Monday, 6 December 2010

Book Review - Carrie


Carrie by Stephen King has to be the most terrifying horror novel I have ever read. No, I didn't read this at night, under the cover of my duvets with a torch, listening to the silent house around me. Well, I did, but that's not why it's scary.

Let me pose a question you, dear reader: have you ever known someone who has been picked on? Of course, we're all bullied or made fun of at some point on our jolly course of life, but have you ever known someone who has been picked on so much that they seem to be the target of every prank? Have you ever known someone who's been jeered and scorned at simply for being different from everyone else? Not just a little bit different, but weird different. Has that person endured such horrid things like having their heads stuck down toilets, been tripped up in the corridor, the "Kick Me" sign on their back or the piece of gum on thier cheek? Have you ever done something to that person, something that makes you feel secretly guilty, like laugh at a mean joke directed towards them?

Nope, me neither.

But if you do know someone like that (school, work, whatever), you will immediately recognise Carrie (the titular protagonist) as being the laughing stock of not just her school, but her whole town. Daughter of an abusive, religious extremist who doesn't even tell her what a period is, Carrie suffers so much torment she eventually develops the supernatural talent of telekinesis (I surely don't need to remind anyone what that is). One day, she's invited to the school prom out of pity. She's delighted, of course. Little does she know that a humlitating prank is waiting for her there. This prank pushes her over the edge. And all hell breaks loose...

*gulp* She's gonna make us hurt, ain't she?

This novel is exceptional in so many ways. First of all, most debut novels normally feature a protagonist the same sex as the author. You know, cos it's easier that way. :P Carrie, as a female protagonist, was not only written well but whilst reading it, I was seriously convinced she was written by a woman. Only partly though. It still has King's style, which gives it away but is nonetheless very impressive. Or maybe his wife wrote it for him. I dunno...

Second, the idea of a regulary teased individual being driven over the edge is not farfetched. That's what makes it so frightening. Sure, the telekinesis is unlikely. But anyone can get hold of a weapon of some kind. Makes you think, doesn't it? And this has happened before. So you better think twice before you join in on a prank being played on somone who's treated like poo by all their peers.

And third, the build-up to the climax is perfect. It is so well done that when it comes, you're like "yeah, I knew it was coming but sh*t, I didn't expect that!" The pieces and clues are put together in the narrative almost in a scrap-book sort of way, making it seem almost like it really did happen. This, all the more, makes it creepier.

The character psychology is also pretty damn decent. You understand why they do what they do, making you feel a fiery hatred or an extreme pity towards them. Surprisingly, none of the characters, despite being in a typical American "high school" setting, weren't the normal stereotypes you'd expect to find. Except maybe Christine, who's the typical spoilt princess/cheerleader/shallow type of girl you'd just love to stab with a very... blunt... spoon...

"MY DADDY'S A LAWYER!! I'M GONNA SUE YOU SH*TLESS!! I WANNA A PONY!! GIVE ME A PONY, NOW!!"

Okay, maybe she's a bit old for ponies, but still, pretty stenciled if you ask me.

Other than that, I have no solid criticisms. Some people complain (I think they do anyway) that the book is too short, whilst works like It and The Shining are longer and therefore better. Bullcrap! The book's length is perfect. If it was any longer, the story would've dragged. Remember kids: quality not quantity.

Overall, Carrie is a chilling read and a deserves a very solid:

A

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Book Review – Changeling


Well, it has been a long time, hasn’t it? But, never fear, the Writer is here! Tonight’s review will be for a book named Changeling, by Steve Feasey (get it, faeces, lol), published in 2008. This book is a first in a series of a trilogy, so far, based around this kid called Trey Leporte, a kid who’s actually a werewolf who basically meets this vampire who tells him who he is, falls in love with the blood-sucker’s daughter, is hunted by demons, etc, etc. It sounds like a clich├ęd plot, and to some extent, it is. I would go as far to say that this is kind of an effort to fit in with the current “dark romance” trend that’s invading bookstores, but doing it in a boy’s point of view. That’s probably why it’s nothing ground-breaking.

The main character here is Trey, a kid who lives at an orphanage and wakes up one day to find his room completely ruined. (Legasp!) He thinks it is burglars, but it’s fairly obvious it’s him who’s become a werewolf during the night and... Oh, you’ll know what I mean when you read it. Then, we have Lucien Charron, a vampire who comes and collects him from the orphanage. Is it me or all head vampires called Lucien? Oh no, wait, that’s lycans! (Underworld reference, FTW!) But it’s nice to see that werewolves and vampires aren’t at each other’s throats for a change. But wait! The main baddie is Lucien’s brother, an evil vampire, who we don’t meet until the last chapter and he looks uncannily like Nosferatu . o.0

So, good bits: very strong beginning, it had me hooked from the first sentence. :D Straight to the point as well, which I always like in a book. If it just drags on and on, then I just lose interest. The action was okay, like the fight in the London Underground (oh no – spoilers!!) and the overall idea was kind of creative, certainly with today’s market. However, Steve Faeces (whoops, I mean... Feasey) kind of lost heart in the middle of it. I mean, the story slowed down considerably and got a little boring after the middle of the book. He must’ve got writer’s block, couldn’t be bothered to finish it, so sort of rushed the ending a little.

Unputdownable? Not really. I have to be honest. It’s okay, but it isn’t great. I’ll give it a grade of about:

D


That’s all from me, until next time we meet: adieu!

~The Writer

Friday, 1 January 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :D

Hi, all, hope you've had a good Crhistmas/Hunaka/Eid or whichever holiday you celebrated.

Wow, 2009 has come and gone so fast. And now we are in a new decade. (Whoop!) Let's hope this year is better than the last. :) So what are people's new year resolutions? My main one is get to university. But since that's not really a personal imporvement, I guess that doesn't really count. Well, I hope to finish my novel I have been wrting since June 2007, get it published and you all can read it.

Hope you have a fantastic year and I wish you all the best!

~The Writer