I’m going to try to review this book while not giving too much away, because while it is similar to other books, other genres, there are a few importaI’m going to try to review this book while not giving too much away, because while it is similar to other books, other genres, there are a few important details that set it apart and allow it to explore aspects other books in this genre do not. And that makes this book some kind of wonderful, and not at all predictable or run of the mill.
A post-apocalyptic English setting; horror mixed with science fiction; three intelligent, strong-willed female characters. OF COURSE i loved this book. The beginning is strong, setting up the strange arrangement and posing many questions and making me eager to keep reading. When the status quo is disturbed the story really gets going, and although the plot runs a not unfamiliar path, the details that make this book unique affect everything that happens.
Minor dislikes that prevented this book getting a full five stars are easily overlooked, but still have to count. There were several small moments of inconsistencies. Someone getting up when there had been no mention of them sitting down; little things like that. A half-arsed attempt at a romantic sub-plot that was forced, had no grounding and no point. Slightly too long an introduction to the characters, surroundings and post-apocalyptic world, considering many of the details are left out in order for more meaningful and dramatic reveals later on.
I enjoyed and couldn’t put down the book all the way through, but i knew, really, that my opinion of the book as a whole would hinge on the ending. It couldn’t be typical, or easy–the unusual elements this books includes demands a more complex and considered ending. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. The ending is bleak, imperfect, but ultimately hopeful. It just requires you to allow your perception of a happy ending to be looked at in a slightly different light.
The real terror comes, not from spooky things that happen, but from the characters; their thoughts and actions and feelings around and about the thingThe real terror comes, not from spooky things that happen, but from the characters; their thoughts and actions and feelings around and about the things that happen. This book is not (necessarily) a straight up ghost story. There are levels to the reading of the book. You can take and leave haunting aspects as you like; everything could have an explanation, if you looked hard enough for one. I prefer a middle of the road interpretation, choosing to believe there is something nefariously otherworldly about Hill House, but that the characters’ psychology (and psychosis?) also have a significant part to play.
Eleanor is the main character, and she’s a very interesting one. I don’t want to say too much because, out of everyone, it is her character that (for me, at least) sheds doubt on the extent of the haunting of Hill House. She’s an innocent, troubled and entirely contradictory woman who i find infinity fascinating.
The pattern of the book is interesting. Each chapter consists of a slice of the main narrative, a poem written about one of the characters and a storyThe pattern of the book is interesting. Each chapter consists of a slice of the main narrative, a poem written about one of the characters and a story (often autobiographical) written by the character the poem was about. Make sense? Good.
The fact that the first chapter had me cringing and feeling sick and wanting/not-wanting/wanting to keep reading was an immediate selling point for me (i love to feel uncomfortable and grossed out, because it’s so hard to do that to me). Unfortunately, as much as i loved some of the other stories (namely Exodus, The Nightmare Box, Product Placement and Evil Spirits) none of them matched the gross factor of Guts.
Overall it was an interesting read. The set up of the chapters was interesting, with the poems and stories providing breaks from a narrative that would have been depressing and lacking without them.
Post-apocalyptic dystopian horror! How could i not like this book? (It could’ve been crap, is how, but thankfully it wasn’t.)
I love horror, but mix itPost-apocalyptic dystopian horror! How could i not like this book? (It could’ve been crap, is how, but thankfully it wasn’t.)
I love horror, but mix it with science fiction and make it sound like a realistically plausible thing and apparently i love it even more. This books makes vampires not a scary mythical beast, but a disease that, in theory, could exist… which in my opinion makes the idea of vampires even scarier.
Matheson creates a darkly twisted, but ultimately hopeful ending… it’s just not the kind of hopeful you expect.
Disclaimer: I could not actually finish this book. I usually squirm uncomfortably at the idea of not finishing a book, but i was not enjoying this. IDisclaimer: I could not actually finish this book. I usually squirm uncomfortably at the idea of not finishing a book, but i was not enjoying this. I think it helped that it is a book of short stories, so i didn’t actually stop reading mid-story. I finished one, with four left to go, and just could not bring myself to continue.
Lovecraft's most frequent crime, for me, was being unable to actually describe things. The whole mood or flow is ruined by scattered and repeated insistence that things are “indescribable,” “unnameable,” “unutterable” or “unmentionable.” Occasionally he’d make the effort and declare something “hideously indescribable” or “gruesomely unmentionable.” It got to the point where i was physically cringing and rolling my eyes about it. He’s supposed to be setting a mood, creating an atmosphere and transporting me to another world of horror and suspense. Instead i was left wondering what the hell was so bad, because i can’t imagine what he won’t describe!
It wasn’t all entirely bad, though. ‘The Outsider’, ‘Herbert West—Reanimator’ and ‘Cool Air’ i actually thoroughly enjoyed. While ‘The Hound’, ‘The Rats in the Walls’ and ‘The Festival’ were also good. They all had interesting subject matter (my three favourites all being about the living dead, i’ve only just realised), genuine suspense, adequate descriptions and mood setting and they didn’t drag on too long or get bogged down in insignificant details. I would easily recommend these six individual stories.
Unfortunately a few very good stories can not make up for a book filled with a majority of bad ones.
This book had me hooked from the prologue. The setting of an old and fancy apartment block, at night, creepily empty, but never alone. The ominous apaThis book had me hooked from the prologue. The setting of an old and fancy apartment block, at night, creepily empty, but never alone. The ominous apartment 16, in which no one lives and no one is allowed to enter, but from which noises can be heard. The atmosphere, the flashes of movement in mirrors and the oppressive darkness. This book delivered chills down my spine in every chapter… of the first third of the book. Too soon it started to drag a little. At first it was all suggestive and atmospheric, and much more effective before explanations started being revealed.
The most disappointing thing for me is the knowledge that i don’t want to reread this book. Knowing how it ends, knowing what everything means, i won’t be able to enjoy the chills the first third of this book gave me when i read it—it just won’t be scary any more.
My overall impression was that Poe is a rambler. In most of the stories, he spends a lot of (in my opinion, necessary,) time setting the scene beforeMy overall impression was that Poe is a rambler. In most of the stories, he spends a lot of (in my opinion, necessary,) time setting the scene before launching into the story.
The stories in which Poe ‘got on with it’ and didn’t waste pages detailing useless descriptions, i found the most enjoyable—unsurprisingly. It was when i read ‘William Wilson’ (the fifth story in the book) that i was suddenly hooked. Suddenly i didn’t feel like i was forcing myself to keep reading. Suddenly the pages were flying by without me noticing. And the thing with ‘William Wilson’ was that i knew very early on what was happening, what the ‘twist’ would be, but it was the need to see how it would all unfold that kept me reading.
With some editing, all of the short stories in this book could have satisfied me enough to love Poe’s work unconditionally. Alas, even when Poe is literally claiming to be succinct, it takes him several pages.
Pandaemonium = ((Science x Religion) + (Teenagers x grief)) ^ Demons(?)
I had been warned this book was a bit... different than Brookmyre's previous boPandaemonium = ((Science x Religion) + (Teenagers x grief)) ^ Demons(?)
I had been warned this book was a bit... different than Brookmyre's previous books. When i actually started reading it, the key for me was whether this 'difference' was going to religious or scientific. I can't even bring myself to put the answer to that behind a spoiler tag; you need to read it.
Regardless of the above, as a horror fan, i enjoyed the gory slasher aspect of this book. I enjoyed the massive character list being slowly whittled down as people were killed off all over the place. I enjoyed the blood and screams and fear.
What i didn't like so much, and is the main reason this book got 4 stars instead of 5, was the endlessly switching POV. Okay, there are a lot of characters, i understand wanting to show things from different perspectives. But the POV was changing rapidly and with no warning. It would just suddenly switch from male to female pronouns and i'd get a headache trying to work out who's thoughts i was suddenly following.
I was quite pleased with the word 'syncopated' being used so many times, though. Kudos.
I was wary of reading this book when i found out it included (view spoiler)[animal torture (hide spoiler)], but i gave it a go and i am very glad i diI was wary of reading this book when i found out it included (view spoiler)[animal torture (hide spoiler)], but i gave it a go and i am very glad i did. I love this book.
I don't think there was a character i didn't like, which is just weird for me. But considering every character in this book is (view spoiler)[legitimately insane, or at least slightly bonkers (hide spoiler)], it does make them infinitely more likeable.
I found myself loving the main character, Frank, more and more as the book went on. There was only one thing about Frank that pissed me off (view spoiler)[(yes, despite all the animal torture and murdering) (hide spoiler)] and that was the (view spoiler)[sexism (hide spoiler)]. But that was satisfactorily and aptly dealt with at end, to say the least.
The conversations between Frank and Eric were my favourite parts, i think. I chuckled so much, and it really made me want everything to work out for them.
Throughout the book, i seemed to be waiting for the story to get going, and i was over halfway through before i realised it wasn't going to; that this was the story. But that was fine, because i'd hardly been able to put the book down anyway.