Tuesday, 22 November 2016

My last 5 books: Fifty Shades of King (and some vampires on the side)

1. The Decided Ones, by Laura Hrastar. I picked this book up ages ago. What mostly interested me about it was that it was a vampire novel set in my home town of Malmö. And on top of that written by an American. It was so out of the ordinary urban fantasy bubble that's usually in America or the UK or if it's in Sweden it's mostly in and around Stockholm or even further north. Having something set in surroundings that I'm 100% familiar with was a novelty. And while it was really cool having the characters go to all these places that I know, the book itself was unfortunately not very good. It started off in the generic way: young woman who's sort of isolated in her job and who likes to read books, meets very attractive young man. Attractive young man turns out to be a vampire. Here's when I first started to dislike the book. When she found out about his nature her reaction was completely sub-par. Summed up it was basically a shrug, telling him she's ok with it and then moving on. Like, this is the real world - aren't you gonna be at least a little bit surprised by the fact that vampires exist?! Then we go on to the danger surrounding this guy because he's a vampire and she isn't and it's dangerous for her to be with him but they still want to be together bla bla bla. Can I please have a vampire novel with realistic reactions and something that hasn't been done before? Then we get to the end where she inevitably and expectingly becomes a vampire, but for some reason she gets webbing between her fingers for swimming as a vampire. Luckily, that was the end of the book, which was good because I was so done. I gave it two stars on Goodreads mainly because of the setting.

2. The Dark Half, by Stephen King. As a teen I read several of King's books and really enjoyed them, so I was excited to read them as an adult and find out if I still liked his stories. This one was alright. I expected horror going in, but this book was more of a murder-mystery with a supernatural twist. I wasn't a huge fan of it in general, but it was one of those books that I just couldn't put down so I finished it quite quickly. Despite not being my general cup of tea the story pulled me in and I wanted to find out what would happen next. But there was no true ending! That bugged me for weeks afterwards. So they defeat the bad guy with some supernatural help. But throughout the book there's talk of supernatural things always having their price, so when is Thad going to have to pay the price? What is the price? Also, the ending definitely doesn't explain if and how Thad got out of being the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Congratulations you disposed of the real murderer - a man no one believed existed. How is this going to help Thad save his future and not end up in prison for life?! The word of one single smalltown police man probably isn't good enough for the FBI tbh. So why are we all so happy when nothing is resolved?!

3. The Bachman Books, by Stephen King. Reading lots of King now. This was a compilation of three of the five books he wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man. I really enjoyed The Long Walk. When I was reading that part I just couldn't put the book down. It was a really simple story essentially, but it was also amazing. 100 boys participating in the ultimate competition in a dystopian future. The ultimate competition being a 450-mile marathon, where if you drop down under a speed of 4 m/h for 30 seconds you get a warning. Three warnings and you're unceremoniously shot and out of the competition (and life). This story was a sort of psychological thriller, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And then came the fact that once again there was no true ending. Ofc the main character is the last man standing (no surprise there), but at the end he just runs off. Does he die? Is he caught and later dies? Is he caught and rehabilitated and somehow survives the ordeal? No idea. I was so annoyed at the no-true-ending trope that King seemed to be having that I didn't pick the book up again for several days. Then came Roadwork, which was hilariously bad. I guess it was supposed to be psychological, but to me all it was was reading about a man who slowly ruined his life and then killed himself. Thoroughly boring and thoroughly depressing. At least it had a true ending. Gold star for effort. Finally there was The Running Man, which I had read before, but that was about ten years ago and the only mental picture I had left from the story was of the main character's guts hanging out of his stomach and getting stuck on debris. The Running Man has some similarities to The Long Walk in that they were both set in dystopian futures and the main character enrolls in a gruelling competition that means either death or fame. The Running Man was the first book in my King marathon where I actually liked the main character; resourceful, cunning, glib, and completely defiant of authority. This book was a sort of action thriller, which I really enjoyed re-reading (and that scene with the guts was still as gross as I remembered it). What struck me twice during the read of The Bachman Books was that both The Long Walk and The Running Man were sort of Hunger Games where ordinary people from outside the game savoured the savagery and cheered when people died or were injured. Hunger Games made the dystopian game show into a YA thing and mainstream, but it was far from the first novel to toy with the idea.

4. Insomnia, by Stephen King. This book took me forever to read, mainly because it was so boring. When I realised that the main character was in his 70s I originally thought it would be really cool and interesting to have a main character who wasn't young or young-ish. Instead the book was a chore. Halfway through nothing seemingly important had happened, and it wasn't until I had read about two-thirds of it that things started to get underway, and what King had done then was allowing the supernatural powers the main character had recieved to regress his age. Suddenly he was 20 years younger in body and spirit, and if that's the case it doesn't matter if he's really 70, because he isn't really anymore. Things started to get underway after two-thirds but it was still slow going. Not much action, and even when there was King described it in a way that took all the excitement out of it. Something action-y and exciting happening right now? Let me make this character sentimental for something that happened 40-60 years ago and describe it in detail, because this is what he's thinking during the split second this thing happens. Completely took all the excitement out of it. Maybe it's realistic, I don't know, but it wasn't entertaining to read. Extra credit for the plot twist in the end that I didn't see coming. And a gold star for a true ending. But the overall grade is poor. When I had finished reading it I was actually glad to put it back in my shelf and it probably won't stay there for long.

5. Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, by E.L. James. Yes. I did it. I read the whole trilogy. I bought it as an eBook in August last year, mainly because I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about but I also didn't think it deserved to be a "real" book and I most definitely did not want to let people know I was reading it on the train or while waiting for the bus. I read the first few pages when I first bought it, but then I didn't pick it up again until about 6-8 months later. Since this Spring I've been reading it on and off when I have nothing better to do - waiting for the bus, waiting for work to start, can't sleep... Things like that. And I finally finished it yesterday evening. I don't really know how to review this book. If I review it as a novel then it's utter trash. Entertaining trash, but still trash. If I review it as the fanfiction it is, then it's really well-written fanfiction. Mainly because there's a lot of fanfiction out there that makes me wonder if the writer stopped attending school at age 10. Throughout reading it I had the same relationship with it like I do with fanfiction. It's easy entertainment. Something to do when I have nothing better to do, or when I'm too tired to do something worthwhile. I understand how it became mainstream, I really do. Nothing about Fifty Shades, and I mean absolutely nothing, is unique from a fanfiction point of view. All of it has been done before and I can point out several Harry Potter smut fics with the same story if you want me to. But this type of sex and relationship in a mainstream novel? Oh-la-la! That's a novelty! I'm not getting on the hype train for this series, it isn't amazing. You know what this is? It's a modern Harlequin novel that has enticed young people because of the elegance of the characters' world and the forbidden-ness that this book's BDSM-inspired (but not really BDSM) sex represents. But basically it's an old lady book. Don't get me wrong I've laughed along to this book a lot. Ana's subconscious and her inner goddess were hilarious as well as the email banter, but what really kept me coming back for more was Christian. That's basically the only thing I thought was well-done in this story; how Christian evolves as a character. In the entirety of the first book he's this bastard asshole stalky freak billionaire. Then, in the other two books, we get to know about his past and slowly, slowly in baby-steps he learns to come out of his shell, learns to be vulnerable, learns to trust, accepts that he actually is unconditionally loved despite his flaws, and slowly learns to love and accept himself and that's beautiful. So yes, I admit I liked this trilogy of books. I enjoyed it. But in no way do I think it's deserving of all the attention it gets.


Not a lot of positivity there.
Still waiting for the horror part, King! Can you show me how you became known as the Master of Horror?

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