Let me preface this with an admission: I am a Catholic, a practicing one, and I believe that the possibility of possession exists. That being said, I also believe the stories in this book are just that...stories. While possession by demonic forces is possible and has happened, I also believe that such cases are extremely rare and the vast majority can be explained by mental illness or deception.
As for Ed and Lorraine Warren, theirs may certainly be a case of chalatanism but I'm not convinced of this, at least not in all cases. It is possible that they began their career with the belief that they bore some esoteric gift for discerning demonic forces and that they could use this gift to help free people under the influence of such forces. This would certainly predispose them to see supernatural forces at work in what were, in fact, mundane events.
However, while they may have begun career with wide-eyed naivete, at some point they must have either seen the reality of the situation or else were so truly deluded as to see themselves as modern day crusaders in a personal army at war with Satan. If the first is true, then they are charlatans worthy of our scorn. If the second is true, then they are mentally unstable people worthy of our pity.
At one point in the book, Ed Warren asks a demon to describe himself. The demon says, and I am quoting:
"I have a horrible face, I have much gross hair on my body. My eyes are deep sunk. I am black all over. I am burnt. I grow hair. My nails are long, my toes are clawed. I have a tail. I use a spear."
This is such a cartoonish description of a demon, like something pulled straight from the pages of a cheap pulp or comic book. If Ed Warren truly believes such things, then he must truly be naive and simple of mind. Unfortunately though, he is more likely just giving us a portrait of the devil quite prominent in the 1970's and thus playing to the gullibility of the masses.
I bought this book after watching The Conjuring, whichis a great haunted house tale and succeeds as a horror movie. The main characters are Ed and Lorraine Warren and I wanted to get an idea of who these people were, or at least who they claimed to be. Unless you are similarly curious though, I would skip this book. It is wholly unbelievable.
While H.P. Lovecraft is primarily know as a horror, or weird fiction, author, I would place "The Shadow Out of Time" squarely in the realm of science fiction. If you enjoy Lovecraft's work, as I do, then this will be right up your alley. For those unfamiliar with the author, this is not the ideal starting point for discovering his large body of work. I would suggest starting with "The Call of Cthulhu" and then moving on to some stories with a more traditional setup, perhaps "The Dunwich Horror" or " The Shadow Over Innsmouth."
In believe "The Shadow Out of Time," "The Colour Out of Space," and "At the Mountains of Madness" to be Lovecraft's masterpieces. Thus, I would save them for later, both to ensure that you get a proper basis in the Mythos before reading them and to save the best for last.
This book is mediocre in every way. The characters are without nuance and completely two dimensional. Every good guy is completely good and bad guy, completely bad. The narrator, while adequate, becomes grating when performing the parts of the teenage girls, especially the character of Beth. The story itself was okay. I made it through the entire book, though never listening with bated breath. I can't recommend this book but, at the price I paid, it wasn't a complete rip-off.
I must say that when I first read the synopsis for Everlost I wasn't sure it would be in my literary wheelhouse. All this talk of "bands of lost children" brought visions of children's literature à J.M. Barry. Turns out, it is much deeper and multi-layered than I could ever have guessed.
My nieces and nephews have me on a YA fiction reading marathon and I loved Shusterman's "Unwind" books so much that I wanted to try out some more of his works. I found "Everlost" to be a creative take on the afterlife theme with the various factions of rogues (both obvious and clandestine) and heroes vying for control of the hearts and minds of its departed minors.
I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series and recommend it to any YA fan.
I have nieces and nephews in the 13-20 years old range that have been raving about the YA novels they read for a few years now. So, recently, I have begun trying them out and I have to admit that some are very good and Unwind is among the best. I would give it 4.5 stars if it was allowed.
Among the various dystopian trials and tribulations thrust upon the protagonists of YA fiction, being unwound has to be the most harrowing. In practically all novels of this genre young people face a daunting future that will require a Herculean effort to overcome. But, while death is ever-present in all of these scenarios, at least when a character dies, he is dead.
Not so in the world of "Unwind." In this world an agreement has been reached, after a sort of pro-life/pro-abortion conflict, that makes abortion illegal but allows parents the right to unwind their children between the ages of 13-18. Unwinding is a process by which a person's body is disassembled system-by-system, organ-by-organ, and over 99% of their parts are then transplanted, grafted, etc. into other people who need them. This allows the unwound person to remain alive in a divided state. And they do remain alive (at least in a way) as becomes obvious when we meet a character who has received the frontal lobe of an unwound teen and the consciousness of the unwound frontal lobe takes over from time-to-time.
"Unwind" follows a group of teens set to be unwound, for various different reasons, as they try, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to avoid the authorities and remain alive in a whole state. Shusterman developed a great idea with "Unwind" and has penned a great story in which to carry it out.
I have always been a huge fan of the horror genre--be it book, film, or tv--but good horror, especially good horror literature, can be hard to find. When it comes to film, there are horror movies that are so bad they're good. This does not hold true for horror novels. Bad horror novels are just bad, they cannot be redeemed.
Luckily, The Troop is one of those rare finds, a horror novel that entertains and terrifies from beginning to end. Cutter's description of the adolescent state of mind, their hopes, fears, insecurities, etc., is perhaps the best I've read since "It" or "The Body." And Corey Brill does a great job narrating the story and giving each boy his own voice.
I recommend this novel to any horror fan. It's a gory mess from the first to last...and I mean that in the best way.
This is, by far, the best YA book I've encountered. I've seen it compared to Divergent, a society with stratified classes each serving a specific purpose, but the similarities end there. Divergent is as far from Red Rising as Plan 9 from Outerspace is from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The complexity of story and characters that Brown has created makes it difficult to pigeon-hole Red Rising as a YA fiction. It is simply a great novel that can be appreciated by anyone of any age. It avoids the angst filled love story, ever present in YA fiction, and instead focuses on the inner turmoil of a young man born into near slavery who has a chance to save his class and his society from the tyrannic rule of a master race.
Brown has penned a novel that transcends genre and should be read by all.
"Pines" works well as the starting point for the Wayward Pines series. I would have actually given it a 3.5 were the option available plus, the book is an entertaining read on its own.
In "Pines,"We are introducted to Ethan Burke, the story's protagonist, as he awakes in the hospital, delirious and confused, in the town of Wayward Pines. As his memories slowly return, we learn that Ethan is a special agent in the Secret Service and has come to town in order to investigate the disappearance of two of his fellow agents a month earlier. But something is off in Wayward Pines. Speakers hidden in bushes play the sound of crickets chirping. All food is sold fresh, nothing pre-packaged. And most disturbing, an electrified fence encircles the town trapping everyone within its borders...or perhaps keeping something else out. And for some reason the people of Wayward Pines seem to be conspiring against Ethan, seemingly in an effort to drive him mad. Or, perhaps he is simply a paranoid delusional personality?
"Pines" is certainly worth a credit if no other reason than it is necessary in order the read its fantastic sequel, "Wayward." As I said, the book is an entertaining enough on its own but the follow-up is certainly superior. Read this...so you can read that.
Companion books for PBS documentaries are often utilized more as decorative pieces for a coffee table rather than books to be read cover-to-cover. I remember a friend whose parents had the companion book for Ken Burns' The Civil War and thumbing through it when I was in high school. It was a beautiful book with great pictures but I don't think I ever read an entire page of the text.
I'm glad I took the plunge with this companion book. Maslon and Kantor have done a great job presenting a concise overview of the history of comics publishing in the United States. Both informative and entertaining, the book tells the story of superhero comics from their antecedents in the pulps of the early 1930's all the way through the current DC and Marvel Universes and the creator owned imprints.
As some have stated in Amazon reviews, there are a few discrepancies concerning the exact dates of origin for some creations. And no, it does not delve into all the smaller publishing houses that have produced superhero comics. This really doesn't detract from the book's overall effect though. You can't cover every aspect of the history of superhero comics in 300 pages and that is not what the authors intended to do.
For someone with Ph.D. level knowledge of comic history, "Superheroes!" will not offer any information you do not already know. For fans whose experience only stretches as far back as when they began reading comics, and for those with little to no knowledge of comic books at all though, it provides a great overview in an entertaining fashion that will hopefully spark further investigation of this thoroughly fascinating literary form.
This is one of the top 5 Audible books I have read/listened to. Wouk does a masterful job of creating fully realized characters who are geographically positioned in such a way that we are offered an almost comprehensive view of the years leading to the outbreak of World War II in both the West and the East. The only aspect that we are not privy to is that of the Sino-Japanese front.
The majority of the story is told through the eyes of the Henry and Jastrow families. The patriarch of the Henry family, Victor, is a high-ranking Naval officer and is thus able to traverse the globe in his military duties from Germany to Washington to London, the Soviet Union and Hawaii and so offer the reader a glimpse of the unique situation in each of these locales from 1938-1942. In addition, his son, Byron, and the Jastrow family give us an eyewitness account of both Italy under Mussolini and the outbreak of the war in Poland. And the Jastrow's also offer a Jewish point-of-view of the series of events leading up to World War II and the beginnings of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.
Between sections of the main narrative, Wouk also adds excerpts of a book he titles "World Holocaust" which was written by the fictional General Armin von Roon, a Wehrmacht officer, and translated by Victor Henry. These excerpts give the battlefield conditions of each theater of operations as we progress through the years of World War II. It is a brilliant device that ties the story of the main characters and their narrow scope of events to the broad, global scope of the war that threatens the entire globe.
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.
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