2.5, but skewing up because some parts were legitimately nice: the relationship between Cath and her dad; any instance where the narrative calls genui2.5, but skewing up because some parts were legitimately nice: the relationship between Cath and her dad; any instance where the narrative calls genuine attention to Cath's flaws instead of justifying them away; and the Outsiders read-aloud scene. Overall, meh, and if I ever have to read the too-precious, twee name "Cather" again it'll be too soon. But during those few aforementioned instances, Rowell's skill with characters really shines. I just wish that deft hand were more evident throughout....more
Closer to 4.5, but only due to Bradbury playing a little fast-and-loose with tradition and history (eg: "Samhain", a death god? Not so much). My histoCloser to 4.5, but only due to Bradbury playing a little fast-and-loose with tradition and history (eg: "Samhain", a death god? Not so much). My historical quibbles aside, it doesn't hurt the narrative.
Truth be told, I have to admit a certain fondness for the 1993 Hanna-Barbera TV movie of the same name, for which Bradbury wrote the screenplay (and subsequently won an Emmy). By no means a perfect movie, but I was nevertheless a fan, totally captivated with the idea of the little pumpkin souls hanging out on the tree (I totally carved a Pipkin jack o'lantern one year), Leonard Nimoy's delivery of the name "Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud", and now finally having read the original book as an adult I can really appreciate the consummate tightness of that screenplay. Flawed though the film itself may be, it was a truly excellent adaptation of what was already an excellent story, and I immediately recognized bits and phrases and passages in the book being carried fully intact into the script and narration. As for the book on its own merits- it's, of course, tight classic small-town-Americana-flavored Bradbury, in the same vein as (the much darker) Something Wicked This Way Comes. Poetic prose, in places breathless and in others meditative, is a major strength of his writing and it's shown off to great effect in this very slim book.
It also doesn't hurt my appreciation of this particular story that Halloween is my favorite holiday, and the imagery, thematic significance, and cross-cultural similarity of traditions between it and other festivals of death and the dead, of autumn, of harvest or disguise or placating spirits or bracing for winter, resonates quite deeply for me. So, the fact that Bradbury captures and understands so much of what makes it the (obviously) best holiday is a huge plus. This most Halloweeny of books is delightful and highly recommended....more
In Carnival of Time, Alan MacRaffen has created a fully realized world in the near future where oceans have swallowed the coastlines and lowlands, troIn Carnival of Time, Alan MacRaffen has created a fully realized world in the near future where oceans have swallowed the coastlines and lowlands, tropical jungles overrun the ruins of cities, and dinosaurs once again walk the earth. The promise of an inventive setting delivers time and again, not only allowing for an unfamiliar landscape but new species and technological paradigms to be explored.
MacRaffen shows great acumen as a world-builder, and his action scenes are tense, well-described, and not at all overwhelming to the narrative. He's clearly working from a large knowledge base with regard to prehistoric creatures, and manages to meld the science of their anatomy and behavior with fantasy in a way that's rarely explored in fiction. If there's one criticism, it's that the author leaves behind fascinating characters and scenery with massive storytelling potential in service to the story of Caleb, a personally unremarkable but archetypal protagonist, and his stock accompanying "hero's journey" narrative. This has the unfortunate consequence of leaving readers wondering why we weren't treated to a meatier story given all that this lush post-apocalyptic scenario has to offer.
That being said, although the plot lacks a certain amount of innovation, Carnival of Time is nevertheless a worthy read for a juvenile or young adult audience, and a charming first effort from self-published author MacRaffen. After getting a taste of Carnival and its world of sunken cities, dinosaur hybrids, and half-remembered radio songs, one longs to see MacRaffen step out of familiar, well-charted waters and sink his teeth into a narrative worthy of his own considerable imagination. Perhaps one of the best things about Carnival of Time isn't its setting or its strong supporting cast; it's the promise of more to come from an author whose best work is clearly ahead of him. ...more