Suspicious Minds was not quite what I expected, but it turned out to be a wonderful read that gave a great backstory on Eleven’s mom, and how Eleven came to be in Dr. Brennar’s care and more about the origins of Dr. Brennar’s crazy experiments and meddlings with the natural world. Pretty much it was full of lots of the things we’ve wondered about since the show started.
Terry Ives is a college student in the 1960s and while there is a lot of turmoil in the world at this time, she is somewhat sheltered in her college life, but she wants to feel like she is doing something more, something more meaningful. It’s this desire that gets her tangled up with Dr. Brennar, whose research project seems like an honor to participate in and “important” in some way to her. She basically signs on to be a human guinea pig for a study that she really knows nothing about.
As the study progresses, Terry definitely starts to see signs that maybe everything is not quite as on the up and up as she first thought, and that there might just be cause for concern. I quite enjoyed Terry and her friends, and genuinely felt concern for her friends as they found themselves entangled in Dr. Brennar’s dark web.
A couple of things about this book that were not quite what I expected. First, I think I expected a bit more of a horror vibe while reading that, which it’s not. It feels more like an urban fantasy. , or urban fantasy with a science fiction slant? Is that a thing? I also think that all gets a bit blurry with things like this. The creatures can make it very much feel more fantasy. The science behind how they get there will make it feel more science fiction. But it’s the style of the prose that makes reminds me most of urban fantasy. What there is not is a that really creepy, scary foreboding quality that makes a book horror. This is by no means a negative, just was different from what I expected.
Overall, I found this to be a fun read that gave a great backstory for Eleven’s mom. If anything, I wish there was a bit more so I look forward to see what the next Stranger Things book brings!...more
OK, this is one seriously addictive and creepy read, and is a perfect pick for Halloween (or any other time of year if you are in the mood). The atmosphere is fantastic, and I love the epistolary style its told in. Fragments of journal entries, text messages, reddit posts, police interviews and recordings are used to lead the reader through a suspenseful mystery. It also makes for a much quicker read, which can be a positive thing when you are anxious to find out what is going on.
The protagonist Matt is our main character and we get a good chunk of the narrative from his journal entries, but we also get information from an assortment of other sources such as text messages, news articles, as well as notes from his psychiatrist to his parents about their sessions.
Matt attends a private school in Manhattan and aspires to be a writer. However, he feels incredible pressure from his dad to become a lawyer (following in both his parents’ footsteps). He has an interesting relationship with a childhood friend, Lauren, who is now a very popular girl at his school (he’s not popular in case you wondering). They don’t exactly intentionally “hide” their on going friendship, but they don’t advertise it either, so almost no one realizes they are still friends. They chat through texts regularly and I think they each have parts of themselves that they only show to each other. I enjoyed the fact that these childhood buddies remained close (in a completely platonic way) despite their very different interests and social circles in their “regular” lives.
When Lauren goes missing, Matt is impacted very deeply. Much more so than anyone realizes. His nightmares, that were already bad, intensify to a point where the question becomes, are these nightmares more than just dreams, is there something super natural going on here that is haunting and terrorizing Matt? And if so, is it possible the same thing happened to Lauren? I was not familiar with the Slender Man urban legend, but the book did a great job of bringing me up to speed and tying it in with Lauren’s disappearance and Matt’s nightmares. The book also captures the high school gossip experience, with online speculation and opinions about everything showing up in chat sessions, teenagers jumping to wild conclusions and spreading their opinions as facts. Actually, that doesn’t seem to just be high school any more, I guess that’s real life in an online world these days. If this type of drama doesn’t work for you, you might not enjoy the book.
If I had to find a criticism, it might be that there were certain passages that seemed to go on longer than I’d have liked. I found myself too anxious to know what happens next to sit patiently through every word, and I am torn on if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, it does show that I was so into the story that I couldn’t wait to get to the details on where the story was headed and that is a huge, huge plus, one that I think out weighs any real negative here. But then I also wonder if that perhaps the balance or order of building suspense versus providing information were a bit off? If there might have been a way to provide both, but structured slightly different so I would not feel a level of impatience in parts of the book? (I’m not a writer or an editor, so I might not be accurate or know what I’m talking about, it’s just a thought).
On another note, I got a kick out of the Reddit conversations, complete with the negative trolls popping in, some people posting nothing useful (and getting downvoted accordingly). Not to mention, some of the usernames were good. Like KJ_Parker_Is_God. It’s a minor thing, but actually added a bit of levity to the story for me, it was a welcome bit of tension relief from time to time to fall into the familiar pattern of reddit conversations. I also want to mention this story was published anonymously and I am quite curious who the author is. They are obviously a fan of the fantasy genre, they are also quite familiar with reddit, so I feel like maybe I might “know” of them from some thing other than this story and I’d love to make the connection. Particularly if they’ve written anything else.
So, overall, I found this to be a great read that was suspenseful and a bit mysterious. I quite enjoyed the style it was told in, and really find my largest complaint is that I don’t know who wrote it. ...more
This is a book that just made me smile the minute I received it and any time I would pick it up after that. The entire book is so incredibly retro, straight down to the worn look, complete with plastic protector to prevent further damage. I mean, even the FAIR condition sticker from Melvad’s General Store on the front brings me joy. This is just one tiny example of the details they put in to this book that make it transport you to a different time and place. And if I was this excited about just the outside of the book, I knew I would love what the inside had to offer as well.
Heh … even just the inside of the dust jacket is awesome!
The book contains much of what you would expect, including a foreword by Matt and Ross Duffer, interviews with the cast, explanations about the decisions and thought process that went into pretty much every detail of the show, from house selection and furnishings, to costumes and location. I enjoyed reading about how nervous everyone was about the initial filming, about how the boys just clicked and what scenes were more of a challenge for the new actors. It was an interesting way to revisit the show that I love so much, letting me recall details by getting a completely different perspective of show.
So, if reading the behind the scenes details of the show isn’t quite enough, they have also included secret messages, which can be discovered and deciphered using the included Morse code disc. And yes, I did decode messages I found in the book, though I haven’t quite figured out what the decoded messages mean. Regardless, it was fun to hunt and decode. It’s a nice touch to add a bit of a quest or treasure hunt for us to make the book a bit more interactive rather than just all behind the scenes and background information.
As we are all anxiously awaiting season three, it was a thrill to revisit details from the first two seasons and the interviews and behind the scenes information really added to that experience. However, I have to confess the visual aspect of the book, including the styling and photos, were probably my favorite aspect of the book.
Over all I love that this is the type of book I can flip through and read bits and pieces as I have time, I can focus on a character or a place or whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. So I definitely find it interesting beyond just the visual (as much as I love it). It is a book that guests can ohh and ahh over as they get the experience of exploring the Stranger Things world because what really makes the book shine is the overall style, all the retro details and the photos. The rest is just an added bonus....more
Read Me is not a traditional type of story, but I found it fascinating. It takes you into the thoughts and actions of a serial stalker as he chooses and watches his prey. I am always intrigued by stories that take you into the mind of someone that is unhinged because the stories always tend to illustrate that they don’t tend to see themselves that way. They see themselves as reasonable, rational people with motives that make sense to themselves at least (if no one else).
You get their rationale and logic behind their actions, and while you may still see the “crazy” in them, it tends to be somewhat tempered and humanized to at least some extent. Although, in this case, it may not be humanizing so much as a capturing the stalker’s complete lack of human empathy and understanding of what consequences his actions could have for others. While he watches and learns everything he can about his current obsession, he also wonders if what he is doing is even a crime. His thought process on this is that if the person he is stalking remains completely ignorant of his activity, is it a crime? The way he sees it is that they are not impacted, in fact, they don’t even know, blissfully unaware, of his stalking. So how can it be a crime? He is so absorbed in his own world and his own desires and motivations, he is completely detached from everything else. This is part of what makes this a slower read than one might expect. Instead of being an adrenaline pumping thriller that has you leaping to turn to the next page as quickly as possible, you are instead immersed in his inner thoughts, processing what they mean for him and others, and how he sees things differently than you would expect. It’s a book that is interesting for the thinking it makes you do about the main character, his motivations, and the consequences of his actions.
I am honestly unsure what genre this book should fall into. The concept sounds like it could be a thriller or possibly even horror. However, the story is told in a way that it does not have the pace or tension that you would normally associate with those genres. But that doesn’t mean that it is not a very compelling read, it’s just different, and sometimes different can be a very good thing. For me this was one of those time.
While I greatly enjoyed this one, I will warn you this will not be a book that pleases everyone. It is different, unique and I obviously found it quite compelling. However, you have to enjoy the process of getting into someone else’s mind, learning about their thoughts and motivations, savoring the journey. Action is not the driving force, but diving into a character’s psyche is. If that’s the type of thing you enjoy, I definitely recommend giving this one a read....more