Tag: Rules

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.

 


Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata – Death Note: Black Edition Volume II| Review

Title: Death Note: Black Edition Volume II

Author: Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 367

Rating 4.5/5

 

 

This is arguably the book that’s got me invested in this series, because up until this point, I kind of knew what to expect and roughly what was going to happen. As of this one, I didn’t really know what was going to happen, and that made the book much more enjoyable as a result of it.

I also like the way that the different twists and turns kept me guessing throughout, and it seems as though that’s only going to continue as the story progresses. In a way, it reminds me of Prison Break because of that, with each of these Black Edition bind-ups acting a little bit like different seasons.

Now, I don’t want to go into the story line too much because it’s the second book in a series and so it’s hard to talk about it without revealing spoilers. What I will say is that our understanding of the laws governing the death notes continues to grow here while at the same time, rules that we previously knew about and forgot come back into play.

 

 

We also get some new characters coming into play, which changes the game and stops it from feeling as though the authors are simply rehashing the same ideas. Having read the bulk of the third collection at the time of writing, I can also confirm that it sets things up nicely for that, and because this is a longer series, there’s no sense of middle book syndrome here. Just quality writing and quality illustration.

I’m relatively new to manga, and Death Note is the only series that I’ve dipped into so far, but I can safely say after the first two installments of this, I’m hooked. Of course, it helps that the story line itself is so unique, so quirky, and that I haven’t really seen anything like it elsewhere. So would I recommend this book? Of course I would, but it’s obviously not the best one to start with. They need to be read in order.

 

 

Click here to Death Note: Black Edition Volume II.