This is collection could best be described as mediocrity punctuated by moments of complete brilliance.
I'd argue with the "Stephen King hasn't used the horror genre since the 80s" review; it's simply not true, and there are some pretty scary moments in this collection. Though you'd be right not to expect a horror fest; this collection is eclectic.
While even the least of King's stories are worth the time to read, I found some of these - such as Gingerbread Girl - to be generally underwhelming.
Others, however, such as "N," are some of his best short-story work. Seriously, the jacket price is worth it for "N" alone.
There are 669 characters in this review. 684 is better.
It reads as if it was written by an enthusiastic 19-year-old and read by one of his drama club buddies.
The main character is nigh invincible, exceptional in almost every way, and driven by clichés. It's a reasonably entertaining premise that just gets beaten to death by a lack of subtlety.
The book is good, if a little unsatisfying to read if you're not familiar with the Dark Tower series. It's no The Shining, but it's no Gerald's Game either.
The narration is pretty decent. The narrator's dialect is strongish but not distracting, and lively enough to keep you interested while still being able to clearly distinguish characters.
But the music... ack. The music was designed by somebody who hates you and definitely does NOT want you to enjoy this book.
At least, that's how it felt. Each chapter's end is heralded by horrible, discordant sounds that overwhelm the narrator's voice and make you want to yank your headphones out of your ears. It's as if they handed a bear a synthesizer and said "have fun!"
It doesn't enhance the ambience of the book. It doesn't relate, in some artistic way, to the story line. It doesn't do anything except make you wince and roll your eyes. It's like waterboarding for your ears.
If I seem to be going overboard with this, it's because it's THAT offensive, and made even more so by the fact that without it, the book would be pretty darn good.
The harrowing tale of a prissy grad student following a the five hundred-year old journey of a group of monks to the lair of a demonic... printing-press operator.
The concept - Bram Stoker's Dracula meets The Da Vinci Code - was novel enough to get through the first couple of hours. But by the time the protagonist gets to the 47th library, you may begin to wonder if "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" might not have been a scarier, more thrilling audiobook.
The book is well-read, though - one of those rare ones that employs different readers to do different character voices. Unusual, and it takes a bit of getting used to, but effective overall.
My complaint about the story is that it relies heavily on the non-existant thrill of fictitious archives and records of folks songs. The music goes all creepy and "dum de dum dum!" over the most minor plot twist, such as somebody rifling through the protagonist's documents, as if they were hunting white-collar criminals instead of blood-drinking undead. Almost all of the major characters are idealized, pompous, and inaccessible.
But then again, I thought the Da Vinci Code was bad, too, and the rest of the free world seems to think Dan Brown is a god, so what do I know?
This one is okay; typical of the Pendergast continuing storyline fare of the last couple of books in the series.
The authors are becoming increasingly fond of unnecessary references to obscure knowledge. It's as if they got lifetime subscriptions to Food & Wine, Popular Mechanics, and Guns & Ammo and are desperate to show how well-read they are.
In addition to the constant unnecessary details about food, gun specs, etc, the tech has a Scooby-Doo feel.
"Jinkies! Old man Diogenes put holographic projectors here, and here, and hid the laser beams over there! "
If they'd just tone it down a bit... or if the narrator would stop speaking any word in a foreign language -- of which there are, for no apparent reason, many -- with campy flourish, this book might have avoided triggering my eye-rolling reflex long enough for me to enjoy it more.
The story is great - typical Moore.
Narration by That Guy From Short Circuit was pretty good, too.
But whoever picked that porn soundtrack/elevator music hybrid that inexplicably blares between chapters should be shot.
And then kicked.
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