Thursday, October 23, 2008

Caliban and other tales -- reviewer Lee Pletzers

Caliban and other tales
Robert Devereaux
Leisure Horror 2002
359 pages

573 words


Quite possibly the worst book I have ever had the misfortune to read. That’s a very harsh statement, but I stand by it.

Robert
Devereaux is a very good writer, excellent story telling ability,
smooth readable paragraphs and clear concise explanations. He does use
‘and’ a lot. It wasn’t his writing style I had trouble with.

The
only problem I have with this book are the stories inside. They are
incredibly different, I can say, “I’ve never read anything like them
before.” Add to this that most of the characters are two dimensional
and we end up with un-enjoyable stories. In my humble opinion, the only
reason a story works is because of the characters. Give us people we
can’t care about and the story doesn’t work to it’s full potential.
Even with my favorite story listed below, I did not care about Bucky.
Who would care about someone like this - and I think that was the
point, hence I liked it. But the only character I felt a smidgen for
was Alex in the Tinker Bell story and only because I’ve been in a
similar position, once.

The only story I liked was the first
one, about Bucky and the voices inside his head, telling him to kill
everyone. At first I thought this was a standard story (ho-hum) and the
first several pages proved me right. But when I reached the climax, I
was in for a pleasant surprise. Wow. Never expected that. This story
alone is worth the $5.99 cover price. Pity about the rest.

This
book contains stories of clowns (Ridi Bobo -- never finished it, story
went nowhere and did nothing in the first 10 pages, so I skipped the
rest).

We got a story about Tinker Bell and her human lover.
What she does with her wand is truly amazing. The story is good
through-out but does drag in several places and found my concentration
wandering a few times.

The next story is about a tongue that eats people and the 50ft woman.

Then
we get a porno-like story - frightfully descriptive. No thanks, I want
to read horror. And what’s next? Ah, the novella the book is named
after: Caliban. And unfortunately I never made it to chapter two. If I
had read on, maybe it would have turned into a decent horror story, but
it was impossible to follow and sadly I pulled out my bookmark and
placed the book on the self.

In my honest opinion, the book
lacks characters that we can relate to and feel for. The book is loaded
with great reviews and blurbs including a heap of advertising for his
novel, And Santa Steps Out. I have not read that, but I may if I come
across it somewhere. I often give new writers (newly discovered by me,
that is) the benefit of the doubt and check at least two of their
books, before I’ll decide if I’ll keep reading them.

I don’t think I need to add my ratings for this.
A quick jump to Amazon, shows that I am not the only person would didn’t like this book. There was one other.

*
footnote: This is more of a dark fantasy than a horror. Personally I
think these two subjects (horror and Dark Fantasy) deserve their own
labels, so the readers know what they are buying.

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