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review 2018-04-19 18:58
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
The Strain - Guillermo del Toro,Chuck Hogan,Ron Perlman

I have not seen the show created from this material. I DVR’d it but the thing got full and it was deleted. That may have been for the best . . .

 

The Strain begins when a passenger plane lands with its windows all darkened and none of its 199 passengers getting off the plane. Is it a terrorist attack or something even more insidious?

 

I’ll give you a hint. It’s the second one and this part of the book is so very creepy!

 

There was something on that plane that is now wreaking havoc on the family members of the extremely unlucky passengers aboard the plane – and on society at large.

 

This story is basically pandemic via vampiric strain and focuses a lot of time on the rush for experts to discover exactly what the hell is going on and how to stop it before everyone dies a horrid death or worse.

 

The audiobook is narrated by Ron Perlman who gives the material a lethal edge and he doesn’t even attempt to feign a female voice (thank all that is good and kind in this world). He is deadly serious as well he should be for a story like this! It’s tense and gory and action packed.

 

But you need to know something. Terrible things happen to people, to children, and to dogs (gawd, the dogs!) in this book so guard yourself before you step in. Some may say this is a spoiler but I say you MUST know if you have any feelings at all. I wish I had. I might’ve skipped it had I known about one particular scene. That scene had me in complete dread mode guessing what was going to happen and wishing I could unhear it and pretend it never happened after it did. My heart let me know that it hasn’t completely shriveled up yet.

 

I love pandemic and plague stories even though they give me endless nightmares because I know it’s going to happen to us one of these days and that we’ll probably deserve it (well, most of us anyway). But I only sometimes enjoy thrillers and vampire stories. This one combines the two and I mostly enjoyed it before it got too gross and boring because the vampires are evil, hungry and not at all sexy. Nope, there is no sexy to be had here (more on that in a minute). My biggest complaint about this book was the fact that it was mainly a thriller with heavy handed violence and the characters weren’t given enough space for me to get to know them (especially the women) because they were so busy doing important things to stop this blight on humanity. I really didn’t end up giving any craps about any of them because the whole thing lacked an emotional connection for me. I know not everyone necessarily needs that but I do with very few exceptions. I think reading Salem’s Lot as a kid may have spoiled most vampire novels for me.

 

As I said, this book is deadly serious but there is a moment of dialogue that I must share because I am still laughing about it.

 

“I am a drinker of men.”

 

Heh, I’ve never quite heard it put this way before and I think I like it! I wish there had been more unintentionally funny bits to break up the slaying.

 

Towards the middle it gets rather gross and I rarely say that. There’s a proboscis thing, there’s white goo/blood and, grossest of all, there’s peeing/pooping vampires. And they do it as they feed! I told you there is no sexy here and I wasn’t kidding! There is just entirely too much yuck to behold. Even my cast iron stomach was screaming for it to stop. Maybe it’s because I listened on audio and I find audio such an intimate experience that it became way too much? Or perhaps I’m getting whimpy? I don’t know what my problem was but I do know I probably won’t be reading the next two in the series because the last bits bored me to tears. It’s all chasing down vampires and slicing off their noggins and looking at vampire pee/poo and lots of telling and not any showing. I tuned out during the final acts and I’m too chicken to rewind. I was also totally fatigued by the story at this point. I probably won’t be moving on to the two sequels even though my library has them unless someone decides to be super evil and makes me change my mind! Please don’t.

 

I’m going to give it a three because the first half or so was incredibly chilling. I just wish it had all gone another, perhaps less grosser, way in the latter half.

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review 2018-04-17 18:49
Afterage by Yvonne Navarro
Afterage - Yvonne Navarro

This is a book I had kicking around since the 90’s but just got around to reading when my horror loving friend Char created a buddy read at Goodreads.

 

A vampire apocalypse has occurred. Navarro starts things off after it has happened. The few remaining humans must struggle to survive in a wasteland ravaged by monsters both vampiric and human. And, as usual, the human monsters are always the worst! Only the suicidal dare venture out after dark because the vampires are fast, ravenous and deadly.

 

The book follows a rather large cast of survivors, most of them eking out a life by themselves but eventually they come together to save a group of humans being kept hostage by a vampire called Anyelet for reasons that are gross, disturbing and so, so awful!

 

I loved the fact that the Big Bad was a woman! She was vicious and selfish and so perfectly evil and so much better a villain than Anne Rice’s whiny creatures. I don’t think she had even one “poor me” moment. She was lonely so she changed her situation. It created an apocalypse but thems the breaks! Her human henchman was a vile man and she surrounded herself with lesser vampires that she could easily boss around. There’s some nasty stuff insinuated within these pages!

 

The survivors are all pretty well fleshed out and, despite the high number of them, I miraculously didn’t find myself terribly confused which is usually the case. I think it’s because the chapters were short and I tried to read big chunks of the book at each sitting so it was easier to remember who was who and what they had done a few chapters earlier.

 

This reads like old school horror because, well, it is! It reminds me of those long lost days when I was able to spend an entire day under a tree reading King and McCammon until the sun went down. It’s not quite at the emotional level of those two but it comes close at times and it isn’t overly wordy as some books of that time were. These characters were in peril from start to finish but they find time to love and help each other. The baddies are BAD but there are a few who haven’t totally lost their humanity and I appreciated that.

 

If you’re into nasty vampires that aren’t romanticized you should give this one a try.

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review 2018-04-12 18:21
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - Scott Brick,Robert Louis Stevenson

I tried to listen to this audiobook this morning but it was just too wordy for me. I mean, I know it's a book, they're made up entirely of words but these words were not at all interesting to me. They were boring, dry, tedious words and they did not please me nor did they scare me. They made me sleepy is about all they did. And I had no a-hole cat around to wake me up if I fell asleep driving.



A man spies another man trample his way over a young girl. The decent man chases down the dastardly man and begins, what I can only guess because I'm a quitter, his own little investigation into who this man is. I only guess this because he says,“If he be Mr. Hyde" he had thought, "I shall be Mr. Seek.”.

I know I'm supposed to pretend I'm smart and struggle my way through this classic but I have too many other books vying for my attention that I know I will find interesting so I'm not going to struggle my way through another few hours with this sucker.

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review 2018-04-11 18:01
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls - Jason Isaacs,Patrick Ness

I had this book on my Audible app for too long and decided to listen to it for #SpringHorror and though I wouldn't consider it a true horror novel, it felt more like a dark fable/fairytale rooted in modern times, it did have some horrific elements. A young boy dealing with a whole lot of awful, is visited by a monster who tells him stories and demands that after the third story is told the boy will have to share one of his own.

 

This one will punch you right in the heart and will probably make you cry. I don't think I will ever listen to it again because it is just too painful. The poor kids emotions are so raw and genuine and all over the place, the anger, the denial, the fear, all of it rang 100% true and that's all I'm saying because I don't want to spoil things for anyone who hasn't read it yet (though I may be the last!) and it's really to painful for me to revisit. The narrator is most excellent too.

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review 2018-04-09 16:59
Ararat by Christopher Golden
Ararat - Christopher Golden, Robert Fass

I went into this book with a wee bit of stink eye because although most of my friends loved Snowblind, I really didn’t love that one. I enjoyed the setup but when the novel decided to time jump 12 years into the future it tested my memory and my memory failed. I am so glad to say that Ararat didn’t hurt my brain, is genuinely chilling and the pages fly.

 

It’s about a couple who take the trip of a lifetime and leave for Turkey in order to be the first to document a discovery that will quite possibly shake up the entire world. They are on a search for Noah’s Ark. But what they find on the dig is so much more than proof that Noah and his Ark may or may not exist. They find a coffin with something inside that is most definitely not a man and terrible things start to happen soon after it’s unearthed. The least of them being a treacherous storm that traps them and their team with this monstrous thing!

 

This is one of my worst nightmares. My son loves hiking and it terrifies me. I always have visions of him falling off the mountain and dying or I fear he’ll stumble across some human monster lurking in the woods. Now I have some brand new nightmare fuel to add to my head thanks to this book. The feeling, on this high summit, is claustrophobic and pretty damn terrifying in and of itself but then a blizzard hits. Imagine being so far up on a mountain that you’d have to tromp back down if anything truly terrible happened to you in order to get proper medical care? Break a leg and you are pretty much screwed. This is not my idea of a fun time. The situation reminded me a little of those fools in The Ruins by Scott Smith who climbed a mountain in a foreign country to discover ancient ruins who only managed to get ruined themselves. Only this time there are no fools. Thank whoever. These people are intelligent and driven and the story is very, very scary.

 

There’s action, lots of characters that didn’t get me all mixed up but in all honesty none who I cared all that much about. Some of them, most of them actually, were very selfish, so minus a star for that because I like to feel something when someone is slaughtered and I didn’t get an emotional gut punch here. But did I mention there’s a monster that these people are trapped with on top of a mountain during a blizzard?! Ahhhh! I loved that part.

 

I listened to this book on audio, narrated by Robert Fass who does a good job with the male characters but left a little to be desired with the females and their accents. But you can’t have everything, right? I’d recommend reading this one in paper.

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