2.5 stars. An interesting vision carried out with commitment. Those who like horror with generous blood splatter and/or watching characters oblivious2.5 stars. An interesting vision carried out with commitment. Those who like horror with generous blood splatter and/or watching characters oblivious to overwhelming danger won't be disappointed.
Exposing the action through numerous security cameras is intriguing. Switching frequently, and in some cases having multiple columns detailing images simultaneously, does much to keep the reader off-balance. The fact that we don't know who is narrating/monitoring those cameras is chilling, especially when s/he frequently observes the Killer's (capitalization included) movements. (view spoiler)[The casual mention of a second Killer at the end of a middle chapter is particularly well-played. (hide spoiler)]
However, this remote method of storytelling can also work against reader engagement. If we don't know the characters or care about them (particularly if a primary character is cold by design), we have less investment. Add in a clumsy and near-disturbing romantic(?) subplot, and the reader is tempted to do what horror characters rarely are allowed to do: duck out via the nearest exit. Also, (view spoiler)[intercutting a sexual encounter with scenes of slaughter seems more cheaply exploitive than artful (hide spoiler)]
The ending offers some satisfaction, but there's residual confusion over statements or reveals that may or may not be relevant. However, for those who are looking for the experience of fear-fueled adrenaline, one presented in an inventive way, most of this won't matter. It begs for visual adaptation, and I can't help but wonder if strong casting and good direction might quell some of the quibbles. ...more
A strange little book, and I've no doubt that was the intention. It isn't truly for children -- not only because of the instances of coarse language,A strange little book, and I've no doubt that was the intention. It isn't truly for children -- not only because of the instances of coarse language, but also because the storytelling beats simply don't work for a younger audience. We can acknowledge that European sensibilities of age-appropriateness differ from those in the U.S., but that doesn't answer all issues. Some of the sad or frightening moments have parallels to stories as popular as Toy Story 3; the differences, however, are in what surrounds and balances those instances.
If approached as something of an adult fable, it is moderately successful. The author's style is evident, and it is nearly a given that some of the choices were made to be mildly provocative. Most intriguing is the element of word-stealing, and I can't help but wish this had comprised more of the narrative. This is a book better shelved with Ferrante's other works, allowing for discovery and adding texture for those intrigued by the author's oeuvre....more
Creative expression within stricture is always interesting, and playing off the famous Hemingway six-word story is ripe for possibility. It's more thaCreative expression within stricture is always interesting, and playing off the famous Hemingway six-word story is ripe for possibility. It's more than a bit disappointing (though, frankly, not at all surprising) that in general the submissions devoted to heartbreak are more numerous, more diverse, and more distinct than those about love. I might have preferred separate sections for the writers famous vs. and obscure, but I also see value in the blending.
"I thought we had more time." ~ Joe Hill "He sees the me I don't." ~ Mary Catherine Hamelin "Should have listened to the soothsayer." ~ Lisa Johnson "I loved the idea of you." ~ Audrey Adu-Appiah
and what may be my favorite:
"It's like my heart has sciatica." ~ Jonathan Ames
The foreword proposes that what makes this series successful is that it embodies "love and style" both in what the creators put into it and in how theThe foreword proposes that what makes this series successful is that it embodies "love and style" both in what the creators put into it and in how the combination of story and art manifests. Couldn't agree more. Pure delight....more
2.5 stars. I'm not generally drawn to category romances, but I keep them in occasional rotation so I don't completely lose touch. The premise of this2.5 stars. I'm not generally drawn to category romances, but I keep them in occasional rotation so I don't completely lose touch. The premise of this work, a traditional romance between a couple who is already married in chapter one (and not by arrangement or for convenience) intrigued, and I liked it more than expected. Especially given the historical setting and the heroine's background, her journey is believable, and that goes a long way.
Chemistry is told more than shown, but the reader doesn't need much convincing. The choice to establish that the pair married for an idea of love, but then had to re-frame expectations after actually living with each other, gives the reader opportunity to watch them fall in love in a more grounded, eyes-open way.
Many readers have called out the absurdity of (view spoiler)[Poppy's hair powder being the impediment to her enjoying intimacy (hide spoiler)], but that's missing the full revelation. That plot point is only one piece that illustrates her early inability to know or express herself, and seen as symptomatic rather than the sole cause, it works. ...more
The real attraction isn't the stories themselves, though the darkness of the tales will possibly intrigue those previously exposed only to the now-preThe real attraction isn't the stories themselves, though the darkness of the tales will possibly intrigue those previously exposed only to the now-prevalent sanitized versions. Also, listening to story after story, I couldn't help but become increasingly annoyed with the repeated conflation of outer beauty with goodness and value. Intentioned or not in the long-ago original writings, it is insidious.
audiobook note: The sole reason to indulge is the astounding collection of talents engaged to narrate. Audiobook devotees will revel in recognizing cherished, familiar voices, and nearly each performance is just as nimble and entertaining as ever. Those who have less experience will gain exposure to a roster of masters, which should only whet the appetite to seek favorites out in full works. Since the selections are all short, even if a tale or reader doesn't please, it isn't long before something new is exchanged. An ideal sampler. ...more
As if couples' road trips, especially those through difficult weather, weren't already mine fields.
A fascinating study of building suspense through chAs if couples' road trips, especially those through difficult weather, weren't already mine fields.
A fascinating study of building suspense through character. Of course there are helps from setting and tone and plot details, but it is the perceptions (and baggage) of both Maggie and Mark that craft delicious strain in the narrative. This would be impressive on its own, but the author also masterfully uses the reader's preconceived expectations to coil additional tension.
I was hooked from the epigraph, which exposed the choice of title as much more interesting than I'd first credited: "Listen to me, and I will speak: but first swear, by word and hand, that you will keep me safe with all your heart." (Homer, The Iliad)...more