20 January 2012

Review Request

Just in case anyone was wondering, yes I will do read requests. I was indeed asked to read a title, by the author himself. John Michael Cummings sent me a request, through my Drood review, to read a title called Ugly To Start With, a collection of short stories. I did reply, though rather late, and was unable to reach the author. I will, however, check the title at my local library. If I can find it, the title shall be read and reviewed.

Please, if you, my dear Readers, have any titles you'd like reviewed, please send me a message. Thank you for reading.

18 January 2012

Promises To Keep by Charles De Lint

Promises To Keep --5 Stars

All right, so I'm partial. I love Charles De Lint!! His novels always take me to a new place, a new adventure. In this case, my favourite character, Jilly Coopercorn, is in her early twenties. She has only just cleaned up her life and is attending Butler University, studying Fine Art. Jilly is given an invitation to see a band preform and so walks through a doorway to an afterlife.

I say "an afterlife" because, as the book says, there could be several. Jilly is given everything she was denied in her life. She is safe, has money, no one is wanting to pimp her out for cash... In short its the perfect life. The only problem is that she feels she's in the wrong place. She is making a life in Newford and wants to earn her happiness, not have it simply handed to her.

Problems really start when Jilly is told she can't home to the "World As It Is". Since she accepted the wealth offered, she has to stay. Jilly wants to go home. But how?

Beautifully written. This is a recent novel, but tells the early history of a character that I have grown to care very much about. I have loved Jilly since I first read of her in The Ivory and The Horn. Of course that was the De Lint novel that started this whole Newford obsession. When compared to the other book I finished that day, this one was a joy! And yes, I read all 192 pages in a single day. I couldn't stop myself. 

The Phantom Of The Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom Of The Opera -- 1 Star

All right, I have seen the film starring Gerard Butler and listed to the same sound track a hundred times. I do enjoy the story... on stage! The novel, however, was a chore to get through. Christine is a tease, as we would say today. She strings poor Raoul along and leaves him hanging any number of times. The dialog is excrement! And I was left sorry I even started the book in the first place.

This book was on my reading list, and I've had it on my shelf for some time. I should have left it that way. I just could not believe such a renown novel could be so lousy! Honestly, it felt like a French version of Gone With The Wind. I had to speed read to get through this.

15 January 2012

Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino

Grotesque -- 3.5 Stars

This is the first novel by this author that I have read and I was left feeling unsure about the book as a whole. Written in Japanese surrealist style, the novel follows one woman through her life and how she reacts to a world where she is merely average yet her younger sister is a monstrous beauty. The focus is on the time spent in high school and then middle age.

When her sister and a school mate are both murdered, the unnamed protagonist goes back through her memory and explores the past they all shared. There are two journals and one confession that we are given to read to gain further insight into this world of prostitution, murder and money. Spanning well over thirty years, this book has a lot of detail but it doesn't really go anywhere.

I do enjoy Japanese surrealism, but not this book. It was average in almost every way. The way the story kept flipping from one view to the next was uninspired. The protagonist is a malicious whiner, not a character I attach to or care about.

This is book number one in my list of novels left on my shelf for longer then one year.