Showing posts with label short story. Show all posts
Showing posts with label short story. Show all posts

Thursday, May 5, 2016

[Review] Nightmares & Dreamscapes (#1) - Stephen King: 90% filler and Eerie Conclusions. You call that horror?






This is a short story collection full of supposedly scary short story tales.

What intrigued me: I haven't read a book by Stephen King before and I'm in a massive reading slump, so reading a scary short story collection seems like a good idea!

Not scary, not even remotely horror!

My favorite thing about this is probably the foreword. The stories weren't what I expected them to be. I was hoping for a lot of scary reads, but this is just a random collection of mediocre short stories.

His ideas are very unique, inspiring, and interesting, but in no way what the title NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES suggests. You aren't going to find anything remotely creepy in here, most are just tales about weird people with weird goals, but scary and nightmare-ish is a completely different thing. As it is I was somewhat entertained, but this is just not what the short story collection is advertised as and it's very disappointing, especially because this is my first Stephen King read.

However, I do enjoy King's writing style to some extent. It's easy and quick to read, but I think he overdoes it with the character building. That's also why most of his stories have very weak and slow beginnings that make you want to quit before you've actually gotten to the story. Especially for short stories, you don't need to know about the protagonist's parents and grandparents, or any other specific character building element. I was hoping for the stories to terrify me from beginning to the end but most stories can only deliver a small somewhat eerie conclusion and are 90% filler.

Individual stories & ratings

  • 1. Dolan's Cadillac ★☆☆☆☆

Plot: A widower is trying to murder the guy who's responsible for his wife's death by digging a hole and burying him and his expensive car alive.
Opinion: Not scary, just insanely boring. and long-winded. I could hardly finish this.

  • 2. The End of the Whole Mess ★★★★★

Plot: A brilliant prodigy finds a way to cure humanity from its original sin. But for a price.
Opinion: I loved this so much, it's so interesting to see how the mind of a highly intelligent character works. I would love a full-length novel about this. Some continuity issues and an unsatisfying ending, but overall SUPER interesting. Again, not scary though.

  • 3. Suffer the Little Children ★★★☆☆

Plot: Mean teacher is the only one that realizes all children in her school are possessed by monsters.
Opinion: Another boring one. The premise is very interesting, but it's not very scary and too much is left open. 

  • 4. The Night Flier ☆☆☆☆☆

Plot: Reporter seeks out someone whom he believes to be a serial killer that thinks they're a vampire, but the guy actually turns out to be a vampire.
Opinion: Horrible. Such a slow beginning, so much unnecessary monologues and backstory, and a very, very disappointing creature that isn't scary in the least. A very long story that feels like I 100% wasted my time even bothering with this one.

  • 5. Popsy ★★★★☆

Plot: A gambling-addict-turned-child-abductor abducts a monster spawn.
Opinion: I loved this. Less annoying backstory as in the previous stories and a convincing monster story, that I really, really liked. Not as scary as I wanted it to be, but another candidate that I'd like a full-length novel of.

  • 6. It Grows on You ☆☆☆☆☆

Plot: A mysterious house keeps on growing and adding new wings even long after its owner died.
Opinion: The worst case of please show instead of tell I've ever witnessed. So much backstory oh my god. Seems very pointless to me.

  • 7. Chattery Teeth ★★★★☆

Plot: A man picks up an evil hitchhiker and gets saved by a joke item.
Opinion: Interesting and a little eerie. Though too much gore for my taste. 

  • 8. Dedication ★★☆☆☆

Plot: A maid consumes eats her boss' semen to work a magic spell so her child would grow up to be as talented as him
Opinion: The main flaw of the story is that it's told in retrospective. It's also really weird.

  • 9. The Moving Finger ★★★☆☆

Plot: There is a moving finger perking out of someone's drain and they really don't like it.
Opinion: Super weird. I don't know if I thought it was scary, more bloody, actually. It was okay, but I missed the ~logical explanation~ part.

  • 10. Sneakers ★★☆☆☆

Plot: The ghost of a murdered man comes back to sit on a toilet and wear dirty sneakers.
Opinion: Not a fan of public restroom horror or whatever this is. I was glad to have at least one ghost story in this though.

  • 11. You Know They Got a Hell of a Band ★☆☆☆☆

Plot: A couple on a road trip encounters a town full of dead musicians.
Opinion: Too much gore for me and a very weak premise.

  • 12. Home Delivery ★☆☆☆☆

Plot: An old-fashioned zombie outbreak story.
Opinion: Nothing special, very boring!


Overall Rating:

★★½☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Not as your first King read. I was disappointed because I was looking for something super scary. It's an okay short story collection, but the title is very misleading.



Additional Info

Published: June 30th 2009
Pages: 897 (1+2)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Adult / Horror
ISBN:  9781439102565

Synopsis:
"A collection of short stories, several being published for the first time, offers a spine-tingling journey to the nightmare world created by a master of sheer terror and grotesque imagination."
(Source: Goodreads)

Can you recommend some good scary reads?

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Monday, March 9, 2015

[Short Story Review] Starcrossed City (Starcrossed #0.5) - Josephine Angelini





In STARCROSSED CITY, a short story prequel to the Starcrossed Trilogy by Josephine Angelini, we find out how Ajax and Daphne, "Helen's parents", meet for the first time.

What intrigued me: Having just finished the second novel of the trilogy DREAMLESS, I stumbled upon this gem and had to read it. I wasn't particularly a fan of Daphne's character in the novels, but I guess she's just written to be a very unlikeable character.

Entertaining voice and characters

In STARCROSSED CITY, Daphne is a senior in high school. The story is told from her point of view and describes her first day in a new school. The unique thing about this story is the character voice. She talks in short sentences, describing things without trying to sound fancy and just going straight to the point. I can't tell whether I should write this off as laziness on the author's side or simply count this as adding to the character of her narrator. Daphne is just as unlikeable as in the the main series, constantly thinking about how she's superior to everyone, hating everything and just being overall very overdramatic. It's equally entertaining as it is exhausting to listen to her.

However I can't deny that I really enjoyed being led through the story through Daphne's eyes. I can't really put my finger on it, but there's something cold, calculating and vulnerable in the way she talks and describes things. You can clearly recognize her in her younger self when reading this. The story itself isn't very interesting. It's your average start of a YA novel, new kid in a new school.

Over the Top?

Daphne goes through the day having to constantly tell off people that want to surround themselves with her. The effects of "The Face" seem to hit her way harder than they ever hit Helen, her daughter in the series. The way people are frantically trying to be close to Daphne just seems over the top. She makes an enemy within five seconds for absolutely no reason and I just rolled my eyes at that. Why would anyone try to physically harm a girl that they've just met?

The worst isn't even how two girls she JUST met try to physically assault her for NO REASON, the worst is her reaction and only objection:

"“Don’t, Harlow,” I plead, tears blurring my eyes. They don’t understand. Without my hair, I’ll have no way to hide my face. I’ll be exposed and it’ll just get worse."

Yes, Daphne, your face is so magical and beautiful that everyone will go completely nuts if you cut your bangs. Yup. I just.. I can't. I'm really glad that Angelini didn't decide to use Daphne as her protagonist in the series.

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I hoped that this story would be just about Ajax and Daphne, but it's more of a cute "and this is how I met your mom" story that doesn't lead anywhere.


Rating:

☆☆

The Series:

Starcrossed City (#0.5)
Dreamless (#2)
Goddess (#3)
- See more at: http://thebookavid.blogspot.de/2015/03/review-gottlich-verloren-ot-dreamless.html#sthash.DGWlrLkG.dpuf
Continue Reading...

[Short Story Review] Starcrossed City (Starcrossed #0.5) - Josephine Angelini





In STARCROSSED CITY, a short story prequel to the Starcrossed Trilogy by Josephine Angelini, we find out how Ajax and Daphne, "Helen's parents", meet for the first time.

What intrigued me: Having just finished the second novel of the trilogy DREAMLESS, I stumbled upon this gem and had to read it. I wasn't particularly a fan of Daphne's character in the novels, but I guess she's just written to be a very unlikeable character.

Entertaining voice and characters

In STARCROSSED CITY, Daphne is a senior in high school. The story is told from her point of view and describes her first day in a new school. The unique thing about this story is the character voice. She talks in short sentences, describing things without trying to sound fancy and just going straight to the point. I can't tell whether I should write this off as laziness on the author's side or simply count this as adding to the character of her narrator. Daphne is just as unlikeable as in the the main series, constantly thinking about how she's superior to everyone, hating everything and just being overall very overdramatic. It's equally entertaining as it is exhausting to listen to her.

However I can't deny that I really enjoyed being led through the story through Daphne's eyes. I can't really put my finger on it, but there's something cold, calculating and vulnerable in the way she talks and describes things. You can clearly recognize her in her younger self when reading this. The story itself isn't very interesting. It's your average start of a YA novel, new kid in a new school.

Over the Top?

Daphne goes through the day having to constantly tell off people that want to surround themselves with her. The effects of "The Face" seem to hit her way harder than they ever hit Helen, her daughter in the series. The way people are frantically trying to be close to Daphne just seems over the top. She makes an enemy within five seconds for absolutely no reason and I just rolled my eyes at that. Why would anyone try to physically harm a girl that they've just met?

The worst isn't even how two girls she JUST met try to physically assault her for NO REASON, the worst is her reaction and only objection:

"“Don’t, Harlow,” I plead, tears blurring my eyes. They don’t understand. Without my hair, I’ll have no way to hide my face. I’ll be exposed and it’ll just get worse."

Yes, Daphne, your face is so magical and beautiful that everyone will go completely nuts if you cut your bangs. Yup. I just.. I can't. I'm really glad that Angelini didn't decide to use Daphne as her protagonist in the series.

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I hoped that this story would be just about Ajax and Daphne, but it's more of a cute "and this is how I met your mom" story that doesn't lead anywhere.


Rating:

☆☆

The Series:

Starcrossed City (#0.5)
Dreamless (#2)
Goddess (#3)
- See more at: http://thebookavid.blogspot.de/2015/03/review-gottlich-verloren-ot-dreamless.html#sthash.DGWlrLkG.dpuf
Continue Reading...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

[Short Story Review] Homecoming (VA #6.5) - Richelle Mead (from: Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction)

What?! There's a seventh book in the series?! Yes, exactly my thought. Sadly, it isn't a full book, just a short story to be found in "Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction", which is basically an anthology including works of pretty much all popular YA Paranormal Romance writers there are right now.

In HOMECOMING, Rose and Dimitri travel back to Russia to go see his family and deliver the news that Dimitri is alive after all.

I loved meeting Olena, Victoria, Sonya and Karolina again, because I feared that they were only a plot device in BLOOD PROMISE. While I do understand how this couldn't make it into the official series, I'm kind of sad that Mead didn't decide to release a stand-alone novel. 

Back to Russia!

The Belikov family's reaction to Dimitri coming home wasn't as dramatic as I had expected. Even though Mead made them all tear up and hug him, there was just the certain spark missing. No emotion in her words. It all seemed just like she hastily wrote it down to get it over with. Mead is an excellent writer, but she's not so great with big emotions, which are essential to this plot line. Making Dimitri's grandmother Yeva an all-knowing super-witch was really unnecessary and frankly, it annoyed me a bit. It's very easy for authors to insert omniscient characters, but making them believable is a completely different thing. It doesn't make any sense why she would withhold the knowledge that's needed for her to get her grandson back as fast as possible. Yes, you might argue that she knew Rose could do it on her own, but still...?! No. I'm disappointed at how little "on-screen" time the Belikov family got in the first place.

The title suggests that this is about the Belikovs. I was looking forward to cure childhood flashbacks, lots of dialogue and maybe even a chastising for Victoria from her big brother for her Moroi shenanigans. I didn't get either of it, it's all just way to fast-paced. The characters don't have time to breathe, and what's even worse is that Mead tried to cram as many people into the story, only to have them mentioned at least once, even if their appearance didn't mean anything.

Halfheartedly Written Plot

The plot around the Blood King is flat out ridiculous. Starting with the cryptic prophecies that Dimitri's grandmother Yeva makes and ending with an Alchemist looking for help to kill a single Strigoi. Because Mead wrapped up the supposed-to-be tearful and emotional reunion in about five pages, there's nothing more to tell and she had to make up a new plot line.

Because this is a short story, I definitely have to make a note about whether you're able to understand this without having read the Vampire Academy Series. If you've read my reviews to any of the books in the series, you know that I got quite annoyed at Mead always taking up at least a chapter for summarizing what happened so far. When you're reading the entire series in a month, it may be annoying, but if some time has actually passed, this is a great idea. Mead does this again in "Homecoming" and paraphrases everything from Moroi magic to the three vampire types and their dangers.
Still, I don't think this story would appeal to anyone who has no idea what Vampire Academy is. The story is about Rose and Dimitri and filled with little nods to their relationship throughout the course of the novels. For passionate fans, it's just... d'aww. For people who have no idea who these two idiots are and why they're so grossly in love- why would you care? It's understandable in terms of plot lines, but the Romitri relationship is probably not portrayed in a way that could make someone fall in love with them who has no idea who they are. As a short story, it definitely failed.



Rating:

☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I don't really understand what "Homecoming" has to do with the topic of the anthology. Absolutely nothing, I guess. It just seems like a way to get her established audience to buy the anthology. If you look at reviews of it on Goodreads for example, every second review says I just bought this for Homecoming. And for that, it  isn't that much of a great story.

If you're a super fan like me, you obviously won't care, but looking at it realistically, this is just a remnant from the first draft of LAST SACRIFICE. To me, it is not a must-read.


Have you read HOMECOMING?


Continue Reading...
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