Tag: Unhealthy

Peter James – Denial | Review

Title: Denial

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 502

Rating: 3.75/5

I was pleasantly surprised by this book because it’s one of the older Peter James books on my pile and I’ve found them to be kind of hit and miss, with the quality varying widely without really seeming to vary depending upon when he actually wrote the things. Most of his books have some theme or another in them and so perhaps it depends more on what his theme is than on the book itself.

Here, you can probably guess the theme based on the title of the book. The story follows the son of a well-known film star and basically covers the unhealthy way in which he comes to terms with his mother’s death. Pretty unusually, we know that the kid is the bad guy right away, and we see things from his perspective as he goes around carrying out his revenge for society’s perceived wrongs against his mother.

It’s a pretty decent thriller novel to be honest, and while I’m not exactly the biggest reader of thrillers, there was still plenty here to keep me reading. In fact, despite the fact that it’s pretty massive, I flew through it in a couple of days and was left surprised by just how easy it was for me to get through it. Sure, there weren’t a ton of characters that I liked and related to, but the story line alone was enough to get me going.

I think a big part of that was down to the way that the antagonist here was so fully fleshed out, even though he was kind of crazy. I also liked the way that he incorporated fate into his crime spree, in this case by flipping a coin to decide his next move. I kind of want to play with that myself, so perhaps I’ll work it into a story.

I like the idea of a novel that’s based on the character as opposed to the plot in which I start by fleshing out the character and allow fate to guide the plot. Every time my character flipped a coin, I’d flip a coin, and that would decide the action that the character takes and thus the plot. The only problem is that I’m usually a plotter as opposed to a pantser, and so it would be an alien process to me.

All in all then, as you can tell, I enjoyed reading this book and it gave me a lot of food for thought. The enjoyment level was so-so, but I think it punched above its weight when it comes to the ideas that it shared. That for me is more of a testament to James’ ability than anything else, and so far I’ve almost always found him to be worth reading, although I’ll also admit that there are better writers out there.

So would I recommend it, then? Yeah, probably, especially if you like thrillers. You’ll like it!

Learn more about Denial.

 


Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Shadow of the Wind | Review

Title: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 522

Rating: 2*/5

 

Carlos Ruiz Zafon - The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafon – The Shadow of the Wind

 

Well I guess the short and simple version here is that I was disappointed by this. You ready for the long version?

This book had its pros and cons, and I can totally see why a lot of people like it. At the same time, though, I’m also surprised I haven’t heard more people giving it negative reviews. For me, it was pretty dull and I found myself repeatedly zoning out and losing interest.

Part of the problem is from the main character, Daniel, who made a lot of decisions that I didn’t agree with. He developed an unhealthy obsession for someone, let himself into their house and walked in on them having sex, and then later he started sleeping with someone who was engaged to a dude in the army. He just acted like a bit of a douche throughout and I found it hard to really care about him. He was spoiled, entitled and the kind of protagonist where I just want to see them fail.

In fact, the main problem that I had with this book was the fact that it was like watching a bad magician. I could tell when I was supposed to feel excited or scared or to laugh at the book, but the fact that I could tell I was supposed to do it made me less inclined to actually do so. It was like being in the studio audience for an unfunny comedy and feeling awkward when they flashed up big “laughtersigns.

 

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

 

Sure, there were bits here and there where it was beautifully written, and it’s a very “quotablebook. But that’s not what I look for when I read something, and there’s no point being able to write decent sentences if the book as a whole just bores someone to tears. I wouldn’t have bothered to even finish reading it if I’d been reading it by myself, but because it was a buddy read and I’d organised it, I felt as though I had to. But it didn’t get any better.

And we’re now getting to the point at which my review is resembling the book, because I don’t have anything else to add here but I have another 150 words to write to meet my word count. For those of you who didn’t know this, my word count for my reviews matches the page count of the book, and so I write longer reviews for longer books.

You could condense this review to 300 words and it would be better. Which is kind of funny because you could condense the book to 300 pages and it would be better for it, too. Instead, it just felt bloated and a chore to read, and I can’t imagine ever wanting to read another Zafon book in the future. I don’t really have “reading slumps”, but if I did then this book would have given me one. I had to switch to an Agatha Christie book afterwards to enjoy reading again.

 

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

 

Click here to buy The Shadow of the Wind.