This reads just as I expected it to – very early Stephen King. It’s weird, it’s graphically violent, it f***s with your head, but it has a lame wtf ending and is not quite absorbing enough to prevent the reader from thinking how unlikely it is that real people would behave this way. Not the murderous main character, of course, but the other students who become complicit as he holds them hostage. The MC is unfortunately all too plausible. King has said that he started writing this book as a teenager, and that he drew from his own angst, loneliness, confusion, and, yes, rage in writing it. And several real-life teenagers identified so strongly with it that they drew inspiration from the novel in committing their own school shootings. Which is why this novel has been allowed to go out of print.
My own copy is part of a tatty second-hand paperback of The Bachman Books, a monstrously sized four novel collection. I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Genre: Horror: anything that fits into the horror genre. If a boy going on a school shooting rampage and setting up his fellow students to turn on one another in their own fear and rage isn’t horror, I don’t know what is.
First an explanation: This would have been another comfortable 3 star entry into the Haunted Renovation series, but I had to knock off a star because it made me mad. The one fictional trope that really chaps me is the mean-spirited nurse who inserts herself as a pointless barrier between patients and families, ruthlessly enforcing visiting hours and providing little to no actual care to the patient. And in this one, the author has “Nurse Ratched” not only kicking visitors out for no reason, she spends time reading fiction when she’s supposed to be caring for her critically ill ICU patients. And this is actually what supposedly makes her a more sympathetic, approachable human?!? Nope, nope nope.
I really enjoy this series, and I was really happy that this one was available to me on audio, because Xe Sands is a perfect fit for the MC, reading with a wry humor and seemingly genuine affection for the characters and story. The mystery itself was promising, with the setting moving outside of San Francisco for the first time. Since the ghosts were tied to the stones of a medieval monastery, the historical timeframe was new, as well. I appreciate that the author is keeping the series from settling into a rut of sameness. But the Nurse Ratched caricature cost it this time.
Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Murder Most Foul: Any murder mystery. In this story, a city building inspector is murdered by someone dropping a 60lb bag of mortar on his head. Ouch.
When I read this eight years ago, it was my first taste of Discworld. I was amazed and delighted, and I immediately set out to collect and read every single one. Of course, there are so many books, and the series seems to follow a construction and logic all its own, so after flailing about for a couple of books, I decided to read them one subseries at a time, starting with Witches. With one Witches book to go, I’m now starting over, re-reading the entire Discworld universe in chronological order of published dates, together with the Booklikes Discworld group.
In this second reading of The Colour of Magic, I felt just as delighted with Rincewind and Twoflower and especially the Luggage as when it was new. But with the perspective of having read some of the later books in the series, I was a little impatient with the construction of the story as a whole. It felt jumpy, disconnected, less of a coherent story and more of a series of vignettes. And the abrupt ending was maddening, with an awful temptation to jump straight into Light Fantastic to continue the story. But it’s a fun look back at the early rough construction of the Discworld universe, its odd peoples and laws and rules and funny asides. I needed this lighthearted romp – it was a nice break from a world that sometimes seems to have had its good humor sucked dry – and am looking forward to the next respite with The Light Fantastic, this coming December.
This is a solid sequel to Death by Silver. There is still no steam here, and while there is some focus on Julian and Ned's relationship, this is first and foremost a mystery. Anyone looking for romance and smex will need to either look elsewhere or adequately adjust their expectations before diving into this.
The mystery here had several layers to it and took awhile to untangle them all. The suspects were many, and the motivations just as numerous. It was fun following along as Ned and Julian tried to figure out what was going on, and learning more about how the magic in this world works. There's old magic, or non-conforming, now considered uncouth. And there's the new magic, or conforming magic, that's been designed to be more humane (no need for animal parts or blood, for instance). Of course, the two systems don't clash well at all, and when a particularly nasty bit of non-conforming magic starts to kill off men, it leaves Ned, Julian and Hatton in a bind on how to handle it, much less even figure out how it works and who is working it.
Complicating matters further, it seems that the culprit is part of the Dionysus Club, and Julian and Ned have every bit as much of an interest in keeping connections to the club and its membership away from the police investigation. They could face jail time or hanging themselves in their private inclinations become publicly known. This is not a world progressively-minded people or "as long as you're happy" platitudes, and these men have to be very careful who they trust with the truth, and even those who might know and support them - or at least be willing to turn a blind eye - aren't reckless enough to come out and say it.
We get to meet one of Miss Frost's friends, and more of Julian's crowd from his wilder days. Miss Barton is a hoot, and Julian didn't exactly have the best taste in men in his youth to say the least, lol. And then there's Challice, who I couldn't help feeling sorry for.
This is a tightly-written book, with smart characters who are actually good at their jobs (so many books that claim their characters are the best in their fields are actually filled with rampaging idiots) and who know how to communicate with each other when they discover things the other needs to know. Fancy that! They're not as good as communicating when it comes to their relationship, but Ned and Julian find ways to do that as well, no matter how uncomfortable it might make them.
This could have used another pass through by an editor, since there was some unnecessary repetition and a lot of missing words. A less misleading title wouldn't have gone amiss either.
There never is a death actually at the Dionysus Club, but I guess "Deaths of Dionysus Club Members" doesn't have the same ring to it.
But those are my only quibbles.