close to the realm of possibility, and surprisingly emotional. A strong 5+ stars. I would recommend this book to anyone....more
King is here to remind us that you don't need monsters to create terror. All you need is a town filled with desperate people, and a handful of self-riKing is here to remind us that you don't need monsters to create terror. All you need is a town filled with desperate people, and a handful of self-righteous, power hungry sociopaths (although a couple of synchronized psychic visions and mysterious leather-faced aliens never hurt).
Under the Dome is not what you would expect in the horror genre from someone like King. I'd call it more of a thriller, but that doesn't mean that the idea of this novel is anything less than horrifying. King delves deep into the human psyche to show what ordinary, friendly people are capable of when they get scared, and it is nothing short of gruesome.
There is a HUGE cast of characters that can be pretty tough to keep track of, especially during the early stages of the book, but it gets easier as you get to know them as people instead of just a name. Because let's face it-if there's one thing King is capable of, it's creating real, tangible characters.
Ultra fast-paced, there are few resting points for such a monstrous sized novel. In the end, this is the kind of book that is apt to stick with you long after you close it. I'll tell you one thing for sure: the next time I go to kill a bug, I think I'll find myself reconsidering....more
When it comes to young adult fantasy, it tends to draw a bit too close to the paranormal romance genre for my liking. I read Catherine Fisher's IncarcWhen it comes to young adult fantasy, it tends to draw a bit too close to the paranormal romance genre for my liking. I read Catherine Fisher's Incarceron series, though, and absolutely loved it, so I thought I'd give this a chance. Thankfully, Fisher didn't disappoint. The story revolves around Jake, a high school student whose father recently went missing. As a result, he was put into the care of his godfather Oberon Venn, a well renown explorer-gone-recluse, who he's never met. However, based on some letters he had from his father before his disappearance, Jake is convinced that Venn killed his father in the midst of some sort of top secret experiment the two were conducting together. In an effort to force Venn to talk to him--rather than sticking him at a fancy boarding school or hotel during the holidays--Jake gets himself expelled from school and sent to Venn's home. The mansion is filled with far more mysteries than Jake could have imagined, including Sarah, a teenager who claims to be able to make herself invisible and recently escaped from a mental institute, a forest filled with dangerous, otherworldly creatures known as the Shee, and the Chronoptika, an obsidian mirror that is supposed to enable time travel. As far as recent young adult goes, The Obsidian Mirror is pretty mild in the violence category. Not that this is a bad thing; it's almost a relief to be able to read a novel that has a well-rounded exciting plot without being at the expense of teenagers being viciously and gruesomely tortured. In the end, besides being a thoroughly enjoyable read, the first installment of the Chronoptika series is pretty shallow. It's pure brain candy. There's not much in the way of an underlying moral teaching or satirical plot, and it makes for a great, quick, pure-and-simple leisure read....more
Neil Gaiman has undoubtedly become my favorite author. I never would have claimed fantasy to be my genre of choice, but Gaiman completely changes theNeil Gaiman has undoubtedly become my favorite author. I never would have claimed fantasy to be my genre of choice, but Gaiman completely changes the game.
American Gods is the story of the many different gods who traveled to America with immagrants from all over the world. They exist because people believed in them. But the world is changing, and so are people's beliefs. Now, there are new gods surfacing in America. Gods of media and technology and business that are slowly taking over, and the old gods, having fewer believers, are suffering. Some are even dying.
Shadow, freshly released from prison, boards a flight home where his wife's funeral awaits him, and meets a man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. Wednesday seems to know all about Shadow, and expresses a keen interest in him. He offers him a job as a sort-of body guard. With nothing left waiting for him in the town he once called home, Shadow begrudgingly accepts the man's proposal, and finds himself unwittingly on the forefronts of a war between the old gods and the new. And for some reason, both sides wants Shadow for themselves.
This novel is hypnotic and addicting. From the first page, you can sense that there is something mysterious going on. Shadow is a rather unreliable narrator, and you get the sense that there's more to him than he's letting on. You also get the sense that Wednesday knows things about him and his past that even Shadow doesn't realize. The enigma of the plot, although you can't quite figure out what it is, will keep you turning the pages well into the night. Gaiman incorporates mythology from all over the world in a way that somehow turns fantasy into a sort of satirical analysis of present-day American values. Although I could tell that there were things happening just out of my view and understanding, I never really got the feeling that there would be much of a twist at the end. I was wrong. The best sort of twists are the answers to the questions that you didn't know to ask, and Gaiman manages to capture them by the dozens. The second I finished reading American Gods, I wanted to turn right back to the first page and read it all over again. This is one of those books that I will forever wish I could read again for the first time....more
Unfortunately, this is the conclusion of the Dark Passages series. To be honest, I could read ten more like this and not have had enough. Strong 5 staUnfortunately, this is the conclusion of the Dark Passages series. To be honest, I could read ten more like this and not have had enough. Strong 5 stars. This series is one of the most original and well thought out young adult plots I've ever read. This book gets pretty meta, which I usually hate, but this whole series is filled with things that I usually hate and for some reason love. I cannot praise the Dark Passages enough to be honest. It has been a long time that I read a young adult novel that didn't center solely on some fantastical teenage romance. It's also one of the best examples I can give to counter the ever so popular argument of *begin snobby soccer mom voice* "young adult novels are so simplistic!" The story is far from simplistic. In fact, at times, it can be difficult to follow. I said it for White Space and I'm going to repeat it here: the complexity of the fractured plot line is super frustrating, and in that way, Bick forces the reader into the same sort of edge-of-your-seat what-the-hell-is-going-on anticipation as the characters are experiencing. That, I think, is one hell of a talent. I will say, however, that it was not quite as complicated as White Space, because we don't have the issue of switching between different 'Nows'. For those of you who are worried about having more of the same thing as White Space, you can relax. The Dickens Mirror is just as fresh and original as the first of the series. However, it is FILLED with literary symmetry. Since we're dealing with alternate realities of the same characters, we get to really investigate the idea of how important a role fate plays out in each character's stories. Everything about this book, whether it be on its own or judged by the series as a whole, is phenomenal. ...more
When your only comprehensible thought after finishing a book is "Oh my God, help!" you have to give it 5 stars. When it's 11:30 at night and you startWhen your only comprehensible thought after finishing a book is "Oh my God, help!" you have to give it 5 stars. When it's 11:30 at night and you start counting down the hours until the bookstore opens so that you can get the sequel, you have no choice: 5 stars.
As a writer, this book freaked me out. I imagine it's pretty freaky anyway. I remember watching the movie Stranger Than Fiction and being weirded out the next time I sat down with a pen and paper, but that was a comedy. White Space, is not.
It's hard to sum up this book without any spoilers (which I always try to avoid when possible), so I'm not going to do that. What I will say, is that this book is incredibly frustrating. From the first page, you will be wondering what the hell is going on, and with every answer you get, more questions will sprout up. If you're patient enough to stick it out (and if you're not, I don't blame you. I'm not good with continuing on with a story I can't keep up with) I PROMISE it will be worth it. Following in the same footsteps as Inception, the story jumps around to different points of view, and different Nows--sort of alternate dimensions outside of your own timeline--and it can get pretty sticky at times. But that's the beauty of it. Ilsa J Bick keeps you just as confused as the poor characters, wondering WHAT ON EARTH is happening to them. So, as you thumb through the pages at breakneck speed, I guarantee you'll be on the edge of your seat. If you think you've figured it all out, you're probably wrong. Bick has created an intoxicating combination of mystery, fantasy, and Stephen King style-horror that will make your skin crawl and keep you holding your breath the whole way through....more
This was written before I was born. That means I wasted almost 23 years of my life that could have been dedicated to reading this book over and over aThis was written before I was born. That means I wasted almost 23 years of my life that could have been dedicated to reading this book over and over again. If I could rate this 6 stars, I would. Unfortunately, Goodreads limits me to 5. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, is drenched in witty humor that will make you quite literally laugh out loud several times per chapter, and filled to the brim with some of the best characters I've ever seen. This is easily the most enjoyable book I've ever read.
We all know the story of the Judeo-Christian apocolypse. We've all seen it a million times, and frankly, it's gotten pretty old. But Good Omens takes the classic story, and twists it into such an entertaining tale, that it's easy to forget that this plot line has become so trite. The story revolves around an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley, both of whom have been on Earth since the Beginning, and as such, have come to like it quite a bit. Aziraphale collects rare books and runs a bookshop that is hardly ever open for fear of having to sell parts of his precious collection. Crowley is the proud owner of a 1926 Bentley that he keeps in mint condition and enjoys driving at 120 miles per hour through the heart of London. He also is an avid fan of Queen. In fact, any cassette tape that is left in his car for more than 2 weeks somehow transforms into Queen's Greatest Hits. While the two aren't friends, they've known each other for so long that they've become much closer than enemies are supposed to be. For whatever reason, Hell chooses Crowley to be the instrument of delivering the apocalypse unto Earth. This is a bit of an enigma to everyone, seeing as Crowley is not very demon-like, but he can't exactly turn down the job. It's a pretty simple task: all he has to do is deliver the infant antichrist to a hospital run by satanic nuns, who will then switch out the antichrist with a perfectly normal baby to be raised by the Downing family. The problem is, there's a third baby, and the nuns get confused and by the end of the night, nobody is quite sure where the antichrist wound up.
There's a quote near the end of the book that Crowley says: "Just imagine how terrible it might have been if we'd been at all competent." I think that sums up the plot quite nicely. The only reason anything gets done at all is accidentally.
We all know about the good-versus-evil conflict, but Good Omens points out that it's not always quite so simple. Things aren't always black and white, or even grey. Throughout the book, you can't look at Heaven's people and say "good", or look at Hell's people and say "bad", and you definitely can't look at humans and say anything of the sort. The characters are so dynamic, that no matter what side they're on, you can't really help but love them.
Pratchett and Gaiman work flawlessly together. However many times they've said they will never do this again, I will still keep hope that they'll give us something else--anything else--to devour....more
This book, especially in comparison to the other two, was extremely slow going. Practically two thirds of the entire plot was flat lined with two or tThis book, especially in comparison to the other two, was extremely slow going. Practically two thirds of the entire plot was flat lined with two or three small spikes of excitement. I think the problem for me is how informative it was. There was so much information being crammed in that it read more like a text book than a novel for a large portion of it. Once the action got started, though, it was just as good as the other two, and for once, the ending, although heartbreaking, was the perfect wrap up to the series....more
I was debating heavily on whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars. I've decided on 2 because even though this book is extremely well written and had anI was debating heavily on whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars. I've decided on 2 because even though this book is extremely well written and had an enormously satisfying twist, the ending completely overshadowed any redeeming qualities. It's hard to write a good review without spoilers on this one, seeings as the 'spoiler' occurs about halfway through the story, not at the end, so although I prefer to omit them, this review does contain some vague notion of the twist.
On the morning of her 5th wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne disappears. With clear signs of a struggle in the house, foul play is quickly suspected. Nick Dunne, Amy's husband, holds to his innocence, but there are a lot of things working against him. First of all, he is not at all upfront and honest with the detectives. Secondly, it is very clear that his and Amy's marriage was far from perfect. Add that to the fact that Nick is not the best at expressing his emotions, and the media flourishes on the allegation of a dishonest, unhappy husband who doesn't seem remotely upset about the fact that his wife is missing--possibly dead.
The first part of the novel is written in the first person point of view of Nick, intertwined with diary entries from Amy over the past several years. The two points of view constantly contradict each other, and it is not easy to decide who to empathize with more: Amy, the possibly murdered wife who tried so hard to keep up with a wilting marriage; or Nick: the guilt stricken husband who realizes--possibly too late--that he didn't try hard enough to keep his marriage alive, and is now being lynched by the media and law enforcement.
The first hundred or so pages drags out a bit. Details of the investigation. Flashbacks from Amy's diary. Interactions that in reality seem irrelevant to the story other than to introduce character traits. I feel like a lot of it could have been cut down. However, the writing style itself was enticing enough to keep me reading and I was glad I did.
The plot twist is huge. One that made me put the book down just so that I could breathe a bit. After that, the edge-of-your-seat-mystery-thriller vibe takes over.
So, why only two stars?
This story gave me reason to hate it every step of the way. You may say that in a way, that's a sign of a good writer. Gillian Flynn definitely creates characters that you can't help but hate. I was literally disgusted. (view spoiler)[I have never read a first person account of such a psychopathic person. One of the problems with this is, I am not a psychopath; I am a rationally-minded person, and I like to assume most of the other readers are as well. Reading about the way a psychopath deals with conflict is hard to relate to. I can't quite quell the background chant of: This is stupid. Why bother? What a psycho. (hide spoiler)]
And then, the biggest problem of all: the ending. Of course, this is purely a matter of opinion without the slightest bit of constructive criticism, but I can't help it. I am so enraged that such a well written book was ruined by such a terrible ending. There is no closure for any of the characters. Not even the ones that--at least I think--you're intended to empathize with by the end. It's not just a fill-in-the-details-yourself ending. It's not a cliff hanger ending that's supposed to leave you guessing. To me, it felt like a lazy ending. Nothing was resolved, and it made me feel like I wasted my time. For me, nothing is worse than a bad ending. In a series, a bad ending has the ability to make me hate all of the books. I've even gone so far as to rewrite reviews after I've finished the finale. If you're not as hung up as I am on endings, there is a good chance you will thoroughly enjoy this book. If you are looking for a good mystery with a neatly wrapped conclusion--or any conclusion at all, really--I suggest you save the trouble and take a pass on this one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This is one of the rare books I've read that is both a quick read--I finished it in a matter of hours--and a good read. Most of the time if a book isThis is one of the rare books I've read that is both a quick read--I finished it in a matter of hours--and a good read. Most of the time if a book is as quick as this it's because it's simplistic, but for If I Stay, that is far from the truth. I'm not usually into YA romance because I've come to find that the only sake of the sub genre is usually the corny, cliche, teenage love story. This is a different breed altogether. While romance is involved, it by no means dominates the story. Instead, It,s a brutally honest tale of loss and the choices that come with it. It's surprisingly packed full of character development for how seldom we really get to glimpse characters other than the main protagonist. Above all else, it's achingly, tragically beautiful. Just when I thought I had managed to dodge the tear jerker I realized how wrong I was. As touching and real as The Fault in Our Stars. A strong five stars....more
I've always been a fan of King, and as such I've always been a bit ashamed to admit that I've never read his Dark Towers series. The beginning of KingI've always been a fan of King, and as such I've always been a bit ashamed to admit that I've never read his Dark Towers series. The beginning of King's epic is one of the most appropriate first installations I've ever read. It's hard to explain why I feel this way other than by saying this novel is literally the story of the protagonist setting off on a quest that will no doubt be a long one. It's not like other series where there's a plot resolution in each novel followed by the introduction of a new plot point which will be addressed in the sequel. I have a feeling that this will be a very smooth-running series. That said, The Gunslinger is far from drawling exposition to the upcoming action. There are several edge-of-your-seat page-turning moments as Roland aka the gunslinger chases the notorious man in black to the edge of the know civilization. Unfortunately, the man in black knows all too well of the pursuit and is often leaving traps in the villages he leaves, knowing Roland will fall into them. As I began The Gunslinger, I wasn't quite sure what I thought about it other than the fact that it was enticing enough for me to finish in one day. King is a cruel master of letting the reader know only what he wants you to, and that can get frustrating in a way, but not to the point where you give up on reading it. I also wasn't sure about the fantasy element that's supposed to play a prominent element in the story. So far I've seen some demons and of course the man in black and whatever supernatural powers he possesses. We learn about some fallen races I.e the gunslinger's, but otherwise, I get the idea that what were really dealing with is some post-apocalyptic earth. When it comes to characters, whether we meet them only for a few pages or actually get sufficient time to get to know them they are all nothing short of mesmerizing. It seems that they each have some form of secrets, but in the harsh world they're trying to survive secrets are sometimes necessary. I hope that many of them will return at some point in Roland's adventure.
I'm sure more will be revealed as I begin reading The Drawing of the Three, but irregardless King has not failed to deliver his masterful story telling. I was entranced throughout the entire time, even during the rare lulls. As far as I'm concerned, it's. Strong 4 star read. ...more