Mar 19 - Mar 25, 2012
Published Feb 2012
In an ancient Scandinavian forest, four men have become hopelessly lost. Suffering injuries, constant rain, and mounting tension, the quartet stumble across horror after horror and wend their way ever deeper into a world of Ancient Gods where no one escapes unscathed...
This was one of those rare amazing books that grabs you from the first page with an immediate punch that makes you go, "What... the fuck... is going on?" and then backs it up with incredible writing, spooky atmosphere, and characters that practically BREATHE. Really, bravo on Nevill's part. Bravo.
Not only did it have all the usual markings of a great read, but it also had a... novel (see what I did there?) approach to the construct of the novel itself. It was set up in two distinct parts, and the back blurb only touched on the first half of the book (as did my blurb) so that when I found myself halfway through, I had no idea where things were going. I actually stopped my perusing, attracted the attention of my reading companion, explained what I had just read (the first half and then the first page or two of the second half) and asked his opinion on the possible outcomes (I'm sure his opinion had something to do with boobies, if I recall correctly).
Because while the first half was an immediate plunge into into a horrific atmosphere (think being unwittingly redirected to goatse) the second half had an ambiguous start... it even gave you a little hope.
Which made it all the more traumatic when shit went South (as it always does in a horror novel worth its salt).
The whole time I was reading, I was eerily reminded of The Blair Witch Project. The subject matter - sure, easy enough - but the all encompassing tension and mounting terror was spot on as well. By the way... I LIKED The Blair Witch Project.
I have nothing to complain about. It was a fuckin' epic read - the monsters were scary and gross, the violence was plentiful, and the protagonist was a fuckin' maniac. What more do you need?
Mar 18, 2012
When blood-drained corpses begin turning up in Minneapolis, the FBI sends in a very particular man for the job...
I just had this feeling - a stupid scumbag-brain inkling that gave it away. I've read too many books and seen to many M. Night Shyamalan movies to ever a new intellectual fray without at least considering a twist ending.
In this case, my inkling was right, and I missed out on the surprise, because I had already guessed it from the first paragraph.
But Maitrejean has a way with words that immediately draws you in and keeps you riveted, and if he had made the story a bit longer (maybe 20-40 pages to flesh out the protagonist and give us a chance to identify with him) I probably would have forgotten my guess at the ending BEFORE the ending.
It was a rad little story that grabbed me right from the get go - I just wish there was more of it! Hey Paul, make it a full length novel, would ya?!
Mar 17 - Mar 18, 2012
When the Mob terrorizes and destroys a family restaurant, the lone survivor decides to take matters into her own hands. But the man she's hired to take care of business has ties of his own to the Mob, and more importantly, the Mob boss' daughter...
You know, this was a great fuckin' book.
By the end I was completely blown away; but I wasn't quite impressed at first. Though the beginning was pretty intense, once we got into the protagonist's story, I thought his voice was sterile and he moved events along too quickly. But while I was mentally bitching about those qualities, the story was also speeding along like a runaway motherbitch and I was totally snared BECAUSE of those qualities. No frou-frou soliloquies, no meandering notions; just the facts, ma'am. Which actually made it remarkably easy to stay engrossed (and therefore kept my mind from wandering) because the protagonist hasn't been reminiscing about how the quality of the midsummer sky reminded him of the relationship he had with his daddy... for 12 goddamn pages. I grudgingly began to appreciate the character's style, though I lamented the lack of action.
Buy, did I ever have it coming for me.
When the action hit, it was fast and furious. But not 2Fast 2Furious.
It was then that I realised that I had been party to one hell of a buildup (sneaky, I didn't even know I had been invited until I was there!) and the attitude of the protagonist, which I had deemed somewhat flat at first, made him all the more terrifying for all the trauma he encountered, and continued to encounter.
By the end, Skin Games had delivered one hell of a whallop, and as I turned the last page I found myself crying like a bitch; or like a fat kid over a dropped box of jelly donuts (true story, I had them balanced on my bike handlebars, I hit a bump, and !BAM! there went all the donuts); or a sports fan that had their team lose to Oakland:
Or like a dad that just found out his son still loves him:
Or like a kid who has to turn off the XBOX:
I honestly don't know what it says about our society that there are countless YouTube videos of people crying. Weird. But I digress.
It could have used a little more embellishment - more details, more depth. I like longer sentences and the occasional sprinkling of exclamation points. But the story as is stands amazingly well, and I'm not sure any changes would actually improve it.
See, the whole tone of the book is set by the protagonist, and he's one cold ass motherfucker. Right from the beginning he's calm, cool, and collected. As an initial introduction, he's not terrifically endearing. When I started the book, I wasn't too keen on him, and therefore, felt somewhat detached from the story. But as the story progressed, and he began getting mixed up with scarier shit, I found myself drawn in by how he kept it together in situations where I would have been... well, crying like a bitch; once I finished, I was totally fucking fascinated and more than a little torn up inside. And I don't think our protagonist flinched once throughout the whole story... well, maybe once. Ugh. Seriously, the ending was one of the most gut-wrenching, squirm-inducing pieces I've ever read.
Hell, I think maybe the author could have just be fucking with us - "I'll start off calm, lull the reader into a false sense of security, and then !BAM! donuts everywhere! I mean, !BAM! I punch the reader in the face with more violence and heartache than an entire season of Gossip Girl! Metaphorically, of course." Well played, Mister Pepper. Well played.
Basically, the things that I didn't like about Skin Games at first seemed to, in the end, make the story what it was: a damn fine piece of reading. It wined me, dined me, pulled out the gimp mask and bent me over the table in a corner booth, and promised it would call me later.
Get it. Read it. And try not to cry like a bitch.
Mar 12 - Mar 16, 2012The BigheadEdward LeeHorrorPub
lished 1992274 pages8/10 Deep in the woods of Luntville (did you say...? Ooooohhhhh, Luntville....
Carry on) there lives a man-beast called the Bighead. His cranium is the size and shape of a watermelon, one eye is the size of a grapefruit while the other is the size of a grape, and his teeth look like carpet needles. He rapes and kills nearly every person he... comes across (heh heh) with his gigantic monster penis and usually proceeds to eat parts of them, and he's going to visit some lovely people staying at a nearby B&B... "Bighead didn't know! He didn't know doodly-squat! He were a deformed, woods-rompin', brain-eatin', pussy-bustin' retart." I heard a lot of lore and urban legends about this book - it was supposed to be the nastiest, most disgusting, most graphic read out there. Obviously, I HAD to have it, but I could never find the damn thing. Luckily (unluckily?) for me, I was able to get it via the glory of the internetz and
finally able to see what all the fuss was about. And my oh my, the fuss was well deserved!WARNING! EXTREMELY GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD! COVER YOUR EYES, CONSERVATIVE FACTION OF THE INTERNET! OR CLICK HERE! I mean, rednecks kidnap and rape an elderly woman in her colostomy bag hole (I found out this was called a stoma from a customer at work... Reason #897 I love working at a Weed Store - I could never discuss these things at a straight job). Nuns throw physics to the wayside and piss up a preacher's ass. The Bighead rapes and kills a pregnant girl, sucks the baby out of her vagina and eats its brains. I'm not making this shit up, people. And I can see why this book caused a stir. Not only was it a bloody gore-o-rama, but there was a discernible plot and an honest to goodness mystery to keep my brain limber.
It was a little confusing at times, and occasionally convoluted, but it was still a real plot. I consider that a grand gesture for this genre. I was entertained, and even more so than usual, because I could describe certain acts throughout my read to disgusted friends, family, and one oddly unruffled head shop customer. There were some editing issues, but I've found that to be pretty prevalent in e-books. I don't know what the fucking deal is with that - something must be getting lost in translation - but the majority of e-books I read are fucked in some way or another. I could go on, but the Bighead is what it is, and it's simply this: a nasty-ass bit of literature (can I even use that word here?) to help a girl procrastinate. Chores? What chores? I'm reading here! Do you want me to tell you about it? This guy here, he's got a monster cock, see...
Oh wait, wrong book...
Mar 6 - Mar 10, 2012
Never Let me Go
In a society not unlike our own, particular children are raised to be prepared for a necessary but morbid fate. Though some are never truly informed in outright terms, as they grow they come to understand (and ultimately accept with docile resignation) their final purpose in life...
There's so little I can say about this book without giving away some pretty major plot points. I'd rather let people enjoy it as it comes, as opposed to, say, being told the main idea you're supposed to slowly discover before you even read the goddamn book. Ahem. I'm talking to you, Janine. But hell, at least I got to ruin Eat, Pray, Love for you.
What I can say is that the general tone of the book is almost dreamy. Once I realized what was going on, I wanted to rage against everything they were heading towards. Why not run? Find a place to hide? Become a weeknight busboy at Denny's or a Thursday feature girl at the local strip club?
Maybe it was because our protagonists were raised in such a nice complacent environment. Maybe if they'd been raised in the ghetto they would have been angrier. The problem was, because our main protagonist was so accepting of the outcome of herself and her companions, I found it hard to get riled up as well, be it about their situations in particular or the book in general.
Don't get me wrong. It wasn't a bad book. It was extremely well written - it reminded me, in fact, of R.L. Stine's books. Remember how there was always a jump at the end of each chapter, so you HAD to keep reading to see what would happen? This was the grownup version of that same writing style.
I just wish they'd gone more into... the stuff that I can't really get into without giving away the whole shebang. You'll know what I mean if you read Never Let Me Go. There was a lot of focus on the people, and I wanted to know... the everything else. Though the people themselves were fairly interesting too, as they were definitely different (like, a LOT different) and reacted differently than other characters in similar situations in other books. They definitely reacted differently that I would have, that's for sure. Like I said, I'd probably be picking dollar bills up off a faux-wood floor with my asscheeks before I threw in the non-existent towel.
It was an interesting book with a really neat premise, though it wasn't my usual cup of tea. A little too soft and gentle for my taste, but still enjoyable.