Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's Another Word for Crazy?

I finished Berserk by Tim Lebbon several days ago and am just now getting around to blogging about it. I slack off. Immensely. It's not funny how much I slack. It really isn't.

Anywho, not a bad book. Pretty solid with an interesting plot, though I got impatient at the start because Lebbon tended to go on and on about how much Tom missed his son Steven and blah blah and how much he loves his wife and blah blah and I sat there thinking, "Ok, I KNOW, let's move on now." Heheh. It's kind of like maybe Lebbon wrote it, revised it once, and didn't want to revise it again and said, "Pfeh. Just publish it as is."

The best part was not knowing whether or not Natasha (dead girl Tom dug up) would come back to life and rip Tom's flesh off his chest and snack on his organs or if she would let him live as thanks for getting her out of the ground. Hell, half the time I wasn't sure if she really was a little girl or not in terms of age. For all I knew she was 50 or something. I guess technically if she was maybe 10 when she got buried alive that would make her 20 (she was underground for 10 years). Not sure how much normal maturing you can do in 10 years while buried alive (normal being the operative word here), assuming she would have grown and matured similar to a human. Sounded like she would have.

The best parts were Natasha's flashbacks and the berserkers going nuts and ripping people apart with entrails flying through the air. Then seeing them being held by the military--which, I might add, wasn't American. So HA! America isn't the only country always getting put into print (representitive or otherwise) whose military hides secrets and in general, acts like some evil organization. That's good because that crap annoys the hell out of me. Still, even though the setting was in England, finding out at the end that berserkers weren't a normal everday group of ah, "people" naturally found on Earth but instead a military experiment was a letdown. Major bummer. Why? Well DUH. It's been done! And to add to that, I think Lane deserved to get shot, but that's only if he presented his family to the military and said, "Here, you can experiment on us." That wasn't really made clear, whether or not they willingly went into the arms of wacky science.

That brings up other weird issues. Cole mentioned his life was normal as a guard until the military brought in the berserkers from Iraq. Ok. Is that was he was told? Whatever the case, why did he get promoted from normal perimeter guard to #1 berserker guard? What put him in that position? And why wouldn't the military go after them? I think Lebbon ought to write the book on Cole and Natasha's story, the whole thing that led up to her getting buired alive.

Ah well. Still interesting and a weird spin on the concept of zombie and werewolf-anti-silver stuff. Also interesting, this is the third book I've read so far in that the main character gets bitten and/or his/her blood drunk that leads to him/her changing into another creature. Hmm...

Makes me wonder where The Everlasting by Lebbon will lead. I have yet to hear from the library which makes me think they can't get it as no one in their system has it. Guess that means I'll have to buy it. Not really a fan of that idea seeing as I literally have no shelf space. Oh and don't tell me just to pile it on the ground. People keep saying to do that. "Oh, I have piles of books on my floor, haha!" No. Sorry. I like my books to stay off the floor and remain on a shelf where they belong. Besides, my room is freaking tiny so there's a good possibility of them getting kicked.

Oh well. Onward and upward.

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Tell me that cover wouldn't catch your attention.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Live Girls

I finished my second book, Live Girls by Ray Garton, in two days. If I'd started earlier, it very well might have been one day.

Live Girls was a ton more fun than Cabal. I was worried though. Why? Because who hasn't heard of the whole vampire women acting kind of like succubi and living in strip joints and drinking blood from men they sex up? I snickered to myself because the first similiar item that popped in my head was that ridiculous movie From Dusk Till Dawn. Likewise, sex and vampires seem to go together no matter where you look and it's kind of annoying and tiresome after a while. Vampire women? Doing it with plenty of men? Been there, done that. What's Garton going to do that's different?

Mm, plenty. Garton does some great stuff and while I mentioned in my ramblings about Cabal how I expect a horror book to freak me out, I realize I have to take that back. While a horror book ought to weird a person out, I forgot about the entertainment value. I had a good time reading this book. Garton kept things interesting, characters you wanted to see hang on until the end, and who would come out a vampire and who would come out dead.

My mouth lead me to acquire books that contained a fair amount of gore, so I got what I asked for. There's just about everything in here, from mutilated bodies to vomiting blood to vampires gone horribly, horribly wrong. In fact, those last two components and the reasons behind them are what made Garton's vampires unique. While crosses and holy water don't work "Fuck you Bram Stoker" (one of the best lines in the book), garlic causes a nasty little allergic reaction, but even better, if you're familiar with vampire stories out there where the vampire wants to be good and just drinks up on the dregs of society? Yeah. No dice here. Drinking up on some crack addict or someone with a certain disease can permanently screw up a vampire. I love the idea. It's like eating bad food. In most vampire cases the blood simply tastes icky, but it'll still sustain the vamp. Here, that's a big no-no and it's cost more than one vampire their...well not lives but their looks and shape more or less.

Every character mattered, had a place, and the story just kept on moving, even when you think one spot is a lull, it isn't or it quickly switches over. One of those books you have trouble putting down. I also wonder why sex seems to always couple with horror, but meh. Oh well. It's a good book. A bit tricky to find (thanks interlibrary loan!) but worth it, yes sir.

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Moral of the story: Be careful when you go to nudie bars, boys.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Night Has A Hero (sort of)

I've been itching to read something by Clive Barker for some time now. Cabal is now my official Clive Barker introduction.


While I haven't yet read the short stories included in the book I have (I'm not sure if they're with every edition of Cabal or not), but I finished Cabal a week or so again and have since moved on to other things. I'd mentioned needing gore, or good examples of it, in the hopes of making, ah, messy things in my book a bit more visceral. Cabal had some good bits to that end, but overall I felt a bit let down by the story. It's only about 200 or so pages, but it feels shorter than that.

I think my main problem was that I never really got into the characters. At all. Boone was just some random guy who got sucked into all this. I never knew much of his history, which I suppose was necessary because of his "memory loss" but I was curious as to why he was visiting a doctor in the first place. In fact, when I pictured the guy, despite the fact that seeing a psyciatrist is expensive, I thought of him as scruffy, scary-looking, almost of a homeless guy quality. I didn't have much to go on. I didn't even know he was supposed to be handsome until his girlfriend took over the story and said Boone was a fine-looking guy. The story was actually hers...sort of. The blurb made it seem like hers, she had the most camera time (so to speak), though there was the occasional head hopping.

I wanted to see more of Midian. For those of you wondering, Midian is a place where all the super-freaks, creatures, and monsters of the world live, staying out of the sunlight and away from people who would kill them without a second thought. I would have liked to explore that place, it's history, and more of the things that inhabit it. But to no avail.

Maybe I would have liked it better if I were more in tune with the characters - when Lori was in danger of getting killed by a total psycho, I hardly felt her fear. I don't often read horror, so when I do, I expect it to totally freak me out. I mean, hell, I still have fear the dark from time to time. Just last night I had a paranoid chill up my back and looked over my shoulder into a dark room and in my mind, threatened whatever was lurking in there with death, or at least one hell of a fight. So for this story, in which the dark contains all sorts of weird things creeping around, to leave me feeling "meh" and without any extra fear of, well, anything (not like I need any), is a bit disappointing. Maybe I would have liked it better if Midian wasn't under attack by a bunch of podunk small town cops (in Canada no less). By the way, all the inhabitants of Midian knew what was coming. One creature had a procog vision of it. The head honcho that created Midian knew they'd be invaded. And they didn't put up a few snags? No defense? I mean, if creature-A knew creature-Bob was going to die, wouldn't Bob not stand by the door later on? Maybe they didn't know the exact circumstances, but still, when creature-A starts naming names, wouldn't those named get as far away from the surface of danger as possible?

I also wish I would stop critiquing books as I read. I noticed Barker did a lot of this:

"Do you think so?" said Lori.
"Of course," came the reply.

A lot of "came the reply" tags. It kind of sucked when more than one person was involved with the conversation. I felt like Blinkin of Robin Hood: Men in Tights. "Pardon? Who's talking?"

Normally my imagination runs wild. Not so much here. I would have preferred to stick with Boone and explore Midian. Find out what happened to Peloquin. I don't care that the head sheriff gets his best ideas on the crapper. *snort* Little things, mostly.

Anywho, one down, four to go. Live Girls or Berserk will be next. Shouldn't take long to read them either. 3 days for each, max.

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<-- Kuski's work makes me think of Midian. Check it out, it's liquid awesome.