The Passage – Justin Cronin

30 08 2010

I recently finished reading The Passage by Justin Cronin.  I have to admit that I knew there was a lot of publicity and hype around this book, but I didn’t really know what it was about.  It wasn’t until I saw it listed on a post-apocalypse reading list that I decided to try it.  Also, it happened to be on the shelf at my library when I was looking for something to read.

Let me just say that reading this book was a very fortuitous accident.  It has been a long time since a book has gripped me like this one did.  So much so, that I found myself dreaming about it in between bouts of reading it.  Believe me, I only put it down so that I could sleep.  This book was all consuming. 

Yes, there were parts that were rather simplistic, and parts that I wish had been expanded upon but overall this was a compelling book and one that is very entertaining.  Also, despite the subject matter there were parts that were definitely meant to be humorous. 

The beginning reminded me a lot of Firestarter by Stephen King which is one of my all time favorite books.  The rest was purely original.  Some people are saying this is a vampire book, but you know what, based on the current sub-genre of vampire books that are popular, ie. sexy, friendly, animal eating, super heroes, this is not a vampire novel.  This is an original book that holds its own and will probably create its own sub-genre just like cyber punk created a sub-genre of Sci-Fi.

It is hard to say I loved a book like this, how can you love a book about the hopelessness of the end of the world as we know it?  All I can say is that I want more and I can’t wait for the next two books in the series.


My Current Reading Kick – Horror

10 08 2010

If you have taken the time to look at my reading lists from 2009 and 2010 then you will see a pattern in the number of books I am reading that would fall in to the genre of Horror.  I am not sure why this is really, maybe because they are just for entertainment, maybe it is due to the current frenzy for vampires and lycanthropes on television at the moment.  Some of these books have been great, some just good, others complete rubbish.  Here are the books by category:

Great:  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer – Seth Grahame-Smith.  A great combination of historical facts woven into the fantasy that Abraham Lincoln was a Vampire Slayer and that the American Civil War was really fought to destroy vampires and remove them from the fabric of our society rather than to free the slaves which was just a fortunate by-product of the war.  This book is very gory and some of the scenes the author describes are quite gruesome, no romantic, sexy vampires here.  Just true demons.

Good:  The Forest of Hands and Teeth & The Dead-Tossed Waves – Carrie Ryan.   Books about the Zombie apocalypse.  These are Young Adult and are very easy reading.  I did enjoy them both but definitely preferred The Forest of Hands and Teeth, it seemed more genuine.  I felt like the author was trying to hard with the main character of The Dead-Tossed Waves.  Also, I didn’t think the story line made sense at the end. 

Rubbish: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – Seth Grahame-Smith.  I decided to read this after I finishedthe Abraham Lincoln book.  I have to say I am sorry that I bothered.  It was a tongue-in-cheek poke at the writing of Jane Austen.  I have no problem with that, I like her novels but don’t mind seeing them satirized for entertainment.  This book was just boring.  I kept thinking I should just put it down but then I kept hoping it would get better.  Unfortunately, I got all the way to the end and it never did.  I would read this author’s next book but would not recommend this one.

Rubbish:  The Vampire Diaries – L J Smith.  Let me start here by saying I am a great fan of the television show adapted from these novels.  Having said that other than a title and the character names the books and television show do not resemble each other at all.  I didn’t like the books one bit.  I am sorry to say I have nothing good to say about them.  The characters were annoying, I could not empathize with them at all, the plots were disjointed and had no cohesion.  For the first time I would have to say that I like the television show/movie better than the book.  When does that ever happen?

Rubbish:  Faces of Fear – John Saul.  I had always avoided reading anything by this author and this book just confirmed why.  I finished it but I will never read another of his books.

All these books were borrowed from the library.

Why Do I Read This Trash?!?

22 04 2010

Ok, I admit it, I am a huge fan of vampire novels and movies.  I have been since I discovered Interview with the Vampire in the university bookstore when I was buying my text books.  (I am not going to say how long ago this was.)

I love the Sookie Stackhouse books and can’t wait for True Blood to start again in June.  I also enjoy The Vampire Diaries.  I love the original Dracula by Bram Stoker and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) movie is one of my favorites. 

Some vampire books are spooky, some are scary, some are about loners others about vamps as an organized group of beings almost like us just immortal, all of them are sexy in one way or another but I think the books by Hamilton are overly sexed.  They use the vampires or other fantasy beings; fairies, lycanthropes, necromancers as a cover for what they really are, bodice-ripper romances with an urban, modern twist that border on pornography.

The first one I read was  Danse Macabre and although I am definitely not prudish, I was ready to put it down.  Of course I didn’t, I liked the story line, I kept hoping that the story would get more developed.  I recently read two more books by Laurell K. Hamilton – Divine Misdemeanors and Flirt – both of them are mystery/thrillers but both of them disappointed me becaues instead of developing great plots they got side-tracked into sex and then the sex took over.  I know to some of you out there this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but if I want to read porn I will get something from the erotica section of the book store.

Every time I read a book by Hamilton I tell myself never again, then I see one in the library and I think what the heck, give her another try after all she has a huge fan base and she is always on the best seller list so there must be something good about these books.  Well, I just can’t see it.  It’s too bad, I wish I could come away from the books at least feeling entertained but I don’t even get that.  I actually feel that all I have done is indulge my prurient interests and over-indulged in voyeurism.

So, the next time I see one and am tempted to pick up, I will have to tell myself “just say no”, and walk away.

Both books were borrowed from the library.