Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dark Tower III

50 Book Challenge, Book #22 - The Waste Lands by Stephen King

For me, this book did not start cooking until Jake made his appearance again. And if he hadn't, I probably would've quit this series by now. Eddie and Susannah do nothing for me as characters. I like Roland, but if it had been just the three of them for ever and ever in this series... bah.

Once Jake enters again, the story just comes alive and I found myself invested again. Maybe its because I've always found that King has a talent for writing children, and Jake was interesting enough in his brief Gunslinger appearance that it's great to have him back. His escape back into Roland's world was such an incredible scene.

I really liked the stuff in the city too, even the introduction of Blaine (although I see how that is going to annoy me if it goes on too long. A pain indeed)

Just a few things that caught my attention:

- Another reference to the works of Richard Adams. Both Shardik and Watership Down this time. (King made heavy reference to Watership Down in The Stand as well. I find this interesting since that book about bunnies is a very favourite of mine)

- So we have a John Chambers (called Jake though) and an Andrew Quick. My nerd brain is turning this over a lot. lol

- I want an Oy.

Something about Wizards next I believe?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dark Tower II

50 Book Challenge, Book #21 - The Drawing of Three by Stephen King
I usually remember at least something about a book I've previously read but in this case... wow. Nada. It's pretty much like I've never read it before. Which is fine.

But I wonder if this lack of any recall is linked to why I've been... searching for what to say about it since I read it last night.

It's not that I didn't like it. I liked it well enough. But I'm still not... sold I guess. I think it's interesting that King took the oh so well worn fantasy (and western) trope of travelling and made it, weird. Not weird in a bad way mind you.

So Roland has some pretty serious problems right off the bat, and it really is only the forays into our world through the doors he discovers, that saves his life. Fine. He needs to assemble his group. All fantasy characters need a pre-destined group and even lone gunslingers need a posse now and then. Eddie's a fine character although man, his so obviously written in the 80s dialog did grate on my nerves once in awhile, but I can't hold that against the book since it was written in the 80s. I'll get over it. I'm wondering if I'm going to find the whole Odetta/Detta/Susanna thing problematic or not. Guess I'll see.

But what did I enjoy? I like Roland's bad-assedness despite everything he was going through. Detta's right, he is a mean honky mahfuh. Also... so glad the diminishing ammunition thing was addressed. Cause I've been wondering about that since the beginning of the gunslinger. It's the little things that really should be huge things that count, and I was pleased King knew this.
So... onward again.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Dark Tower begins

50 Book Challenge: Book #20 - The Gunslinger by Stephen King

First off, this is a re-read. I know I don't usually count these on this blog, but I originally read this book way back when I was 14 or 15. I still have my copy of it, so that's the one I have read (I have read a few summaries of the revisions that King made to the story later, but I'll probably have to recheck those). I read this and the next book of the Dark Tower series... and then never went on. But at this point, I remember only a little of the Gunslinger and absolutely nothing of the Drawing of Three... so it might as well be a new read.

I'm not sure why I didn't continue. I realize that in university I burnt out on Stephen King and after a few books I didn't really like that much, I read the expanded version of The Stand and then no more Stephen King till... well now. And I would not have picked this book up had it not been for Evan, Dave, Ian and a few other friends pressuring me to do so :) 

So... the Gunslinger. It starts off with an amazing opening line, and is one of the few things I remembered from way back. "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." Perfect. Just perfect. For an author who can sometimes run off at the mouth, that's a beautifully succinct opening line.

King does some great world building here. I remember wondering if this is post-apocalyptic  or alternate earth or what? Everything's just close enough but that different to make you wonder.

He does some nice high fantasy touches into this epic fantasy western. The training of the gunslingers and how they seem to live separately, the rituals of the gunslingers, and of course the demons and magic and whatnot. It actually all fits in nicely because once again, the setting is just that different from ours. 

At this point, the character of Roland is a little too stock, tough guy, knight errant type thing, but Jake is an interesting addition. I'd forgotten how affecting the story of his life and death was.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Revenge is...

Book # 19 - Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

Set in the same world as Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy, there are some overlaps, but for the most part, we are following new characters in a new part of the world.

Overall, I didn't like this one as much as the First Law Trilogy. The main character here, Monza Murcatto, a betrayed mercenary captain, and seeker of the revenge alluded to in the title of the book is a very complex, flawed and interesting character, but unlike the characters in the First Law Trilogy, she never becomes likeable. 

In this book we don't have a sublime character like Logen Ninefingers who should be so incredibly unlikeable, but you end up liking him all the same. I started out feeling that way about Shivers ( a familiar face from the Trilogy), but poor Shivers is changed so much and instead of feeling sympathy for him, I just end up not liking him.

In fact, I think he did the best here in rehabilitating Nicomo Cosca, Murcatto's former boss and another familiar face. It was actually really nice to see Cosca, who was such fun in the Trilogy, restored to something of his former glory. And really, he was the only injection of humour in this book.

Which makes me wonder if I didn't like this book as much because it's missing the dark humour so prevalent in the other books. 

By the time Murcatto got to the end of her revenge, I was about as ready for her to be done as she was.

All that being said though, I do really like this world that Abercrombie has created and will gladly go back for more.