It took me almost two entire months to read this doorstopper of a novel, and not because I was ever bored. It's just that long.
Three things I liked:
1.It took me almost two entire months to read this doorstopper of a novel, and not because I was ever bored. It's just that long.
Three things I liked:
1.) After all these years, vampire fiction that didn't make me want to set my hair on fire! These vampires are not traditional on any level. Also they are not love interests. They don't sparkle, but they do glow.
2.) I wonder if Cronin is a Gemini? Because he has two fairly distinct writing styles. He writes a good action plot, and then at times he shifts into an almost literary story-telling mode. Both these styles worked well together in this book.
3.) Epic post apocalyptic fiction. Not since the days of The Stand and Swan Song have I had my fill of this genre.
bonus.) I liked the way the language had subtly changed in the years since the apocalypse. Well, except for...(keep reading)
Three things I didn't like:
1.) The character's used the word "flyers" as an oath. If I weren't so mature (and if I weren't reading on my Nook) I might have been tempted to send the book flying, because this got old fast.
2.) An over-abundance of usable gasoline a hundred years after the refineries have quit refining. Once the characters had to filter rust out of the gas to make it work. Whereas in real life, my husband left gasoline sit in the snow blower for just one year and the machine is thoroughly borked and requires an expert mechanical intervention.
3.) Knowing the story is going to be a trilogy lowered the stakes for me. At least the key players are probably going to live until that third book hits the shelves. The ending is perhaps not as satisfying as it might have been in a stand-alone novel.
Cronin sites Stephen King and Cormack McCarthy as influences, and the King part of the equation shows, but not in a bad way. I'm going to take a break before I start reading this book's sequel, The Twelve. But the fact that I plan to read the sequel at all sums up how I feel about this book. It was worth the time it took to read, and I never once thought, oh, I'm too tired to read tonight. I always managed at least a page or two. ...more
**spoiler alert** It took me rougly eight tries to make it through Stephen King's The Stand. At first he kept losing me after he turned his camera a**spoiler alert** It took me rougly eight tries to make it through Stephen King's The Stand. At first he kept losing me after he turned his camera away from Stu Redman. I just didn't care for Frannie, and I outright disliked Larry. Everyone said what a wonderful book it was though, so I kept trying, and Nick was okay. It was M-O-O-N, and that spells Tom Cullen, who led me through the rest of The Stand--although it took a couple of more tries, because King lost me again at a certain spoilery plot point late in the game.
It never pays to get too attached to King's characters.
So another month, another attempt to make it through, and finally--success! I had finished reading The Stand. I didn't care for the ending much at all. With King, and for me as a reader, endings are hit or miss, and he is one author where I never skip to the end to see what happens and then back track to find out why and how it happened. With King, the why and how might be the only part I want.
And with his science fiction, I might even want the why and how only once.
Is The Stand SF? Technically yes, although it's softer SF than some. When I think of King's SF, I'm more inclined to think first of The Tommyknockers and Dreamcatcher. I've not been able to make it through either of those a second time despite multiple attempts, and despite the fact that I enjoyed them just fine the first time through. Under the Dome was ok, but I doubt I'll ever try to read it again. And...the jury's still out on Cell. I actually want to read that one again (since I've forgotten most of it) but I'm afraid it will fall under the Curse of the SF Re-reads.
Which brings me the long way 'round to my actual topic, which is his latest novel, 11/23/63. I very much enjoyed it, far more than UTD, more than any of his books since Lisey's Story, which is one of my favorites. In this book, a teacher travels back in time to avert the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This premise tickled both my socks off, because my manuscript godlight originally was supposed to be about someone travelling back in time to prevent the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, which was going to lead to a chain of events that put a Lincoln descendant in the White House at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
See, too often have I come up with what I thought was a fantabulous story idea only to discover (or realize) King has been there first. The Pool Where We All Go Down to Drink from Lisey's Story explains this metaphorically, but has never made me feel any better about it. I love you, but DAMN YOU, STEVE! I still haven't forgiven you for Gray Matter, of which my version was called Couch Potato...
But this time, I drank first. This makes me happy.
godlight ended up nothing at all like that original premise, no backward time travel, no changing the past, nothing of the sort. And it's win-win, because King obviously writes better than I do, and his story is miles and miles better than mine could ever have been.
Oddly, I didn't care much about the whole JFK/Oswald plot line until just as it came to a head. Until then, King kept my attention with other things, including Oswald's wife, and other characters also. Especially engrossing was the love story between the teacher and a woman from the past. When the time finally came and the teacher had to decide whether to return to his own time or not, it mattered hugely to me. (This same question failed to matter in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, sad to say.)
Are there ramifications to changing the past? How will we know if the protagonist never returns to the present?
The answer to those questions are spoilers. They are also quintessential Stephen King, and I hardly got any sleep until I found out.
So this book I give a big hooray to. Maybe even enough to forgive him for Gray Matter.
My Top Ten Stephen King Novels (subject to change and re-ordering almost daily)
The Talisman (co-written with Peter Straub) Lisey's Story It (Bev saved my life) Dolores Claiborne 11/23/63 Firestarter Rose Madder Hearts in Atlantis Insomnia Bag of Bones...more
I loved this book when I began reading; the combination of lyrical prose and zombie dystopia appealed to me on every level. Unfortunately before I wasI loved this book when I began reading; the combination of lyrical prose and zombie dystopia appealed to me on every level. Unfortunately before I was a hundred pages in the style changed, the language became more common. There was a period in the middle of the story where there were so many characters, all with suburban names (Amy, Lisa, Billy...really? An evil overlord named Billy?) Some character names began with the same first letter, adding to my confusion. I made notes to tell them apart. The style then took yet another turn, and it seemed as though the author was channeling Dean Koontz during his Christopher Snow period, which might have been a good thing except the tale became somewhat surreal and even more difficult to follow. Also the odd combinations of simile and metaphor became distracting.
I give this book two Ds--one for Disjointed and one for Disappointing....more
**spoiler alert** Everyone says this book is "old" King, and maybe that's why I didn't care for it quite as much as I hoped to. I prefer "new" King. H**spoiler alert** Everyone says this book is "old" King, and maybe that's why I didn't care for it quite as much as I hoped to. I prefer "new" King. He's a much better writer now than in the 70's, in my opinion.
King is a master of characters, but this time I simply didn't buy the Big Bad. I think he was too much like a real person, and not enough like a villain. And as for his minions, well...I'm from a small town and I wonder if you could lay your hands on so much petty evil. The fact that the Big Bad chose stupid people as his minions made me think less of him.
(Since so many like to compare UTD to The Stand, I will say Randall Flagg chosing Lloyd Heinreid though--and beefing up his brights--that was masterful.)
I did enjoy the other characters and their story lines. This book is a blend of "new" and "old" King, an old story blended with his new style of storytelling.
I'm thinking it may eventually end up keeping company on the shelf with King's other one-timers: Tommyknockers and Dreamcatcher. Books I would read again but it's hard when I have to reach past It, or The Talisman, or Lisey's Story, or any of the Dark Tower novels.
Regardless of your preference, "new," or "old," the book was definitely worth reading once. It helped me get through the early part of this holiday season, because no matter how much stress the world dumped on me I could always tell myself, "Hey, at least I'm not under the dome." ...more
Don't let the fact that it took me so long to finish this fool you. It's an awesome story. It's my eyeballs that slowed me down, not the tale.
Three thDon't let the fact that it took me so long to finish this fool you. It's an awesome story. It's my eyeballs that slowed me down, not the tale.
Three things I liked:
1.) Zombies! But if you're not really into zombies don't let them stop you. That's not all this story is about. 2.) The world-building. Ka-pow! All new, and very richly drawn. 3.) Strong female players, yay.
Three things I didn't like:
1.) The sepia colored print made it harder for me to read. (Pretty to look at, though.) 2.) ... 3.) ...
Okay, maybe I'll think of more things I didn't like later. Maybe.
This story is being called steam punk. That's cool. But of Priest's books I have read so far, I find them generously seasoned with the flavor of Survival Horror, a genre more commonly associated with the video game industry. But I think that's why I like her stories. They are different enough to sweep me away from the real world, and yet leave me thankful for that world when I return to it. ...more