Tag Archives: fantasy

“Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo

First of all, cool author name. Beautiful cover art. Original Russian inspiration to a slightly historical fiction-feeling fantasy. Yeah, sign me up. This is a book I would love to see on the big screen, just as much as any of the Harry Potters, and I mean that. It’s a book with a map in the beginning on a double page spread. Enough said.

It starts out like other YAs, but in that third or fourth chapter, the conventions get a big twist, and happens again just after the mid-point.

It has it’s flaws and it’s weak chapters and its girly moments as any fantasy/war story does with a teenage female protagonist, but all flaws aside, the overall experience is filled with original yet familiar world-building and high levels of conflict. While other novels have “world-built” better or deeper, and yes, I would have like a little more from the book in that respect, the majority of the creatures, characters, and environments were better than most, and maybe I’m being too critical. I really, really, liked it, but I did want to know more about the class distinctions and Grisha powers. The culture’s details were never overkill going on and on, and it was never underdone either. I guess it found a happy-medium.

There was just enough Russian insipred diction and dress and decor in “Shadow and Bone” to keep me invested and curious about this place called “Ravka”, however some people may find it thin in some of its details. Considering this is the beginning of a YA trilogy though, and this novel truly set off Bardugo’s career on the right foot, I am eagerly anticpating the next novel. It should expand on what has already been set-up, and if it does, this is going to be a best-selling series.

The wait may be a while though, since Shadow and Bone was released very recently.

If you enjoy original plot twists, stakes which continue to climb and climb, total fear at the three-quarter mark when it seems all hope is lost, splashed with magical beasts, light court intrigue, and some coming-of-age romance (the weakest part of the novel), then this excellent first installement of “The Grisha Trilogy” is for you.

Some writing was weak and you might skim a few pages here and there, but over all, this 4/5 book gets a 4.5/5 from me just because the ending was exciting and seemed terrifyingly hopeless and I really got sucked in. That was well-executed, and Miss Bardugo knows how to write conflict. This has “make me a film” written all over it.

For fans of The Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings, Graceling, and Grave Mercy. (If you haven’t read Graceling, and you’re a girl, read it now.)

4.5/5

MH

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“Graceling” by Kristin Cashore: a YA book reaction and rant

My grade breakdown within the book, according to its own segmented “Parts”:

  • Part I: 10/10
  • Part II: 5/10
  • Part III: 7/10

 

Spolier rant and reaction:

Very little conflict in this book. More character and “world” driven. Great language and world and characters, even the plot was good, but very fatty in the middle. Would have liked a better “End of Leck” which was a cop-out scene and a death that happened to quickly, and still can’t believe Katsa’s Uncle didn’t chase her down or make more of a fuss when she left.

Don’t listen to the hype. This is a good book, nothing more. Why people gush over this?….. I’m in the minority, but with good reason.

I really wanna give a 4, but…. no.

She did keep me reading though, but I constantly wanted…. more.

I can’t give it a solid 4 from writing ability alone. And the writing rocks. It’s issues with story building and entertainment execution. The copy editor’s disappearance and the lack trimming left something to be desired, and the story’s 3/4 mark was just weak. Needed core rewrites, 50 pages shorter, too. You’ll enjoy it more if you’re a teen girl who hasn’t read a ton of fantasy, but I’m a bearded man and have read a lot, and other work is just better in this genre right now. This gets third place after two or three other books at least (i.e. “Grave Mercy”, “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”, etc.) She’s an excellent writer though, and maybe Bitterblue is better (the sequel book).

Worth reading, so, yeah, I recommend it, but after you finish part one, which is flawless, take a break and imagine what a great book it could have evolved into. Imagine what you might read next. Salivate like I did for scenes and situations that may never come, cuz some don’t. Then continue reading the novel and be slightly dissapointed.

3.5/5
MH

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“Snow White and the Huntsman”: a response to the film

Considering how much was done right in this film, the few things that were mishandled, poorly written, or ill-executed really hurt my ability to recommend “Snow White & the Huntsman.” At times, one could argue that more could have been accomplished if they dropped the “Snow White” angle in the title and really went out there to create something new and special in the “Good-vs.-Evil-Kings-and-Princesses” genre”, especially considering how much artistic license was already taken to change many things. Despite these liberties, certain elements of the original Snow White tale were forced into this film to the overall detriment of the viewing experience, like pushing a square block through a circular hole.

To begin, this movie had quantitatively more strengths than weakness. The setting, dialogue, acting, costuming, sound design, set design, beautiful on location filming, and make-up were all top notch. Just looking at any freeze frame of this film, one instantly notices the money they had to throw around. There are a lot of good things to be said about this film, and its ability to create a mood was obvious. The action sequences were relatively clean; and the general style of the film — taking big chances in this regard — panned out nicely due to the exquisite team of producers and post-production special effects people making the world feel real. Truly great fantasy stuff here. Pretty stuff.

Now, after all of that praise, how could a few negatives bring down the ability to recommend the film?

Well, the few bones I have to pick with this film, while not many, are massive qualitatively, including some obvious, flagrant omissions; these issues cannot be defended or expalined and fall directly in the writers and director’s realm of blame.

The first 20 minutes of this film are rocky. Too much time is spent with the Queen’s back story and the escape of Snow White felt rushed. All the while we are being forced voice-over narration from the Huntsman? Why the voice-over is the Huntsman seemed very arbitrary. Why not any character? Why not Snow White? The narrator and whose character in the film it is matters, and here, it felt tacked on. Also in the first act or so, none of the characters, none, are easily relatable or easy to empathize with. It’s not until the Huntsman is introduced (around 30-mins) in the beginning of the second act that this film was saved. Thank you, Chris Hemsworth for playing the role so well. What little dimensionality there were to any characters, you brought it.

The direction with Charlize Theron didn’t work for me, at least not in the first half. In the first act, as she was often being directed to scream and flail at a “10”, where for the remainder of the movie she was at a 7 or 8 in intensity. Never pop that cherry of villain-rage so early. Basic Movie laws. BUILD it.

The second act moved along well enough, and the casting of all the dwarves worked well. It could have blown up in their tiny little faces, and I applauded, once again, the special affects work here. Most of these “dwarves” were played by 5 or 6 foot-tall Hollywood A-listers and B-listers. Cleverly done, a la “Lord of the Rings” perhaps with scale models, stand-ins, and brilliantly smooth “After Affects.” They really look like dwarves, not like pasted faces on tiny bodies.

The next issue was the inclusion of the apple from the old fairy tale. I think this should have been omitted from the film. The way in which the poison apple is used here seems inconsequential since it occurs at the ¾ mark rather than the ½ way mark, and then, within 10 minutes or so of screen time, she is kissed by the Huntsman and is back. Poof. Just like that. There needed to be 20 minutes at least where Snow White’s childhood friend and the Huntsman discuss their equal love for Snow White, try a few things to get her to wake, travel to the Keep where they promised they would take her, etc. It all happened to quick. In a time where many characters could have received some due development, they flushed the opportunity. As if not having Snow White in the film for more than ten minutes would have audience members walking out. Please.

The biggest sin was that when she did wake up, after the kiss, the Huntsman had already left the room, and this kiss IS NEVER DISCUSSED. Snow White just wakes up, she doesn’t know why, the Huntsman doesn’t know he was responsible, and they never discuss it. Ever.

Inexcusable.

If the director and the writer were going to go through the painful lengths of including the dwarves and the poison apple and the “mirror, mirror on the wall,” they needed to keep the love story and find its closure. It is such a simple inclusion that they pissed away, focusing all on style and mood and sights and sounds. This movie is a sights and sound movie. Not a tale which can find its value in the merits of its storytelling.

By this point I was going to give the film a 7. But then the ending happened. Oh, my.

Who do you think she got with? Answer: Neither. That’s right.

In the final moments of the film, when Snow White is supposed to bring the land out of its cold rapture and into a Spring for the animals, the plants, and mankind, there is decidedly NOT a montage of any kind showing the lands and the hills and the forests blossoming into their former glory. What? Did they run out of cash? Futhermore, at Snow White’s coronation and crowning in the final minute of the film, she JUST TRADES GLANCES WITH HER CHILDHOOD FRIEND AND THE HUNTSMAN.

The doors closed, the music crescendoed… roll credits. No epilogue. Something that could have given us all emotional closure in 90-seconds of fottage was not necessary apparently.

Can you see why I’m mad? In Snow-Freaking-White, part of it is the Prince Charming bit. She needs that love and the audience needs that closure. No satisfaction is to be found in the end of this film regarding who she picks and if she will ever really have love. Did they not want to choose team Jacob or Team Edward? Get the eff outta here. What a strike out.

They should have either changed everything in this Snow White tale and called it something else, or made the intelligent decision to play their cards closer to the chest and pull out a more traditional Snow White tale, still one with the style and mood and special effects all there. It was a real waste of money considering this will be soon forgotten and very few people’s “Favorite Snow White Variation.”

Really Let-down. Had a lot of faith. Really wanted to like this and give it a 7, but those last 30 seconds are unforgivable.

6.5/10

MH

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“Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare: a book review

*Yawn*

Unembellished, functional, utilitarian fantasy: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is cheese pizza: it’s good, but nothing’s on it. This series is the cheese pizza of Young Adult/Teen Pop Lit right now. Good, but, so what?

Its set-up and execution serves its purpose, nothing more. The depth is not there and the large cast of characters feels small or disposable from lack of character building in the first 100 pages. The reader can’t know anything beyond this: a teenage female protagonist is looking for her brother and gets mad or curious or happy when situation are present accordingly. Flat. There isn’t a whole lot to Tessa. The first 100 pages see little plot progress, which would be okay if we are getting world building, which is only so-so, or maybe character building, but there is very little of that. I don’t care how good the rest of ANY book becomes later, you’d better have me hooked by page 100, or, what the hell are you doing writing with such pacing? Something needs to fill in and merit such pacing. There’s so little here.

This continues in the second act. Good luck.

Plus the dialogue! Could no one in the publishing house weed it down a bit? Reel it in? Page 75 to 96 was nothing but walking around the building they live in establishing vague plot and predictable world-building and I was falling asleep. The first five chapters, almost entirely but not fully, are charged with creative manslaughter and dialogue abuse in the first degree: paragraphs of dialogue, pages of it, tiresome peripheral convos, and dizzying historical banters and babblings. Lazy, lazy, lazy. This could have been told in 75 pages, not 100.

So, let’s move away from the first half of the book.

Her popularity: let’s chat about that.

Again, she may not be as poor as I am making her sound, granted, but she is certainly “good” at best and is ASTOUDINGLY, INCREDIBLY over-rated. I can understand 3 and 3.5 stars. Really, I can. But, any other “hot author” from the past 12-months has her dead to rights in the “ability to tout the praise” area: including Suzanne Collins, Laini Taylor, and Veronica Roth.

About the characters: Will Herondale is the only character fleshed out, and the Dark Sisters are cool, though evil archetypes—and generic at that. Still enjoyable villains.

The Genre: Decent fantasy, poor attempt of “steam-punk.”

Serving as a prequel series to Cassandra Clare’s original “Mortal Instruments” series, I was told the first book in this “Infernal Devices” series, Clockwork Angel, was quality enough to stand on its own. Awesome stuff, I was promised. That statement is…. Ehhh….

City of Bones MUST be better than this, or I just won’t understand her popularity. However debatably good the ending of this might be, and it leaves a lot hanging, it doesn’t make up for the bad taste lingering in your mouth from the first half. Why do I have to pay 15 dollars three or more times for a serialized trilogy story so unworthy of fifty-ish dollars?

Stop with the filler, YA publishers and authors. Stop. Give us quality. A sequel if pertinent only. If I wanted magic and race-separatism and clever made-up words, I’d read “Harry Potter.”

If I wanted paranormal romance, I’d read “Paranormalcy” or “Twlight.”

If I wanted fable, myth, and consequences for not completing otherworldly tasks, I’d dig into “Daughter of Smoke & Bone.”

All of the above titles deliver better on their themes and tones than this novel, which tries to mash them all together. By not focusing on one thing, but rather talking at the reader through exposition about many shallow things, we’re left unsatisfied and unmotivated with drudgingly slow and mediocre plot. I’ll say it like this: reading to discover a frustrating, itching answer to a question or reading because your enthralled by a plot are two different things. Both will keep you reading, but in one of these instances, you’re made about it. You have to know the ending, right? I kept reading because I was pissed off and wanted answers. I wanted to find the brother, and maybe in the process, find out why this book was so damned popular.

Humph.

Get to the 100 page marks of both “Clockwork Angel”, and say, “Divergent”, and tell me which one earned it’s page count. Which one “moves and grabs.” Clare is just in need of a good copy editor. There is flat prose and style issues that could easily be improved by a knowledgeable team and a willing, open, non-egomaniacal author. Not that Clare is one, but I’m merely stating that great books come from a great team with an author who works with her criticisms pre-release, and I hope Clare is one of those level-headed non-control freaks. For every 100 pages of this book, 20 pages at least could have been chopped out.

This 480 page book could have been a well-paced 400-page novel, but, no.

So, disclaimer: I didn’t wanna hate this! I loved the first 50 pages! I really did!

I went into this title really amped up. My co-workers and friends said “rock on” and I heard nothing but praise for it. I genuinely feel bad that I’ve been left out of what seems to be a really exciting series for the majority of people who read this.

According to Goodreads.com, Cassandra Clare’s series’ (“the Mortal Instruments” and “the Infernal Devices”) both average over 70% of people who read it gave it a 4 or 5 star books. Amazin, right? I’m sorry that I’m not on the bandwagon, because I sure as hell would love to able to get into it and be excited for the film that is being made from her earlier title from the Mortal Instruments series: “City of Bones.”

Wrapping this up: Again, this is a “buy my sequel, buy my series, buy the next book in ten months” publishing ploy and I’m starting to really be irritated by that. Don’t abuse our wallets with your sham, publishers! Don’t make your authors fluff and fatten and filler their novels. We’re being used, fellow readers. Write one good book. Maybe two. Remember those days? I can’t.

This last bit may sound harsh, but there is just so much better stuff out right now between 2011’s Fall and 2012’s Spring publishing flood that this should be on the bottom of your list if it’s even on it. I’ll read “City of Bones” in the Fall, maybe, and make my final judgment on whether Cassandra Clare can live or not.

2.5/5

MH

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“Grave Mercy” by Robin LaFevers: a book review

I was SHOCKED at how good this was:

click to go to goodreads.com

It earns it’s page count and really blew me away. I don’t go for longer books (550 pages) but this earns it with virtually no “padding” B.S. chapters. Great plotting and character building. Not very much action, but that’s okay. It’s not supposed to be break-neck paced and action. It’s intriguing and mysterious and full of right-on dialogue of the times while begin readable. Much takes place in council sessions and castles and sneaking about courts and passageways.

It’s a superb alternative for new-comers to historical-fantasy who find Tolkien’s stuff too descriptive or “The Game of Thrones” too “vulgar” or just beefy with confusing language. (Not that I do, but, for example.) If you enjoy literature set in the 1400s or 1500s in France or Britain, lots of mystery, politics, a bit of magic and religion, and driven by dialogue and plot twists, read it! The romance is also the most realisticly blossoming and strong romance I’ve read in YA to date. This is for 13 and up. Really, any age would dig this! No themes or scenes make it “just for teens” (besides being with a female protagonist between the ages of 15-18, which… so what?). It feels mature and takes itself seriously.

It’s not some bubble-headed action, and with every passing of 100 pages you’re like: “sweet.” I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about this book. Jump into this now and put yourself in the hands of a great writer.

I give almost nothing 5/5 stars and don’t really read this genre to begin with. I was thoroughly impressed. The time she put into this is clear. She must be one of the best in this genre, and she crafts her stories like a true expert artist. While other titles are my “more favorites”, for what this genre is — for what the book is — just, WOW.

5/5

MH

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“Blood Red Road” by Moira Young: a book review

Three or four of the past book reviews have been “Young Adult Fiction” books, and I feel that definition comes with an unfair stigma at times. Like they are lesser books.  I’m not the first to look at it this way, but I feel some people look down on fiction geared toward teens. The truth is a lot of these books are better paced and more visual than many “Adult” books I’ve read and it’s a shame that even some teenagers think that once they’re seventeen or eighteen that the world of “YA” is now for babies and they’re going to focus on “more mature, serious” readings.

Bullshit. “YA” can kicks ass.

Enter “Blood Red Road.” Published in June of 2011, it’s easily the best new YA novel from last year in my opinion. It is book #1 of Moira Young’s “Dustlands” series.

This book takes chances that many contemporary novelists, “Young Adult” or otherwise, would not risk, and I’m mainly talking about the use of slang. Think Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer” and you’ll get the gist. What’s more, the author really rolled the dice by making it extraordinarily sparse of punctuation. Think Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men” or “The Road.” No parentheses and no quotations for spoken dialogue!—only some commas, dashes and periods.

Now, I know what you may be thinking: “That’s gimmicky.” You’re wrong. In this case, it enhances the story, which should always be the crucial consideration when doing things unconventionally. You may also be thinking: “How would you know who is speaking, and doesn’t the slang make it a tough read?” Absolutely not. Somehow, the way that this book was written is clear, flowing, and engaging. Somehow the lack of quotations and the heavy slang and phoentic spelling of words stops being an issue after a few pages in. Some may disagree and find the style far too distracting for them. Their loss.

But if you’re a fairly seasoned reader or are over fifteen, “Blood Red Road” is a literary gem, complete with an original adventure story, full of heart ache, sub-plots, quests, and revenge. The scenery and locations are also well described, and take the reader through the desert, the rivers, the forest, the grasslands, the mountains, etc.—all the big fantasy backdrops you’d expect.

And Saba? Think “Gladiator” meets Katniss Everdeen meets Natalie Portman in “V for Vendetta.” Yeah. I know, right? “Blood Read Road” made me say: ‘Katniss who? What are the Hunger Games?’

BLR’s teenage female protagonist wipes the floor with the personal dramas of Katniss and company. Saba in BLR is memorable and loveable; and her love interest, Jack, is honestly the best charismatic, smoky, arrogant love interest I’ve read ever in YA. Seriously, as far as writing style goes and capturing another world, Young and Collins are neck-and-neck. All motivations and dialogue is believable.

Did I mention this is Moira Young’s first book? Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either. No first book should read so well. I cannot wait to see what else she delivers (this is the beginning of a series).

I really think “Blood Red Road” is a testament that Young Adult fiction can matter, can be powerful, and can be artistically important. This is the fat 450-some page YA novel that kept some YA conventions intact, but also turned a lot on their heads.

I love this book, will recommend it to anybody who likes futuristic, dystopian, fantasy-adventures and I will eagerly be anticipating the film in the next few years which is rumored to be helmed by the great Ridley Scott. Book #2 of the “Dustlands” series — Rebel Heart — is due out around Halloween 2012. (Per Usual, there are different covers for the UK and the US, plus different hardback and paperback, so don’t judge the books by their covers. No pun intended. I just wish the publishers had made it clear that “Dustlands” was the title or even the subtitle for “Blood Red Road”, because it’s just confusing now.)

Click the links to browse the titles on GOODREADS.COM — a site I recently fell in love with. The Facebook of passionate readers.

Just trust me: start reading this thing like I did, knowing little or nothing about it. By page 41, the end of the first part, I was spellbound. Satisfying and book club worthy, get a friend to read “Blood Red Road” with you so you can gush.

4.25/5

MH

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Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk: A Review

To Mr. Palahniuk: I can guess you’re every story. A darkly romantic, apocalyptic warning against cultural materialism. Okay, Chuck. We get it. Stop shoving it down our throats like we’re whores with your every book. And don’t be mad at me. I loved you once, and if you try—maybe, maybe—you can win me back and many other of your old readers, but that’s a damned tall order. The thimble full of respect I have for you is a sieve. The truth is, now that I am in my mid-twenties and have read close to 150 other books not by you, I realize your stuff is one-note, and has often been done before and deeper and better. Now your work seems preachy to me, and I hate author’s putting entire chapters in “italics” for very loose reasons. You do this in “Lullaby.” Some chapters, without any dialogue or setting, we’re just in character’s head, never specified, and talk at about philosophies. I realize now we’re just in your head. Like a sixteen year old who just discovered pot and whose favorite movie is still motherfucking “Donnie Darko”. Grow up. Short sentences. Same thing. Every book. Not original or fresh anymore. Stop. Please.

And stop starting new lines every couple sentences and leaving it solo, like this.

When you put a single sentence on its own, lingering with its own indent, multiple times on a page, well, you lose its dramatic impact. Not everything can be that important. Not every little sharp, witty thing is that sharp and witty.

The Review: Palahniuk wrote this book in 21 days, and learning that was kind of a revelation for me. It did seem like he wrote it in 21 days, read it over once and inserted a few chapters in the earlier section to account for some ideas he had along the way, then called it good and cashed his check.

Disclaimer—to be fully honest, I only read most of this. Take that however you will, but do not discount my review for it. I did read the first and last 75 pages, but the middle 120 pages of this book?—I almost killed myself. And when I was done I felt kind of dirty, like I’d just wasted five hours watching wrestling on TV. You’re like: “Okay, so that just happened, but so what? I could have done something else but I didn’t.”

If your whole point is to waste five hours, I guess this will do the trick, but there have to be better options out there. Next time I want to waste my time, I’ll do it with an author who is didn’t write the same novel in four slightly different ways. In his defense, and this is all I will give him, this was his fourth book and a departure from his more “grounded” works that could actually occur in the real world. He took a creative gamble and took this one deeper into fantasy, and that must be appreciated and respected. While that is all “fine and good”, it’s a shame the book was not fine or good. It was average at best. At Best.

Palahniuk’s premise is certainly intriguing (albeit difficult to swallow at times), but he stumbles with the execution. The culling song presents the kernel of an interesting idea, but the book feels padded, and I mean padded!, even at just over 250 pages with plenty of blank ones purposely scattered throughout. (Whenever a page started on an even page, he left that page blank and started the new chapter on the odd page more than half way down the page. Probably publishers fault to make a short novel feel more substantial.)

Simply put, this is an idea that would have worked much better as a short story. You can tell this tale in 30 pages like a Grimm Fairy Tale without any dialogue, or even a 120 page novella. Let me know if you want me to rewrite this for you, Chuck.

Palahniuk is clumsy in communicating his major themes, taking a heavy-handed approach that simply involves bludgeoning the reader into submission through sheer repetition. And repetition. And repetition. Have I made it clear he repeats a lot of his ideas? So, Palahniuk is becoming repetitive as a writer. He has an incredibly unique voice, but it hasn’t expanded much since “Fight Club” and “Survivor”. Hell, even “Invisible Monster” was great when I first read it, but now that I’ve read five of his other books over the past decade, I’m terrified to re-read “Invisible Monster” because I have grown as a reader and may find it to be total garbage. While reading “Lullaby“, I was suddenly struck by an observation — all of the characters sound exactly alike. And I mean in this novel and all of his other novels. The themes of nihilism, media saturation, and salvation-through-destruction are used and re-used, over and over. I understand that authors have common themes that they revisit, but after a while, it begins to feel more like a rut than a style. Palahniuk needs to show more growth in this area quickly or he runs the risk of being seen as a one-trick pony. And it’s sad, because I really liked that pony at first. We all did. But I grew up, and now I want a horse.

Any rumination in his head got repeated every couple chapters, just in case you’re reading at a speed of one page a day and need reminding. Whole chapters feel like untouched drafts. Who is this guy’s editor? The average chapter length is between 3-6 pages, and there are 44. That’s 44 chapters in a 250 page book with frequent blank pages. Yikes.

Overall, the book is interesting, but it never rises above the level of just “OK”. You could argue that it’s just fiction and for Palahniuk to make a point, even a really obvious one, perhaps he feels he must take the ends of his stories somewhere strange and foreign and impossible and we are supposed to accept it like a fable or an allegory. We’re supposed to “just get it.”

Without being too pessimistic, I can say the best days are behind him and I won’t be reading any more of his books. Especially his last one, “Damned” — I heard it was shit-ball city. I’ve read most of his work, so I know what’s up; including Invisible Monsters, Choke, Haunted, Survivor, Diary, Fight Club, Rant (really shitty), Snuff, and now Lullaby. I won’t even touch his more recent “Tell-All”—nor “Pygmy”—based on horror stories from friends and less than favorable reviews from, well, everyone (amateur and professional reviews, digitally and printed, and Amazon reviews). The synopses are cringe-worthy.

I think I’m nauseous. A little Palahniuk goes a long way. If you’ve never read Palahniuk before, I’d recommend reading “Survivor” (4/5) and then “Choke” (3.5/5) and maybe “Fight Club” which I blasphamously give (3.5/5) whose Fincher film from 1999 is far superior. Which, bytheway, how that incredible screewriter turned that book into such a coherent movie I will never know. I read it after I saw the film and couldn’t believe how scatterbrained it was.

Skip “Lullaby”, then, please, do what I did not and quit while you’re ahead.

Score “Lullaby”: 2/5

Avg. Score of most Chuck Palahniuk novels: 3/5

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Palahniuk#Criticism   and  http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/fantasticfiction/lullaby.htm

p.s. the background of this story, as in what was occuring in Chuck’s real life at the time, is for more interesting and sad than the book; but knowing that his father died does explain why Chuck is Chuck and writes how he does. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lullaby_(novel)

 

MH

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