‘Slasher Girls & Monster Boys’ comes from April Genevieve Tucholke, who has brought together a roster of fourteen YA scribes (herself included) for the purpose of gathering us around the metaphorical campfire and telling us their best ghost stories. The result is about what you’d expect: an uneven but consistently entertaining trip through the joint imagination.
Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
There’s sabotage, scheming, and various twists enough for the bloodthirstiest and most action-hungry, and things end in a satisfying enough way to leave the future open to plenty of possibility without being too open-ended. None of it is truly new or unique (in comparison to the setting, anyway), with plenty of reliance on those familiar rehashings of the dangers of overconfidence, the importance of friends, and so on. But all of it (generally speaking) has been done before, right?
Review: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
But there comes a point where the commonplace becomes flat. It doesn’t excite. It is not “bad” or of poor quality, but rather creates a wall between the object and its audience, able to be appreciated for its theoretical strengths but not its emotional punch.
Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Flynn, though, obviously knows what she is doing, and her competence helps smooth the various hurdles that she seems so fond of tangling her readers in.
Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Its unique storytelling approach and narrative structure is interesting, but “Afterworlds” does not do enough with its eccentricities to make it truly memorable. There is a good story here, but it’s largely buried beneath another, less enjoyable one.
Review: Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
It may not be the most satisfying (or complete) of stories, but its potential is clear, and worth trying given the ease with which it can be read. I only hope that the next installment proves a bit meatier.
Review: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
It is short, yet memorable. Funny, yet challenging. What more could one need from something with such a delightfully ridiculous cover?
Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Despite its length, the pages turn quickly, and events move briskly enough to keep the occasional lull brief. Turning the commercialized Christmas season into a playground ripe for terror is no easy task, and Hill proves himself largely capable of the feat.
Review: Room by Emma Donoghue
Think of “Room” as an experiment of sorts. It isn’t a lengthy or overly demanding piece, despite the hesitant progress and rereading that comes with its opening chapters and initially distracting presentation. It is the sort of book that, regardless of one’s final opinion, will stick to the back of the consciousness for days afterward, demanding contemplation and consideration.
Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
So, though I picked this poor novel apart, I applaud Taylor for ending it all as she did. It works. It works well. She made some interesting (some may say poor, some may not) decisions, yes, but she was kind enough to bid adieu in a manner that was both expected and unexpected, bright and dark, perfect and problematic.
Review: Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
“Haunted” is not powerful. It is not poignant. It is not smart. It is simply a waste, and I regret reading it wholeheartedly.
Review: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
It is doubtful that one will truly like every piece found here, but so too is it unlikely that one will dislike them all. The important thing to note is that the highs and lows are evenly spread throughout and for the most part mild in their permutations, and should consequently ensure an engaging reading experience from beginning to end.
Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
What’s left, then, is a sequel that tries to do many things and fails at nearly all of them. It is both too self-contained to feel a proper continuation of a preexisting story and ongoing series, and too listless to work as a memorable piece of fiction in its own right. It is both too open-ended in regards to some plotlines and too conclusive when it comes to others. It presents a façade of evolution by lazily pushing forward uninteresting threads and finalizing ones that should have gone on whilst bringing the most important enigmas to a frustrating stasis.
Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
For all of that, though, “The Book Thief” is at its core a story, and it is a good one. It touched me despite its unsettling context and emotional puppetry. Zusak is an adept writer who uses words to great effect, and I love what he has done here.
Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King
“11/22/63” is not a horror story, nor a science-fiction one. It is not a thriller, nor a romance. It is a great many things, and something worth the time of King fans and general fiction readers alike.
Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
“A Dance with Dragons” is not perfect, but it is an excellent sequel nonetheless. It may be overlong. It may be overwritten. I simply cannot bring myself to care.
Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Though it ends with a (fairly ridiculous) cliffhanger, “The Magicians” isn’t near captivating enough to make it a story worth rereading or immediately following up on.
Review: The Shining by Stephen King
It’s frightening, it’s complex, and it’s a wild ride. True, the author can get bogged down in tedious descriptions and exposition, and lose the power of his subtlety with the inevitable climax of extravagance that tends to make an appearance near the end, but the plot is no less compelling because of either tendency.
Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
It is a sweet yet hard-edged tale, easy to pick up and easy to finish, and the lack of commitment makes “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” a book that every reader can pick up.
Review: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Ultimately, this is a story about the humans (those on both sides of the great mortality debate) that live in a dangerous world and how they find peace within it. There’s plenty of violence thrown in, of course, but it never feels excessive or pointless. Instead, it helps further the story and give depth to the characters and their actions.
Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
It may not be an enjoyable reading experience, but I believe that “We Need to Talk About Kevin” is an important one.
Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This is a wonderful first installment in what will likely prove to be an incredible series, and it pains me to know how relatively unknown it is at present.
Review: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
Nonetheless, it’s clear that Martin’s less-than-best still proves for entertaining and emotionally tumultuous reading, and stands as another worthy installment in one of literature’s most complex epics.
Review: A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
“A Storm of Swords” is huge, heartbreaking, and nothing if not intense. Be prepared for tragedy, and a lot of it.
Review: Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
It’s quirky, well-written, smart, witty, and emotional. It has everything that a certain other book with a rather similar name does not have.
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