Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin
895 pages (including a glimpse at The Twelve)
Ballantine Books

This is a massive novel (book 1 of 3) about vampires and a special little girl. I had heard people complain that this book was like reading two completely different books. And it can be seen like that unless you realise there is a jump of 100 years and the author is spending a long time building the new world -- showing us what life has become.

I feel the first part is the best of the book. The characters are well developed and interesting. I especially like the way Cronin uses italics in-place of standard speech / quote marks. The first part introduces us to a young woman, Jeanette, working in a diner. She meets a flashy guy who is  out-of-state and spins her a line and gets her into bed. Then he disappears and the woman becomes pregnant. She gives birth to Amy. A few years later, the man returns. He is different and seems to have lost everything. He talks Jeanette into taking him in. They live together for a short time before he starts talking with his hands. Jeanette is a strong woman who gets rid of him and after awhile with no money she needs to get moving to a new place and find a job.

This is where the book really takes off.

Basically this is a story of a girl infected with a virus that ages her very slowly (like a vampire) and gives her a special connection to the coming hordes of blood suckers.

In the second part of the book, we meet the group of people who will journey with Amy (now aged into a teenager) across the country to a place where the virus was created. Along the way, they will suffer loss, embrace love, learn to drive and battle not just Virals (vamps) but other groups of humans formed into communities.

This is a good book with a lot of unneeded filler (in my opinion) but it is also a book that needs your attention and constant reading. I'm not a fast reader but I got through this book in 3 weeks and I enjoyed it. I want to read The Twelve but I will wait for a mass market paperback as it is the prefect size for commuting on busy trains and buses.

3 out of 5 stars

Monday, March 18, 2013

The 10 o'clock People by Stephen King

The 10 o'clock People by Stephen King
Audio Book

This was my first audio book. I had read the short story in one of King's collections (I forget which one). This audio book was sold as a stand alone awhile back when I was considering audio books but not really using them. You know, you buy something for later use but never actually get around to using it and it just sits on the Hard Drive. We've all been there. But with jogging becoming a major role in my life, I decided to download the MP3 file onto my walkman and have a listen while pounding the cold, dark streets.

The 10 o'clock people is an amazing tale of the Bat People (aliens) taking over the world. Only a few people can see through their disguises of human appearances. These people are folks who tried to stop smoking but went back to the habit and now the chemical imbalance as altered their perception field and they see the Bat Man (not the one with the cape and billions of dollars).

There is a group of resistance fighters learning as much as they can and taking out a few along the way, until a deal is reached for a truce. None of the resistance fighters are interested but the truce was a lie and the Bat Men charge into the meeting and all hell breaks lose.

The reader was over-acting the script but after awhile I got used to it and got lost in the story. I listened to this novella over two jogging sessions and was so immersed on the second day that I missed my turn point and ended up a little lost in a new area wahahaha. But that is the power of this story. The Bat Man makes me think of Lovecraft horrors (not Cthulhu of course) but others. Possibilities.

I think some books are better in audio format.

4 stars

UR by Stephen King

UR by Stephen King
Audiobook, Unabridged Audio CD
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (February 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1442303093
ISBN-13: 978-1442303096

Recently I have gotten into audio books as I enjoy jogging. And jogging with an audio book is amazing, if it is a good tale you are listening to you can lose yourself and end up in unknown territories lol.

UR (pronounced err) is a story of a new, unknown Kindle feature which has alternative realities where writers produced many more books than in this reality. It also has a news function, local news only, and this is a glimpse into the future. A dangerous thing.

This tale is somewhere in the novelette area (like a very long short story) and is told well by the reader. But the story is boring. King takes too long to get to the meat of the tale and then it just kind of ends and the ending is kind of blah...

Maybe book form is better for this tale. It was a good idea and King posed a few good possibilities but I felt (while jogging up a hill) that he spent too much time exploring these areas.

2 stars