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IT – Stephen King

ItIt by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I originally read this book when I was either eleven or twelve years old and it was the first time I had ever read anything by Stephen King. I was amazed at the sheer volume of the book and was so excited that a grown up had written a book about kids that were my age that I could relate to even if it was in a the time that my parents were born. I remember I carried that book with me everywhere I went, reading it every chance I got, grateful that my parents didn’t care what I was reading, however I was advised not to bring it back to school by one of my teachers. I was told it was inappropriate reading material for a child of my age.

As part of a group read, I read this book again. I remember I loved it as a kid and it was one of my favorite books, this is the first time I have re-read the book in twenty-six years. There was so much of it I didn’t remember. Some of it was like reading it for the first time all over again, because I didn’t remember parts of it at all. This goes back to the sheer volume of the book and probably because I was only eleven years old.

I remember as a kid my favorite character in the book was Bill. He was the leader of the gang and the one that everyone looked up to. He was cool even though he stuttered and everyone made fun of him for it. Now that I am older and have read this again, I have to change that. My favorite character is Ben, I think Ben is amazing. He has strength, courage, and love that none of the other kids have, or maybe it is just that he has a better understanding of those things.

Of course Henry Bowers is the one everyone hates, but I don’t really. I think that Bowers is a character that is doomed by uncontrollable circumstances. It’s not his fault he is totally screwed and an evil, sick, twisted putz. I think the worst character in the book by far is Patrick, while he is a minor character, he is by far the most vile in my opinion. Pennywise is an amazing character and would give anybody the heebie-jeebies, if clowns don’t freak you out, they will after reading this book.

In typical King fashion there are of course tie ins to other King novels. Ones that stood out to me were Christine, The Shining, and of course The Dark Tower. There are of course several novels that reference It, the ones that I can remember and recognized are The Tommyknockers, Under The Dome, and 11/22/63, there are probably more, but I either don’t remember them or haven’t read them yet.

This book gets five stars from me, it has been and always will be one of my favorite King novels, maybe because it was my first.

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Swan Song – Robert McCammon

Swan SongSwan Song by Robert R. McCammon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This book is amazing. The writing is wonderful and the characters are spectacular. You are completely drawn into this story and don’t want to put it down until you reach the end. While a wonderful work of fiction, it also makes you pause and think. A real good vs evil story with that hint of what if.

I went through the entire emotional spectrum with this book, it will make you laugh, make you angry, make you happy and sad, sometimes all at the same time.

I will probably come back and edit this review at a later date, I just finished the book, and really don’t know what I want to say about it. I am actually kind of disappointed that it is over. It is definitely a book I will read again, probably more than once, and is now my favorite read for 2012 and I have read some really excellent books this year.

I almost didn’t read this book due to other scheduled reads, I am so glad I was convinced to do the buddy read for it. I gave the book five stars and my only suggestion to you is read it. If you have it on your to read list, move it up, if you don’t have it on your list, put it there. You won’t be disappointed, but if you are, then my apologies.

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77 Shadow Street – Dean Koontz

77 Shadow Street (with bonus novella The Moonlit Mind): A Novel77 Shadow Street (with bonus novella The Moonlit Mind): A Novel by Dean Koontz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. I normally enjoy Dean Koontz, but I found this book a bit of a chore to read. The beginning of the book seemed like a giant mess and gaggle of characters that I couldn’t even begin to keep straight in my head. I found myself more confused than anything at the beginning, jumping from character to character and from one time to the next. Just when I thought okay, this has to be the last character introduced, another one would pop up. I felt like I just couldn’t keep up and it diminished my enjoyment and the pace of the reading because I would find myself having to go back to straighten something out in my head.

I also found the book to be quite wordy. Over explanation of certain things, not enough explanation of other things. I was also quite irritated at the reiteration of certain points or sayings. I felt like even though I was reading the same book, points would be brought back up in later chapters sort of like a recap in a series for a novel that the author meant to be a stand alone book. There were also characters in the book that I felt didn’t belong, Shelley and Mac primarily. They weren’t in the building during the transition and their conversation about post-humanism didn’t really add much to the story in my opinion. We could have gotten the same information from Witness, who I felt should have had a larger role in the book.

Based on the sheer amount of characters in the book, I didn’t really care for any of them. I couldn’t really get to know them due to a lack of depth. I feel this is because there were just too many of them for the author to really spend any amount of time on a single character. I do applaud Mr. Koontz for Iris, I think that she was well portrayed in the beginning, however, near the end of the book, we no longer got anything from her point of view, only from Winny’s point of view as to how she reacted. Having taken the time to explain her and how she views things in the beginning, then have her make such a huge change at the end of the book with none of her perspective felt like a cheat to me. Like the author wanted to give that happy ending to her and her mother with out any explanation as to why she did what she did. I also enjoyed the Cupp sisters, I found them to to be the most entertaining part of the book.

Then there was the ending, that is probably the most anti-climatic ending to a suspense novel I have ever read. I was so disappointed with it, that I didn’t even bother reading the novella Moonlit Mind after I finished 77 Shadow Street. I will of course go back and read it, but not right now, for now I am done.

I rated this 3 stars, but it is probably closer to 2.5 stars. I enjoyed the concept of the story, the post-humanism, and the science. There are things that make you go, hmmmm. I just found the read to be a little taxing and a little confusing. Good concept, right idea, bad execution. That is difficult for me to say as Koontz is one of my favorite authors. Maybe you will enjoy the book more than I did. I hope you do.



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Review of Carrion Comfort

Carrion ComfortCarrion Comfort by Dan Simmons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t even know where to start with this review.

It is a long book with a lot of characters and back story. This was my first read of a Dan Simmons book and I was afraid that with the size it was just going to be a wordy, boring mess. I was really worried after reading the introduction in the twentieth anniversary edition that I got. While somewhat interesting, the introduction was wordy and seemed somewhat arrogant in parts. It almost seemed to say I am smarter than you and I know it. I thought this might be a clue to how the book was going to go. I am a smart person so the big words and some of the theories didn’t bother me, but I did wonder how it would appear to the average reader.

Character development was amazing in my opinion, I felt that I had a true sense of who each character was and really felt involved with them. Now with that being said, I did find that some of the character relations were a bit far stretched at times, but over all it worked. I will say that my favorite character in the book was Sheriff Gentry, he kind of reminded me of Peter Faulk as Colombo, just a small town idiot cop that was really too smart for his own good. I must also say that I liked Saul’s character a lot as well. His story and his will to survive were amazing.

As far as the ‘evil’ characters in the book, I thought they were brilliant. Kudos to Willi and Melanie for being the most vile, despicable creatures I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I won’t say anymore on that because I don’t want to give anything away.

I would not classify this book as a ‘horror’ as I didn’t find it at all terrifying. I thought the premise was sound and the story was well told. The book was not at all wordy as I feared it would be. I think that if any of the parts were left out, the story would have been incomplete. I don’t think there is anything that could be trimmed.

Now with all that being said, let me tell you what kept this book from getting 5 stars from me. I know it may be a petty thing, but it was the racism in the book. I understand that a lot of the back story required it, and it was a sign of the times when the book was written, but I hated it. I myself am white, however my spouse and my step daughter are African American and I cringed every time the N word appeared in this novel. The references to how they are beneath a white person or not as smart just really pissed me off.

However with that being said, I am grateful for the progress we have made as a society since.

All in all, do I recommend this book? Yes I do. It is worth a read and I place it in my top 10 for the books I have read this year.

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Room

RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I first saw this book on the Amazon top seller list, the crayon writing on the cover caught my attention, so I read the description. The idea of the book appealed to me, but I didn’t purchase it. I like to get into a story, become the character(s)that I am reading, the idea of being a trapped abused 5 year old did not appeal to me at all.

I finally broke down this past month and bought the book, figured what the hell, I spend more than 10 bucks on lunch and sometimes I don’t like that either. I was surprised, I actually enjoyed the book, in fact I read it in less than two days.

Jack is an amazing character at times I forgot he was only five years old. The author did an excellent job of creating a believable five year old character in this situation. At times I was appalled and disgusted with the various situations in the book, but then again you have to remember the entire premise of the book.

Over all the story was very well told, well written, and I absolutely recommend it. My reason for three stars is simple enough, while the story is great, Jack is amazing, my biggest problem was staying in the mind of a five year old.

I am huge on spelling and punctuation and the spelling in the book bothered me. I understand that is how a five year old would spell the word, but I don’t know that I needed it spelled that way in the book. With that being said, if she had written the book with proper spelling and grammar, I have to ask myself if I would have enjoyed the book as much, and part of me says no.

So, if you can get past the idea of being in the head of a five year old for this entire book, the spelling of a five year old, and the grammar of a five year old, then read it.I am glad I did. Just my two cents…

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