Tag: Creepy

Stephen King – Bag of Bones | Review

Title: Bag of Bones

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 660

Rating 2/5

 

 

Well, I finally found a Stephen King book that I didn’t enjoy. Goodness me, it was just incredibly dull and difficult to engage with. I didn’t care about the characters, the antagonist wasn’t even a villain, and while there were supernatural elements, they were super minor for 550 pages and then suddenly went nuts at the end. It just didn’t work for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I like what King set out to do here. I guess this was written during his “literary horrorperiod, after he got sober and before he found his feet again. Some people (Todd the Librarian, for example) say that after King sobered up, he was never the same. I disagree because he has some great recent novels like 11/22/63, but I do think that his hit to miss ratio took a big hit when he cleaned up.

But I don’t have a problem with that, and I’ve already decided that I’m going to work my way through everything that King has ever written. I’d also rather that he lived longer instead of burning himself out, because occasional bad books are offset by the fact that he’s also written plenty of other good ones.

This one felt a lot like filler, and I think he could have told the story a lot better if he’d dropped it to half the length. There were also a few good ideas in there, and it’s not exactly badly written, it was just super boring. I rated it a 2/5 based on my enjoyment of it, but objectively I guess I’d say it’s around a 3/5. I also know a few different people who love this book, and so I guess as always it’s a case of different strokes for different folks.

 

 

It also doesn’t help that I’ve read enough King books by now that I’m bored of reading about characters who are writers. He’s done it to death, and I wasn’t a particular fan of it even to begin with. They say you should write what you know, but I don’t think it’s meant to be taken that literally. Plus it’s not like he knows about all of the creepy stuff that he writes about, and if he can come up with that then surely he can come up with someone who isn’t a writer.

I also wasn’t a fan of the back story here. It’s one of those where we keep having little flashbacks to the past until eventually the past and the present come together. I’ll agree that when it works well, it really works, but I also think that it’s pretty rare for authors to nail it, and I don’t think King did it here. It got to the point where things were being revealed towards the end and I just didn’t care because it had taken far too long to get to that point and I wasn’t that interested to begin with.

Overall then, I’m not about to recommend this unless you’re a completionist and you want to read all of Stephen King’s stuff, and even then I think you should go in with low expectations. I only got a couple of hundred pages in before I realised that I didn’t want to keep it as my main book. Instead, I switched it out as the book that I read before bed, and it’s true that it helped me to fall asleep. Apart from the times when it made me rage so much that I had to wake my girlfriend up to rant about it.

I think the main problem is just my own expectations of Stephen King’s stuff. I’m a fan of his and love reading his stuff, but then I get to a book like this and it’s just a disappointment. Avoid it unless you’re determined to read it.  

 

 

Click here to buy Bag of Bones.

 


Joe Hill – Strange Weather | Review

Title: Strange Weather

Author: Joe Hill

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 440

Rating 4/5

 

 

I picked up this book because I’d read and enjoyed some of Joe Hill’s stuff before and because my cat picked it out for me when I filmed a video of my cat picking my TBR. I thought it was a novel going into it, but it turned out to be a collection of what Hill calls short novels. I’d argue that it’s actually three novellas and one short novel, but that’s just semantics.

The interesting thing about this collection is that, as the title suggests, each of the stories relates back in some way to the weather. There’s a hail of crows, an out of control forest fire, a solid cloud and a rain of metal shards that wreak havoc on anything beneath them. With weather like this, you might want to stay indoors.

I suppose the most logical way to review this book would be to tackle each of the stories in order, so let’s start with Snapshot, which is the least memorable of the lot and which reminded me a little bit of The Sun Dog by Stephen King, Hill’s father. I didn’t think much of that story either, but I do like the idea of using a creepy polaroid camera as a plot device.

 

 

Up next we have Loaded, the longest piece, which started a little slow but which suddenly went nuts and which went on to have one of the bleakest endings I’ve ever come across. I liked it though, and I was impressed by what Hill had to say on the subject of guns. His opinion definitely comes across, but it doesn’t feel preachy. He just lays it out like it is and then leaves the reader to make up their own mind.

Then there’s Aloft, which follows what happens when a man volunteers for a charity parachute jump, immediately regrets it and ends up stranded on a cloud. There’s a lot of jumping backwards and forwards through time, which kind of annoyed me a little bit, but I can also see how it was necessary for the way that the story was told. I wasn’t the biggest fan though.

And then finally we have Rain, a sort of parody post-apocalyptic novel that works well on one level and not so well on another. I actually thought that the premise of it was pretty good and wished that Hill had run with it for real, but hey ho. All in all though, it was a great collection and I’d definitely recommend it. Enjoy!

 

 

Click here to buy Strange Weather.