Selected as the Theme of the Month for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club, I really didn't think that I would like this book much and was mentally prepared...moreSelected as the Theme of the Month for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club, I really didn't think that I would like this book much and was mentally prepared to put it aside; fortunately, it was short and actually quite fun (that pleasant surprise was worth an extra star here). Although the story brings together many of the Victorian horror villains (similar to "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"), the true protagonists were really their animal companions as they 'traded' clues about this ultimate game within a diary or journal style narration. The fun was in trying to match up who everybody was with where they fit in the game while at the same time trying to figure out the rules of the game itself ... Suspension of Disbelief really is your friend here; you really need to be able to relax and let go a fair amount of rational thinking to truly enjoy it.(less)
This review has been a LONG time coming. The book was really hard to peg correctly. On one hand, it reads like an American Western … on the other hand...moreThis review has been a LONG time coming. The book was really hard to peg correctly. On one hand, it reads like an American Western … on the other hand, it makes a REALLY bad Western. On one hand it reads like an epic fantasy … a really BAD epic fantasy. On one hand it is a post-apocalyptic story … one that remains mysterious and unexplained. There are also some minor elements from Mr. Kings side of the tracks (horror) … and of course, I have seen better from him on that score as well (and I am not exactly a King fan). You get the picture. What it does is set up the world in which the remaining novels are set … and it presents enough of an interesting story to draw you into the sequels, which are reportedly a little better.
The book comes across more like a series of short stories (which count against it in my book as I don’t typically like short stories). Not surprisingly, I discovered after the fact that was actually what it was originally published as (so the feel bleeds through). Basically we follow the gunslinger who pursues the man in black through a wasted land. Along the way, we have several different encounters that fill-in a little more about what the world was like in the past and why the man in black is the bad guy (although I believe more needs to be said as even in the end, I couldn’t be sure who really was the bad guy … so harsh was the world from which the gunslinger comes). Finally at the end, we have what appears to be some resolution between the two antagonists, but the outcome doesn’t really make any sense and leaves the ending more undefined then anything else.
I will give the next story a try … but if they story doesn’t improve from here, I am done with the series. (less)
Flat delivery detracted from the story which was also somewhat limited in character development and narrative style (a lot of places where the narrato...moreFlat delivery detracted from the story which was also somewhat limited in character development and narrative style (a lot of places where the narrator provides detailed background information aka info dumps). It had the feel of a novice effort.(less)