I like that King’s precociously talented child this time is a female for once. I would totally read a sequel with Charlie; sure, The Shining was a mor...moreI like that King’s precociously talented child this time is a female for once. I would totally read a sequel with Charlie; sure, The Shining was a more obvious choice to have a sequel what with it being King’s biggest book and the end pretty much spelling out that the shining would lead to big things in the future. But look at the big series nowadays – Hunger Games female lead, Sookie Stackhouse female lead, Divergent female lead, etc.
Similarly to The Shining, the actual plot of Firestarter feels both setup-y and like it doesn’t reach full potential of greatness on account of that factor. I guess the length is supposed to make it feel like a full book, but it has a tad too many flashbacks and way too many inessential POVs to the point that I was reminded of Dan Brown (esp his recent stuff) at times. The actual plot developments are pretty few: (view spoiler)[In the past, two college students were tricked into an experiment which gave them powers; years later, their daughter has greater power which they try to hide as with their own. The villains torture/kill the woman to find out where the girl is, and the book starts with father & daughter on the run. So in the “present” of the book, there’s: they get captured, they try to escape but he gets killed and she has to set a lot of stuff/people on fire to get out. On the last page, she goes to Rolling Stone to tell her story. (hide spoiler)]
That’s probably why I’m not as enamored with The Shining as many seem to be; the plot is simple enough that The Simpsons’ “The Shinning” pretty much covers all the salient events in…what, 8 minutes? It’s the fascinating powerful child at the center that keeps the narrative at least somewhat compelling, so it would be great to see what happens when the firestarter grows up. Ooh, or even better, since Firestarter’s ending is less open, have her be a character in the Shining sequel. It’s already been written, so…here’s to hoping. Oh, and there’s a powered person who we never meet in the book; he can be there too, as long as King doesn’t throw him in there for the sole purpose of allowing one or more characters can make homophobic comments. As he sometimes does.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Good book, but a number of things prevented it from being great. I understand to an extent why we got perspectives other than the 2 main characters, b...moreGood book, but a number of things prevented it from being great. I understand to an extent why we got perspectives other than the 2 main characters, but I don’t think it really enhanced the story. Partially because most of the others seemed one-dimensional, and that one dimension didn’t even always involve a personality. Mostly it just made for more pages to skim before we got to a potentially interesting part again. The pacing is wildly uneven; the first few chapters made me think we’d get breakneck speed, which didn’t really happen esp with boring royal intrigue. The showdown is pretty rushed and anticlimactic given how pages lead up to it, and that’s without my having even read the first book yet. And the writing is not bad, exactly, but the best I can say of it is that it’s functional and does its job of telling the story. Okay, it’s occasionally witty, i.e. “Oh, yes, I’m quite good at that. As you can see, though, we’ll need a third man.”
Strong points now. The world feels very real; while we don’t get to see a huge part of it, the way things are described gives me a proper scope and context of the setting that it doesn’t feel overly limited. Stuff does happen, which is good; there are a lot of books out there that are thinly plotted, and it’s not like this book can fall back on its rich characterization. Though I do like our protagonists and find them believable, they’re not as complex as I like my main characters.The gender and sexuality equality is fantastic, and Fleweling addresses stereotypes and subverts them. And the resolution is satisfying if slightly cheesy. Overall the book is decent enough for me to check out Flewelling’s other series to see if it’s more satisfying. Not the later books which reviews online indicate don’t live up to the first few books, and my selective skimming seems to confirm that.(less)
Better than Dark Places, but there’s still nothing Special about the book. It’s a conventionally well-done and decently-written murder mystery with ar...moreBetter than Dark Places, but there’s still nothing Special about the book. It’s a conventionally well-done and decently-written murder mystery with archetypal characters who aren’t actively irritating but mostly aren’t that memorable either aside from Amma whose darkly charismatic personality feels like a precursor to Gone Girl’s Amy. Even the names are quite similar. It feels like the cutting habit of the protagonist is supposed to be Meaningful, but she’s not very well fleshed-out and while cutting may inform parts of a personality it can’t actually substitute for proper character development. The ending feels a bit rushed and anticlimactic, and it feels like the loose ends are there to provoke thought but I can’t care enough to think about them.
A few choice quotes: “Mouthed cinnamon sticks before she kissed” “I think I finally realized why I don’t love you.” (view spoiler)[“A child weaned on poison considers harm a comfort.” (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is a book that, while not sequel-baiting such that it feels incomplete, creates a world in London Below that’s so rich that the reader totally wa...moreThis is a book that, while not sequel-baiting such that it feels incomplete, creates a world in London Below that’s so rich that the reader totally wants a sequel to explore it further. The ending is pretty perfect and is the most crucial bit in this feeling, as it has a logical/satisfying conclusion while promising specific future excitement.
The book also happens to have heroes who aren’t particularly great, but could be deepened in further books about their adventures; Richard grows throughout and ends up something better than just somewhat bland, Carabas has genuinely amusing snarky bits of dialogue but isn’t around enough, and Door’s power is established enough that the author could start working on giving her a personality. The side characters, not so much, and scenes/pages from their points of view are distracting and unnecessary in a way that bogs down the book. Largely due to these parts - though I guess that means they provide some use, even if an undesired one - I managed to predict some unexciting twists, even before Gaiman directly revealed them (to the reader, and later to the heroes).
He does occasionally write a noteworthy line or two - not enough to really stick with me, but it shows that he’s a consistently competent writer with some ability to put a spark in his prose.(less)