Fun, quick read about the early (very early) days in the life of Death, son of Satan and Sin. The author doesn't commit to the dark humor or irreverence this subject deserves (see Glen Duncan's "I, Lucifer" for the former and Christopher Moore's "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" for the latter). The book is at its best when history meets religion, weakest when it tries to humanize mythic beings. There are some great one-liners as well, my favorite being the description of Oscar Wilde's hell
1) Actually a reread but Goodreads has simple way of recording that 2) Not true Southern Gothic because it doesn't take place in the South, but it has all the key points of Southern Gothic and theses are myshelves and I will mark them like I want them.
This is a the rare horror story that gets better after the first reading, when you know all the twists, because they become more twisted with each reading. Also, once you know what is coming, you can focus on the very complicated characters that Tryon created, again something you'll find only in the best horror.
Once again, Boyne shows that his skill as a storyteller lies in his ability to put flesh and blood on historical events and his weakness is you have to take some leaps of faith to stay inside the story. He does a great job with a V shaped time line, one moving backward and one moving forward until they meet at the denouement that will surprise no one, but is still a well earned ending.
Fascinating information about a bit of American history that I didn't know enough about. The book begs for a better editor, someone who would have had the author arrange the book in a less repetitive way, maybe even cutting out a few of the narratives of the people who lived through the dark (literally) times. Even with the clunky writing, I'm giving this four stars because it did what nonfiction is supposed to do - inform.
Love the time period, really liked the hero, but the Perils of Pauline arch villains cast touch of silliness over the whole book. Not as interesting in any way as book 1 of the series, but I will plod on because I will put up with mediocrity to read the historical trivia laden story about an archer.
Audiobook read by Michael Maloney) - This is one book that is going to stay with me for quite awhile. It's not very long, but it packs an emotional wallop. At the center of the story is Bruno, a nine year old boy adjusting to his family relocating for his father's new job. Many critics and blurbs for this book think that to mention anything more specific spoils what is supposed to be a slow reveal of where Bruno is living, but honestly, if you don't guess the location and what his father's job is when the boy first mispronounces the name, you're just not paying attention. Michael Maloney's reading of the story put me off at first, sounding as if this were a child's story rather than a story from a child's point of view, but once the implications of what Bruno and his family are a part of, that voice is all that keeps you hoping for a happy ending.
I'm being very generous with 2 stars, but the book does have an interesting setting and with a good setting I can wade through a lot of bad plotting and shallow characters. And that's what this book has - a silly plot that never quite makes sense and characters who get too many paragraphs for what little they have to do with the boring "mystery". The world building is good, everything else is bad.
A coming of age historical fiction set during the siege of Leningrad (late 1941). Lev, the young man (who we know lives through his ordeal because the story is framed as him telling the story as an oral history to his grandson), is arrested by the Russian NKVD for looting, but instead of being executed, he's teamed up with diserter Kolya to achieve what would seem to be impossible at that point in time: find one dozen eggs to be used for the Colonel's daughter's wedding cake. During their quest, they meet, work with and against the best and worst of a city trying to survive. Kolya is the eternal optimist, perhaps a too perfect of match for Lev's naive feeling of eternal doom. When a pretty young sharpshooter is introduced to the story, the focus of the story takes an unfortunate (but great for a Benioff screenplay) turn from survival to falling in love, but in the end, everything's pretty much what you'd been expecting. There are no surprise twists, just a good, basic war time story.
As a narrator, Ron Perlman is an actor. What that means is that when he's doing dialog, it's an engrossing story. When he's reading actual narrative, his voice is flat and dull. That makes the beginning of the book very hard to get through, and it's what makes this a three star rather than a four star book.
A fascinating concept of "vampires" that feed on violent acts and are able to bend the will of most of the rest of the human population through a sort of parasitical mind control if they choose. Now, blend in that there's a sort of war going on among the vampires, and that they can't always identify each other and that they truly believe that they are a superior being compared to the people they use, and you've got the making of a very good thriller-horror-fantasy story. Simmons' uses his creatures to explain some real historical events that have evoked the "how could that happen?" question, such as Hitler's rise to power and how some Hollywood movies get made.
However, this book is a case of too much of a good thing. It really should have been two books. In fact, it reads like two books with a huge final act battle scene right in the very middle, then going back to suspense building narrative. It takes a LOT of characters to support a book this long, and although Simmons' does an a good job of labeling chapters so that you know who's POV you're switching to, a story shouldn't need a road map to keep you from getting lost.