Even though I was 2 years old in 1960 (the year in which Summer of Night is set), I found Simmons evocation of the summer vacations we baby-boomers enjoyed markedly similar to those we experienced in Texas during the 1960's. I think that, as children, we were able to enjoy the simplicity of those years in a way that people of other generations could not. We hung between the past and the future: we still played the games our parents did as children but the Space Age and the Beatles promised us futures filled with amazing, undreamed of lives to come.
Dan John Miller gives this book it's due. His ability to slip into a variety of characters of different gender, background and age is marvelous. He never gives the sense that this is his first time to see the book, the way some performers do. And when the text describes a character as coughing or laughing while speaking, etc., he does it in a most natural way, which can be difficult for some to do without being awkward.
Oh, Summer of Night is definitely a horror book. It is scary, scary, scary. But much of what makes it so effective are Simmons' characterizations, his almost poetic descriptions and the ability to twist several elements of horror stories into something completely new. It really can appeal to quite a large number of diverse readers.
Simmons immerses the reader into the setting of that summer in 1960 Illinois with his almost hypnotic use of prose. I felt that I could almost feel the summer heat, crawling up hot rocks barefoot, splashing into the local swimming hole and riding my bicycle over dusty, unpaved roads. He provides us with the atmosphere of iced lemonade, nights on front porch swings under yellow outdoor lights and the the ever-present song of summer insects such as cicadas and crickets. And, most importantly, the tightly bound friendships that children believe will last forever.
I want to take one paragraph to touch on the characters in the book. It is so easy to view them as real people that you might discover yourself loving some and hating some, and wishing you could have been there to help them. I am reading a book right now, Children of the Night, in which one of the boys plays a major role. It was delightful to see him as a grown up. I hope we get to see more.
scary, fun, and exciting.
Dan John Miller is one of my favorite readers, and this story read by him is no acception.
This was really a good book.
If you grew up in the 50s, 60s this will take you back to your childhood.
My favorite book like this was Stephen King's, it.
Summer of Night came close but not quite.
Nevertheless read this one. You won't be sorry.
Willy Wonka of it
I did not read the print version, so I cannot say. I will say that I prefer audio books to reading.
There's a sad scene where one of the little ones goes down.
An excellent reader who conveys emotion and tone very well.
I was a bit sad at the loss of some life, but overall it was a good read/listen. I wish we'd gotten a bit more after things were all said and done.
A very good standalone story. It was long, but pretty worthwhile. The story could have been shorter, but at one point the mystery got stalled and had to start over. Those parts of the book were harder to get through, but overall it was a good one.
Dan John Miller made this book come to life for me. It is well written and well read. Has hints of Stephen King's Stand by Me and Robert McCammon's Boy's Life with plenty of suspense and horror thrown in. I would highly recommend this book!
The story is actually not bad and could certainly make for a great book. What it needs is a good editor to trim the excess fat. At over 500 pages (or 22 hrs.) the story becomes bloated and rambling at times. With a good editor this could have been 4 or 5 stars. As it stands, I have given it 3 stars, but much of it only deserves 2.
BEWARE of the reviews likening this work to some of Stephen King's. That said, though, it is possible that the audiobook would have been a success if the narrator had had the skills necessary to the task. I dislike trashing a narrator (and Miller would be just fine in other contexts), but the voicings of the kids (around whom the story revolves, after all) are really bad, and Miller reads tense, threatening situations almost as though he's narrating "Wind in the Willows." Pay attention to the Sample and realize that that tone will obtain even when the storyline has turned to the dark, ominous, threatening. The non-fit of tone to content and the sheer fakiness of the the kids' voices were more horrific than the story. (Note, though, that I listened to "only" the first 7 hours. After that I had to give up.) (By the way, I loved the Hyperion series and The Terror.)
Normally I love extra long books, but this one really didn't need to be in my opinion. Lots of drawn out smaller stories that really didn't add anything to the story.
I also never really connected with any of the characters and didn't have much concern for their welfare.
if you are like me you quickly burn through your favorite authors on audible and then have to mine for a nugget , this isnt one but it is flecked , alot of other reviews compare it to stand by me , but that is not right it is closer to IT than SBM and closer to the goonies than Salems lot I like alot about this book except I cannot for the life of me think why Dan simmons spent so much time describing how brilliant the fat kids father was, together the son and father invented everything except the ipod 50 years ago , but it is still worth alisten if you have the credits and hours to burn.
First to be fair, I stopped listening half way through the first of the 3 chapter breaks so if what I didn't like somehow changed, I'd be surprised. Regardless of what was going on at any given moment of the plot, Simmons doesn't convey any sense of dread or horror even during the "scary parts". The comparisons to King's Stand By Me or IT are warranted and would have been fine had it not been such at labored attempt at recreating the same vibe as those stories. For example, MUCH too much time dwelling on the details of a baseball game and the neighborhood kids to draw out that sense of camaraderie was really painful. That's when I called it quits. Disappointed. Right now, even though I feel I've drained all my options for horror fiction, I won't be going back to finish this. If the story is good it's still a huge bore because it simply isn't scary. The narration doesn't help but it's not all his fault. There is an art to horror that I'm afraid so many modern writers don't get.