Thursday, December 1, 2016

I voluntarily read another book in the Twilight world

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined
I'm not above reading some Meyer. 

Life and Death is an interesting experiment.  I liked the idea of re-reading a story after a musical chairs of  gender roles has taken place (not only the main characters are changed, other players are as well).  I wanted to see how it affected my feelings towards each and the story's development.  That was interesting.  ...for about four chapters.  Then I was satisfied and didn't care for reading the entire story -- a story I knew -- again.  I flicked to the end and was rewarded with the alternate ending.  I'm glad I read the book, it made me think...but it wasn't a great book. 

Red Riding Hood Retelling

Red Riding Hood, Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, David Leslie Johnson
A friend of mine saw this book sitting in a little library trade-station in his suburb and thought of me.  He was right to -- I gobble up re-tellings, and have read multiple Red retellings, so why not think of me?  And I'm embarrassed to admit...I gobbled this one up too...even though once I closed it, all I could think was: What big flaws you have.  So, this is a great throw-away page turner, perfect for a rainy night stranded without a book in a backpackers or when your flights are cancelled at an airport.  It was surprisingly enjoyable when I didn't think about all of its problems, but does not hold up to any scrutiny.  That is to say: it will return to the trade-station and will not take up residence on our bookshelves.  More notes:
  • The writing is competent enough, despite having been born from a screenplay and fleshed out.
  • The romance and shameless whodunnit mystery both make it compelling, although neither are executed with excellence (the romance in particular, is disappointing, albeit still intriguing enough for a sucker like me).
  • It portrays hysteria fairly well, but nowhere near as well as this book.
  • The characters make some stup' choices. 
  • There is a steamy sensual scene but no sex scene.  There is graphic violence.  No swearing.
  • I watched the start of the movie years ago.  I turned it off.  I don't regret it.  The lines delivered by my imaginary cast while reading this book were ten thousand times better than those of the American-accented angsty modern hearthrobs of the medieval movie set.  They made no sense to me and I found it painful to watch.  My imagination lent much of the same (gone from my memory, but checked afterwards) dialogue so much more drama, class, tension and credibility.  If you have also wasted some time seeing (or enjoyed, I'll be no judge!) the film, the novel is written from the original screenplay, not the script -- which are different -- and the endings if this book appeals to you, you can go in and still be uncertain of how it will play out in the end.  Reading this book is a chance for you to cast and direct a better film of this particular retelling in your head.  That was fun.
  • [Spoiler:] Well, if you can call it an end.  It isn't really.  Consider yourself warned.

So it isn't brilliant but it was a fun time.  
I will close by saying, Ooo, looky, this alt cover art is amazing:

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

One less High School Book for you to read

You can skip this one.  The premise of the story has promise, but the only thing that kept me reading was wanting to see the mystery solved.  The writing is mediocre, the high school set-up and entire character ensemble read as one giant clichéBut to Barnes' credit: it is a huge accomplishment she completed this manuscript and had it published at such a young age (19!), and I really appreciate that choices relating to sensuality, violence and language were all appropriate for young adult audiences.  For that, I tip my digital hat.  Sorry I didn't enjoy your book.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Holes, Louis Sachar
Fantastic.  5/5.  Magical realism exemplar.  It'll only take a couple life hours to read and then it'll be with you for life.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Distant Post-Apocalyptic Future, with angels

I've read a fair share of post-apocalyptic angel-books.  I'm gonna let that sentence steep for a moment.  Now where were we?  This post-apocalyptic angel-book is different from all of them, and has its merits.  It was a solid book, but not a mind-blower or favourite. 
  • Harland is generous in his use of onomatopoeia, which I found jarring during a bleak narrative.
  • It is really intriguing and proved difficult to predict.  Repeatedly the narrative would face conflict/risk or take turns that I was sure it would dodge.  I wanted to read on.
  • It fantastical and sci fi, both.  It is dark.  Not so visceral and affronting as Angelfall, but a little like Speaker for the Dead and The Dark Crystal.
  • There were some clumsy exposition-type mechanics three-quarters of the way in.  I forgave, at that point, but another thing that stopped it being one of the best books, and instead a good book.
  • The characters are interesting.
  • Romance is not a central part of the story.
  • No sex or swearing.  Some violence.
Overall:  The execution isn't my preference, but some of the concepts and imagery will stick with me as landmarks for treatment of the subject matter.
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