Friday, 24 October 2014

Magic, horror and history

I haven't blogged in forever again. That's what happens when I get stuck in something. Most recently it's my latest Skyrim playthrough, but I also have a whole bunch of short story competitions that I want to send stuff to, so I'm working on several ideas for short stories right now. Making deadlines is so stressful. I wonder how I'll do when NaNoWriMo starts next week xD I'm not really sure what to do with this post. Books, maybe? I haven't really talked about books in a while.

So the last book I had started reading when I last talked about books was Dancing Jax by Robin Jarvis. It took a really long time for me to really get into the book. It was slow to start and none of the characters managed to catch my attention. None of them were really interesting. I loved the concept of the book and I may continue reading the series just because the concept is amazing, but the execution still remains tedious. It was kind of disappointing tbh, because the cover looked so exciting. It looks like it promises a chilling, possibly horror-filled, ride through something fantastical. In reality it's the real world with something evil in it. I assume that the author has read Lovecraft and tried to make the bad guy Lovecraft-inspired, but failing miserably. I know Lovecraft is adult fiction and this author aims for youth fiction, but nah... The storytelling is too simplistic. The only thing that made me smile occasionally was the several references to Doctor Who and Star Trek, coming from the main character who's a major nerd.

I picked up Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch after that. It's sort of a crime novel involving magic. I thought the magic part would make the crime genre more interesting, and it did, but not as much as I would've liked. Crime really isn't my thing. So although this crime novel was more interesting than general crime novels, it wasn't as exciting as I had hoped. There was a Sorcerer's Apprentice vibe to it too. That was fun, but I feel like the author tried too much. He tried to be a little bit of everything and the final picture ended up being very divided. Since it's a British contemporary novel about magic and wizards there were ofc plenty of Harry Potter references that made me smile.
"So magic is real. Which makes you a... what?"
"A wizard."
"Like Harry Potter?"
"No, not like Harry Potter."
"What about Voldemort?"
"He's got my number." 
"Would it kill us to have an official branch of government that handled the supernatural?"
"A Ministry of Magic?"

Then there was The Complete History of Jack the Ripper by Philip Sugden. I've always had a thing for Jack the Ripper. Like a fascination with his story. I'm not fascinated by the murders (I'm not that guy), but by everything surrounding it, and the legend that grew from the fact that they never caught him. I had my own theory about why - they were all so focused on the fact that it was a man that they never looked for the possibility that it might be a woman and thus she walked free. A woman, maybe a prostitue herself, could've been around the victims without arousing any suspicion from the surroundings or the victims. But although I can't remember what convinced me now, there was something when I read that made me realise that no woman could do that. I think it was the fact that some of the victims had been strangled by hand. And I believe no woman of that time had enough upper-body strength to do that against somebody of her own size. Unless the woman was very big and that wouldn't have been very inconspicuous. Anyway it was a very interesting read. Recommended to everyone with the slightest fascination for the legend that is Jack the Ripper.

Most recently I read Den of Thieves by David Chandler. It was a fairly standard fantasy novel. The young thief in the rich city that gets pulled into an adventure with magic, demons, wizards, maidens and knights. It was entertaining, but not much more than that. I'll probably continue reading the series, though, because this is just the type of story that I like. Although it wasn't extremely captivating it was still entertainment of an easy kind. I enjoy that from time to time.

The book I'm currently getting into is a short story collection: Night Terrors: The Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson. Perfect at this time of year!

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