Thursday, May 29, 2008

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere by Mike Carey & Glenn Fabry

When I saw that Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere was being turned into a graphic novel, I had to see it for myself, so I hunted it down at Christmas (even though I've just read it cover to cover now, five months later).

It's been years since I've read the book Neverwhere, but I remember it was a very warped Alice Through the Looking Glass. So basically, I don't remember many particulars of the book--just the basic plot (and thinking that I wish I'd read Neverwhere before I read American Gods). But the graphic novel brought a lot of it back and I was very pleased with the results of Carey and Fabry. The story might be hard to follow for people who haven't read the book first; there are many characters to follow and the focus switches frequently.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

While it took me only a day to read each of the first two books in this series, this third installment took me four. I have two reasons for this:

1) The superfluous dialogue was really driving me crazy and when I got tired all the "Can I ask you a question?" questions, less-than-witty adolescent banter, and unbelievably rapid mood swings, I just had to put the book down.

2) I realized before I started it that there is a fourth installment and I'm going to have to wait until this fall for the fourth. The end of the story is not at the end of this third book.

So there you go; those two very different reactions sum up very well how I feel about the book. I could go on about the characters, but they're not all that different from the first book. Suffice to say, I'll be at the bookstore to pick up the fourth book sometime the week it's released. For now, though, I think I've had my fill of teenage angst.

Monday, May 19, 2008

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

I realize that I've been a little slow on the uptake--these books have been popular for quite some time. But I will never stop being amazed at how some books can just *htttttthhhhhhht* suck a reader in and not let go.

And like a good Part Two of a trilogy, this book keeps you involved and at the end, you know you have to read the last one. You just have to.

And, funny enough, I really don't want to comment on anything more about the books until I've finished reading the third. (Except to say that there are a few pages merely dedicated to the passing of time, and I really like the way that was done.)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Reading this highly recommended book was like being taken back to everything I liked about being in my teens--namely, the books I was reading.

Meyer has written a book that is very hard to put down, even now that I'm a decade out of my teens. Main character Bella is a fun character to follow--and her klutziness is very important because it makes her less perfect, it helps the plot, and it makes for some funny moments in phys ed. And Edward, the wonderful, unrefusable vampire/love interest is reminiscent of the best parts of LJ Smith's vampire brothers in her trilogy (+1) The Vampire Diaries. In fact, I feel rather certain that Meyer must have been a Smith fan in her youth; they feel like very similar plots so far.

If one were looking for faults with this first book in Meyer's trilogy, one might decide that the plot is fluff or that the plot feels almost reliant on dialogue and unnecessary tags. But teens don't care about that (if I remember well, teens actually crave it like salt), and since they're the target readers...

Eager as I am to get to the next installment in the trilogy, though, I can't really complain, can I?
I'm going to go read some more.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

I can't remember the last time I woke up and the first thing I wanted to reach for was my book, but after Marianne Engel showed up in the burn ward, I kept The Gargoyle on my bedside table until the day I finished it.

I was skeptical about whether I could actually like the unnamed (I can't find or remember any point at which his name is used) narrator who is burned in a car accident, the result of drug-induced hallucinations. He supplies his background in the beginning of the story, not quite suggesting that it's justification for how he chose to live his life, but clearly wanting readers to come to that conclusion. His character teeters on the edge of unbelievable.

In fact, the book was just about tossed on the "Nevermind" pile--until Marianne Engel showed up in the hospital burn ward. And though she is even more over-the-top than the narrator, the reader is drawn to her; she is the ballast in the story.

The narrator's voice has some very strange moments of instability--some lines just seem unbelievable, even from this nameless, oft poetic, burnt man. Most of the instability occurs before Marianne's character shows up, and then again in the end. At first I thought that maybe the the author was just in a hurry, that he got careless with the end of his story. But in retrospect, the destabilizing of his voice makes sense.

The tale he tells is a fantastic one--or, rather many. He tells us the tales that Marianne tells him, even as he tells us his (which has become their) story. Yes, it borders on metafiction; he even has moments when he addresses the reader directly and talks about telling his story, which I find most disconcerting, because those moments don't happen with any particular regularity. Overall, the weaving of the different stories is most satisfying; I wasn't ready for the stories to stop being told, a tribute to Marianne's storytelling skills, not unlike Sheharazad's, I imagine. The Gargoyle is a book of despair, love, hope, faith and redemption. It's a great romance without the bodice-ripping--which makes it the best kind.

Add this book to your wish list, top priority--it will be released on August 5.

(Thanks to Harper Collins for sending me an ARC to review.)