Tag: Important

Stephen King – Danse Macabre | Review

Title: Danse Macabre

Author: Stephen King

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 4/5

I wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did, mainly because it’s non-fiction and obviously King has a reputation as the master of horror. Still, it’s a non-fiction book about horror with a little bit of memoir and autobiography thrown in, and that makes it a pretty fascinating book if you’re a fan of either horror or Stephen King.

At the same time, it’s definitely dated in a lot of places. For example, he mentions an exciting new punk band called The Ramones and makes a reference to a book he’s writing where a parent loses a child, and I’m pretty sure he was talking about Pet Sematary. Kind of weird really, because the Ramones later recorded a song of the same name.

He also talked about how Kubrick did a good job of the movie of The Shining, and that was weird to me because King famously doesn’t like it. Perhaps he changed his mind later on. He also talked about how there aren’t enough works about haunted cars, which he later changed with Christine (still need to read it) and From a Buick 8 (actually terrible).

The fact that it’s a non-fiction book means that by its very nature, it has something of a different tone to King’s other stuff, although you can definitely tell that he’s the one who wrote it. Perhaps it’s also that he was a little younger and therefore closer to the start of his career. Whatever the case, he comes across as almost irreverent at times, though not in a bad way.

He always treats the works that he covers with the greatest of respect even when he doesn’t necessarily enjoy the work in question. He acknowledges that something can be hugely influential and important to a specific genre of film and literature, even if he doesn’t like the work itself. It’s a bit like how you can enjoy rock music without being a fan of The Beatles.

I don’t think that this book necessarily has a widespread appeal, but if you’re either a Stephen King fan or a fan of classic horror – and let’s be honest, if you’re one then you’re probably the other – then this will be right up your street. If nothing else, you’ll find yourself walking away with a whole bunch of recommendations to check out. I know I have.

Of course, some of the stuff that he covers here is pretty niche, to the point at which you’d probably struggle to track some of it down. Other is much more well-known, from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to The Exorcist and even King’s own books. He also writes in a way that doesn’t ruin things that you haven’t yet experienced, which I was worried about. Good stuff!

Learn more about Danse Macabre.

 


Andrzej Sapkowski – Time of Contempt | Review

Title: Time of Contempt

Author: Andrzej Sapkowski

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 348

Rating: 3.5/5

Having got this far with this series, I’m starting to lose a little faith in Sapkowski. Even back when I picked up the first couple of books, I said I was a little worried that he was going to be a better short story writer than a novelist, a prophecy that looked like it was going to be true with Blood of Elves. Unfortunately, I thought the same thing here.

I think the issue for me is that the Witcher is all about morality, for me at least, and when Sapkowski is writing short story collections, he can ask more questions of his readers. The novels just feel like a drawn out short story, and so while they’re by no means bad, they’re not quite as good, either. At least in my opinion.

I think I also feel as though the looming Nilfgaardian war has been cranking up the tension book after book and yet nothing is really happening. Build up is all well and good, but if there’s no payoff at the end then it risks just feeling a little cheap. But hey, what do I know? Sapkowski has sold way more books than I have, so he must be doing something right.

The good thing here is that Ciri takes centre stage of a character and she has some pretty good quirks to her. I particularly liked the way that she subverted one of her lessons about never failing to seize an advantage by sneaking off to go and see Geralt. It said a lot about her that she did that, and it was also believable enough to feel true to character. Kind of important really, because it also helps to set up the rest of the novel.

Overall, if you’ve read this far into the series then for sure keep going, but I do still think that the short story collections were better. Oh, and I’ve never played the games. Or watched the Netflix show.

Learn more about Time of Contempt.