Tag: Poor

Stephen King – The Outsider | Review

Title: The Outsider

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 486

Rating: 3.5/5

The thing with The Outsider is that I feel as though it would have been pretty good if just anyone had written it, but the problem is that it’s pretty poor for a Stephen King book. It was competently written and I kept on reading, but it didn’t really contain anything to surprise or impress me.

Part of the reason for that is that I’m not much of a fan of when King does crime, mostly because I can’t help feeling that the point of crime is that it’s based on reality, and so as soon as he adds the inevitable supernatural elements, I start to lose interest in the story. It’s a bit like trying to play Cluedo with someone who makes up the rules as they go along.

It’s also the unofficial fourth book in the Bill Hodges trilogy, a mini-series that started off well but which immediately took a dive as soon as the supernatural elements kicked in. I quite liked Bill Hodges as a character, but Hodges is dead by this point and so we have to make do with Holly Gibney, who I liked in the previous books but who I found kind of annoying here. It was also a bit weird how she just randomly shows up half way through the story, way after all of the other characters have been introduced and established.

Other than that though, it’s pretty much positive, and I liked the way that King eventually explained all of the supernatural elements. The bad guy wasn’t necessarily as terrifying as the Walken Dude, but he was still pretty intimidating in a way that was terrifyingly human. In a way, it almost feels realer than a lot of his other monsters too, perhaps because of the setting and the explanation.

Then there are the main characters, with Ralph and Howie standing out for me in particular. That’s one of the good things about reading King – you know that you’re always going to get some pretty good characterisation. Everyone felt pretty fledged out, and I don’t have any complaints to speak of. I was just hoping for something a little more, even though I’d been warned by the reviews that it wasn’t the best King book on the market.

Would I recommend it? I mean yeah, but mainly because I recommend King in general. It doesn’t make sense to get to this one ahead of the other three books in the Bill Hodges series, and to be honest I wouldn’t even recommend those over some of King’s old school classics. But it’s worth picking up eventually or if you see it going second hand in a charity shop. And I’m glad that I’m that one step closer to finishing every book he’s ever written. So what’s next?

Click here to learn more about The Outsider.

 


Bret Easton Ellis – American Psycho | Review

Title: American Psycho

Author: Bret Easton Ellis

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 390

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Bret Easton Ellis - American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis – American Psycho

 

It’s pretty difficult for me to review this one because while I did actually enjoy reading it, I don’t necessarily think it was an objectively good book. A lot of the ideas and the imagery in it were so clunky that it was like being beat over the head with them, and while I’ve previously said to a YouTube friend that I like it when the author makes it easy for me to grasp the imagery, this book just took the piss a bit. After the third or the fourth long extract where Bateman is dissecting popular music to contrast it with his random outbursts of violence, I was just so done with it. The same is true with the constant references to Donald Trump and the way that Bateman and his cronies worship money as their own private religion. It could have been a powerful message, but by the end of the book I was just like, “I GET THE POINT.”

But like I said, I still enjoyed reading the book, and I even thought that the “erotic” scenes were written tastefully without resorting to using weird phrases like “he entered her glistening sex with his rigid tip”, which is all too common when people write sex scenes. Sure, the sex scenes in question basically involve people being raped and then brutally murdered and so it’s not exactly easy reading, but at least the writing itself didn’t make me cringe. To be honest, I was mostly numb to it all and it quite often felt as though stuff had just been thrown into the mix to shock and offend people.

All in all, I find it hard to judge this one. It was simultaneously dated and more relevant than ever, but the actual central plot was just so-so. Perhaps it was more impactful back in 1991 and I suspect I would have enjoyed it more if I’d never read Irvine Welsh, because this reads like an American version of Irvine Welsh except following rich people instead of poor people. They weren’t compelling characters to read about and no amount of gore porn could help it to recover. It was like a horror film that’s only scary because of jump scares.

 

Bret Easton Ellis

Bret Easton Ellis

 

Click here to buy American Psycho.

 


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