Saturday, March 26, 2016

Reader's Review - Kenneth Kit Lamug (The Stumps on Falttop Hill)

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When asked, if I wanted to write a review of a childrens book, I must admit, I was a bit skeptical. Usually I only write reviews of book written for adults. But Kenneth Kit Lamug managed to convinced me with arguments like: “It's only 40 pages long”, “It's a horror story for children” and “You will be able to read it in no time”. Although he wasn't telling a lie, he didn't tell me the whole truth. Let's look at the book…

It's only 40 pages long”…
Actually it's 41 pages, if you count the front-page in. Half of the book is text, while the other half holds illustrations, according to the text. At first glance, I didn't like the illustrations, but after I'd studied them a little closer, I have to admit, that they complements the story just perfect. Every picture has been drawn in black and brown. The drawing style made me think of wood-carving, and I suppose that was the authors intention too.
The text was a big surprise to me. It was written in verses. I'm very fond of poesy and I really enjoyed the reading. The text was well composed and very captivating.

It's a horror story for children”…
How scary can it be. Really? Quite a lot, actually! In fact, 'The Stumps on Flattop Hill' can be as scary as your imagination allows you to. This book holds several layers. Obvious the first layer is the story the children hear (Some might be really frightened. If you are a parent, prepare to spend several nights, sleeping with your small ones). But the next layers are definitely not for children. This story holds real horror. There's a story behind, that demands to be written – and it should be. It deserves it.

You will be able to read it in no time”…
Yeah, right. Although the story was short, I have to admit that I went back and read it over and over again. I enjoyed it every time – and I'm not done yet. Right now I'm reading 'Game of Thrones' volume 4. It's a heavy book – over 800 pages long. The saga is really well written, but I have to admit: After three or four pages, I'm sound asleep. 'The Stumps on Flattop Hill' might seem small, but this damn book was able to keep me awake, long after I turned the last page.

'The Stumps on Flattop Hill' is a true horror story – and it will haunt you long after the lights have been turned off and the darkness have consumed your room.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Reader's Review - Stephen King (Insomnia)

I've read a lot of books. They've brought me far away to the land of imagination. I can mention quite a few authors, I really appreciate, but I can't name a single writer, who's comparable to Stephen King. Every time I open one of his books, it feels like coming home. He's writing style is so superior and yet so simple. Each time I read one of his books, I can't help but thinking: 'Why can't I come up with something like this?' The cruel fact is: Stephen King's got the talent. I don't.

This time I've read 'Insomnia' by Stephen King, and I really enjoyed it. The story was as usual well-written, exiting and interesting but not without some obstacles. Let me explain why.

The story was well-written, because Stephen King doesn't write a story. He's telling a story. Just as if he was sitting in front of you, in your favorite reading chair. He's vocabulary is simple, yet varying and he's actually making people in the story talk. He doesn't quote them.

Now, let's talk a little about the quality of the story. I believe I found it exciting, because the action takes place in a common town – it could be yours or mine. Because most of the story takes place in a small area of this town, it becomes just like our own neighborhood – the park, the shops, the streets and all the different types of persons living there. 'Insomnia' is like an adventure in your own backyard… almost. And this brings me to the less flattering part of my review.

I really loved the thought of being able to see other peoples aura. In fact I began to examine the subject and tried to practice, whenever I had a chance. I don't know if I succeeded. Maybe I'm able to see a vague grayish aura, but the bright colors? Nah… I don't think so. Never mind. The story was pretty catching so far, but at some point Stephen King introduced the ability to travel between the physical plane and the spiritual planes. That's were the story lost me. Things became too abstract and weird for my taste. There's a thin line between the moment, when the supernatural stuff becomes interesting and scary and when it becomes comical. I wouldn't say, that Stephen King crossed that line, but it was a close call.

'Insomnia' is far from being one of Stephen King's greatest books, but it is better than OK. And one thing that brings the book above the average is the ending. I might be wrong, but I don't recall having read an ending like this since 'The Green Mile'. It's a very emotional and touching ending – very unlike Stephen King's usually hardcore writing style – and it leaves me with a warm feeling. And that can't be bad after all… can it?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Reader's review - William Hope hodgson (The Night Land)

I don't think I've ever wrote a review like this. In fact, I'm glad that the author is dead log time ago, because what I have to say would surely hurt his feelings.

This book is crap. I hate everything about this book. And yes, I've read the book all the way to the end, although I felt it was a waste of precious time. This book has nothing to offer.

The storyline is simple. One could almost claim it don't exist. In shot terms, the story's about a man who lost his loved one. Years after this tragic incident, we find our protagonist living in a huge pyramid with the rest of mankind. The sun has burned out (how it happened and how they was able to survive remains an unexplained mystery), and outside this pyramid everything is a wasteland, populated with monsters an animals. One day our protagonist receives a message, indicating that his loved one is alive in another body. Obsessed with the thought, he journey out in the wilderness to save his girl. And that's almost all there is to the story.

The writing style is hopeless beyond what's acceptable. A schoolkid could do better. William Hope Hodgson repeats himself time and time again, and his vocabularies seems confined to the most basic words. He is not able to tell the story, even though it is simple and uncomplicated with no twists whatsoever. Most of the story describes our protagonist's journey in the wasteland, but the author managed to destroy even the slightest excitement, that might have been. The story ends up like a log, measuring how many hours of sleep he get, how much he ate and drank and how far he traveled so far. It's unbearable.

Our protagonist seems to suffer from the delusion, that he's outstanding in every aspect, and he don't miss any opportunities to praise his own abilities and wit. But what makes the protagonist completely unacceptable is his view of women. William Hope Hodgson describes (not too good either) how our main character beats and whips his girlfriend whenever she's seem to appear too willful and self-confident. This protagonist is a poor excuse of a man, and don't appear heroic in any way.

This book was published in 1912, and if it reflects how women was treated I general, I'm sure glad that I didn't live to see that.