NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

nos4a2

Title: NOS4A2

Author: Joe Hill

Length: 686 pages (Paperback)


 

I actually suspended reading this book rationalizing that I probably wouldn’t have enough time to single-mindedly tackle this book with my substantially increased workload. (I had been putting so many hours into overtime at the time) But I subsequently resumed reading after finishing Dark Matter. I probably had something like a horror rash. (I don’t even know if such a word does exist though.)

This book is certainly a tome and it took me nearly a whole week to finish, but can I just tell you?

This is just amazing!!

I must admit I was being a bit impatient and almost gave up continuing to read at some point in the early part of the book because I am a kind of person who wants a constant stream of craziness and creepiness when it comes to horror books.

However, as I proceeded deeper into the book, I came to understand Joe Hill is one of those authors who takes a lot of time and spends a lot of pages to carefully, intricately and thoroughly build up his own world and it worked just amazingly.
The plot is well-crafted, I would say it is built to perfection. Everything is tied beautifully in the end; the book ends with a positive note yet a waft of creepiness is still there. I can’t help but wonder what happens next.

The writing is also amazing. I don’t know how much deeper I should get into this, but some chapters don’t end in a complete sentence.  Joe Hill ends some chapters in the mid sentence and moves onto the next chapter. I seriously did a double-take wondering if they were misprints.
The CAPS are also used very effectively to intensify the creepiness and eeriness and the dialogues reflect each character’s personality really well.

This is something I felt when I finished ‘The Fireman’ last October but didn’t touched on my post. I think he is spectacular in the human-drama department as well. Like I already said, his writing intensifies whatever feel that exists in the sentence or the paragraph – he makes what’s already eerie even eerier and creepier.
By the same token, his writing intensifies the dramatic feel that a particular scene has in there. The last dialogue between Lou and Vic just wrecked me. How dramatic and poignant. My heart was ripped in two.

All the characters are so fleshed out and the descriptions how each character’s path entwines and entangles are quite engaging.

I was a bit concerned whether I would get to keep track of the story because of its length, but what I found great about Joe Hill is that he throws in some keys or triggers when a certain character reappears in the story and those triggers invoke my memory and help me not to lose train of my thoughts.

Although this is not a kind of book that you can expect a constant spine-tingling feeling throughout the book -at least for me-, but the creepiness definitely seeps out of the sentence throughout the book, from beginning to end.

And let me warn you – when the jolt comes, it comes BIG TIME, like a massive explosion. So buckle up and brace yourself for the ensuing jolt.
This is definitely worth a read – despite its length.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

dark-matter

Title: Dark Matter

Author: Blake Crouch

Length: 352 pages

I’m still reeling from the impact that this book had on me.

I still can’t process all the feelings that this book gave me.

This book has just toppled my perspective upside-down.

Oh, my gosh.

This
is
Crazy!!!!

But fantastic!!
It’s so weird, straight-up crazy, mind-bending but so, so good!
The shear craziness and weirdness gripped me and never let me go, it was so addictive!

I think it is next to impossible to express my thoughts and feels on this book without giving anything away, because even a snippet of details can be a spoiler and ruin the fun you’d get out of reading this book, but the plot is just incredible, the writing is just superb and spectacular, the last 60 to 70 pages are super fast-paced, such a page turner, I just couldn’t put it down nor did I want to put it down.

Jason Desson is a brilliant physicist and teaches physics at Lakemont College. He was on the cusp of a scientific breakthrough in quantum physics when he found out that his girlfriend, Daniella, was pregnant with a boy who later came into being as their son, Charlie, fifteen years ago.

He was sort of content with his life as a mediocre professor and his role as a husband and a father.

One Thursday night, on his way home from the local pub where he had some drink with his old friend who has just won a prize, he gets abducted by a man with gaisha mask, knocked unconscious and then gets injected some weird substance.

when he wakes up on a laboratory bed, he senses that something is wrong.

Everyone seems to be overjoyed by his return but Jason himself doesn’t recognize any of them. They tell Jason that 14 months have gone by since his disappearing.
Daniella- who is supposed to be his wife in his world (The world Jason is familiar with) turns out to have been seeing his friend. Daniella and Jason parted ways 15 years ago; not to mention, they don’t have a son.

Dumbfounded and utterly baffled, Jason tries to figure out the way to get back to the life he belongs to – the way that leads to his beloved wife, Daniella and his son, Charlie.

The concept of the plot may come across a bit far-fetched, and I must say I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around on some points, there are things that I find hard to process, but it is not over-the-top difficult to digest nor hinder you from enjoying the story.
Blake Crouch did an amazing job to break the mind-bending concept into manageable bits of information and make them easy enough to understand even for people like me who can’t make head or tail of science or physics.
Yes, it is still mind-blowing and crazy, but one part of me actually finds the idea very intriguing.

What if different versions of life do exist? What if different versions of YOU do exist?

That’s all can divulge as far as the story goes, that I can vouch for this being an extraordinarily fantastic, amazing book.

The writing is also amazing and just spectacular – he makes what is already creepy and eerie even creepier, what is already intense even more intense. This book sucked me in straight away and spat me out at the end of the book. How gripping it was!

I found the pacing was a bit odd somewhere in the middle because Jason makes a game-changing discovery in how to get back to his own world, what factors affect to which world he lands next.
I was like, “Hold up, isn’t it a bit too early for him to figure this out? We’ve still got more than 100 pages to go.”

But that’s how it should be.

The plot gets even crazier towards the end.

Everything happens in the last 100 pages are totally unexpected – so twisty and mind-bending.
The last 60 pages in particular, is such a page-turner; I couldn’t put it down and I read the rest in one sitting. I could even hear my heart hammering in my chest. I’m not exaggerating, I didn’t even realize that I was holding my breath till the end.

My mind just went blank when I closed the book.

I have never read a book like this before.

I’m so glad that I believed the hype and picked this up (in hardcover format! Yay me.) 😀

I highly recommend this book to everyone who is interested. This is definitely worth reading!

※日本語でのレビューについては、はてなブログの方に載せてますので、よろしくお願いします^^

The Kindness of Strangers by Julie Smith

julie-smithTitle: The Kindness of Strangers

Author: Julie Smith

Length: 358 pages

I gave this book 2 stars out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

I picked up this book as part of the Spookathon hoping to wrap up this month with something spine-chilling. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out as well as I had hoped.

As I mentioned earlier in my blog, I don’t usually give up on a book. I see it that I try as I might to find something nice in the book.

It may have been partly because the book that I picked up – ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ was the 6th book in the ‘Skip Langdon Series,’ but I just couldn’t connect to the story as much I had thought I would.

First, there are so many characters some of whom probably are from the previous series, and the number of characters who appear in the story expands in the course of Skip’s private investigation, so it became pretty hard to keep track of the character dynamics. (A lot of name remembering required.)

Secondly, the pacing felt a bit off to me. It was a bit slow in the first half and it suddenly picks up speed somewhere around 70% and then things start going at breakneck speed toward 90% of the book.

There are indeed some strong and exciting scenes where I couldn’t put it down, but what I thought the weak first half failed to keep me engaged as much.

Again, I am not a kind of person who easily gives up on a book, though, I was so close to give up on this one. I kept wondering if I should keep going throughout the book. My ambivalence may have clouded my mind and hindered me from judging this book subjectively, which I feel a bit sorry and unfair to this book.

My rating and thoughts might have been different had I followed the series.

Thirdly, I’m afraid to say that I couldn’t relate to the characters – I wouldn’t say ‘at all,’ I could relate to Torian being all broken-hearted, and I do think it was a nice attempt to set the protagonist Skip Langton as being rather substantial (tall, slightly overweight) as opposed to being all skinny and pretty. But for the most part, I found the characters are not much relatable.
I also found a bit distracting that there were too many characters’ inner voices and narratives. They were supposed to describe what was running through behind the characters’ mind and they may actually work for you, but it just didn’t work for me and I thought it kind of disrupted a natural flow of the story, unfortunately 😦

More than anything, the description of the villain was quite a letdown to me – I was expecting a real psychopath and he was NOT what I had envisioned. He miserably failed to get the hair stand up on the back of my neck 😦

All in all, I could only give this book 2 stars.

Although my gut-instinct went for 1 star out of 5 starts, for the sake of some strong scenes, I settled with 2 stars.

 

この本にはGoodreadsで5つ中2つ星をつけました。

個人的なSpookathonの一環として、10月をちょっとスリリングな本で終えたいな、と思って手に取ったのですが、まぁ物事は思うようには進みませんでした。

以前にもブログ中で触れたとは思いますが、普通本を途中で投げ出さない人です。私は。できる限り本のいいところを見つけようと努めるタイプではあるのですが。

多分この本がSkip Langdonシリーズの6冊目だったということもあったかもしれません。シリーズ全体の流れを知らなかったからかもしれませんが、でも思ったほどストーリーに引き込まれなかったです。

まず、登場人物がやたら多いw そのうちの何人かはシリーズ中のほかの本から引き続いての登場人物なのでしょうが、Skipが個人的に調査を進めるうちに登場人物の数はどんどん増えていき、その結果誰が誰だったか覚えているのが非常に困難でしたw(つまり、名前とキャラクターの特徴を覚えてないといけないという。)

次に、物語の進むペースがちょっと私とは波長が合わなかったかなと。前半はちょっと展開が遅く、かと思うと70%くらいからペースが上がり、その後90%くらいまでは急ピッチで物事が進んでいきます。

中には本当にパワフルでスリリングなシーンもあり、読む手が止まらない部分もあったのですが、ちょっと弱い前半が足を引っ張り思ったほど感情移入できませんでした。

繰り返しますが、本を簡単に諦めるタイプではないです。とはいえ、この本については何度も読むのをやめようかと思いました。最後まで読み進めるべきかどうか、常に迷ってましたね。

そういった迷いやためらいが客観的なこの本への判断を鈍らせてしまったかもしれません。この本にとってはちょっと残念でフェアじゃないよね、と思いますが。

この本に対する評価や思いもちょっと違っていたかもしれません。シリーズ全部を追いかけていたら。

三つ目に、キャラクターに感情移入ができなかったかな。「全然」とは言いません。実際Torianの傷心には共感できましたし。それに主人公のSkip Langon の設定がよくある「ガリガリのモデル並み員細くて美人で」っていうんじゃなくて「がっしりとした」(背が高くてちょっと肥満気味)というのも面白い試みだったと思います。でも大部分においてはキャラクターにそこまで共感できませんでしたね。
各キャラクターの心の声っていうのかな、が多すぎるのもちょっとリズムを乱したかな、と思いました。各キャラクターの心の動きを表現するためだったんでしょうし、皆さんはそう感じられないかもしれませんが、私には却って自然な流れを乱したように感じて、あんまり好意的には受け取れませんでした 😦

何よりも、敵キャラクターの描写にはほんとがっくりしました。真のイっちゃった人、変質者を期待していたのに、何これ_| ̄|○ みたいなw 身の毛がよだつ思いは全くしなかったです。

いろいろ書きましたが、この本には2つ星しかあげられませんでした。

直感としては1つ星だったんですけど、まぁ先ほど書いたパワフルなシーンを考慮して、2つ星、とした次第です。はい。

Mini Mini Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill

the-firemanYes, I’ve just finished reading ‘The Fireman’ by Joe Hill. It took me precisely one week from start to finish.

I’d normally post a review immediately after I’ve finished, but with this book, I think I’ll refrain from posting a full review and there are good reasons for this.

Firstly, this book is quite long; it’s got whopping 747 pages. I hate to admit this, but I’m afraid I’ve missed out some details which could have played a huge role in the plot as I sometimes found myself dozing off particularly when I was reading at night. So, I figure it’s not fair to say much about this book before I get a better picture of what this book is about.

Secondly, I find it extremely hard to gather my thoughts to be honest – as there are so many things and stories going on in this book, it’s really difficult to pinpoint what I found were really good and what I had issues with.

Not that I’m saying I actually had a lot of issues with; although I felt there may have been too much information or side stories that could have been cut, I did enjoy reading this book despite its length. It almost felt so addictive, keeping me engaged the entire time.

I picked up this book expecting a very thrilling apocalyptic story, it was actually included in Bookbub’s ‘creepy books for October’ list and I got tempted and asked my friend to get it on my behalf.

The preface was really enticing and gripping – describing how the mysterious plague (that causes spontaneous combustion) exploded and people started bursting into flames across the world -I thought it was exactly what I had expected.

However, then the story takes a different turn from what I was expecting. To be honest, I found it a bit of a letdown; I was expecting a super-exciting life and death horror story, like ‘you gotta have to keep running, the enemy is coming after you!!!’ kind of story so to speak.

That said, I also have to admit that I got hooked by this book somehow. I found there is actually a lot more to this book than just a horror story. Joe Hill did a great job in the character development; the intricately entwined relationships between the characters and the ensuing dramas are just amazing. His writing is so powerful and so emotional, there are a lot of scenes where I just couldn’t put it down.

I particularly liked the way he describes the change in the dynamics in the Camp Whyndam; after a shocking incident in the camp, the insidious, sinister side of their personality gradually start searing into surface and people who used to be described as kind and generous start to seem like stolid and harsh, even bitchy.
I seriously doubt this can be categorized as ‘horror story’ by the way – it feels more of a human drama with some horror twists to me.

Although I definitely NOT happy with what happens to the fireman in the very end, yet I have to admit it is so dramatic and even emotional. Gosh, I lost my words at that point.

Even if this is not a type of book you normally read, I’ll recommend jumping out of your comfort zone at times. Despite its length, I highly recommend this and I’ll definitely re-read it sometime later. Because I don’t want to miss a thing!!

 

はい。ようやくJoe HillのThe Fireman を読み終えました。ちょうど1週間かかりましたね~。

普段は読み終えたらすぐにレビューを載っけるんですが、この本についてはフルレビューは避けたいと思います。ちゃんと理由はあるんですが。

まず第一に、この本はかなり長いです。なんと747ページもあります。これ認めるのは嫌なんですが、でも読みながらうたた寝してたりしてひょっとしたら重要な伏線を逃してしまったこともあったかもしれないので、ちゃんとこの本の全貌を掴んでからじゃないと語るのはフェアじゃないかな、と。

次に、正直言って自分の気持ちをまとめるのが非常に難しいという。この本の中にはいろんな要素やストーリーが絡まっているので、どこが良かった、どこが気に入らなかったって絞るのが難しいんですよ。

とはいえ、気に入らなかった部分が多かったというわけではないです。まぁ「これ要らないんじゃないの」というような部分もありはしたんですけど、実際面白かったです。長かったけどw なんか中毒性があってじわじわくる感じ。

この本はBookbubの10月に読むCreepyな本のリストみたいなのに含まれていて、で興味を持ってお友達にお願いして代わりに手に入れてもらいました。

序盤は非常に良かったです。ぐいぐい引き込まれて。不可解な疫病が爆発的に広がって人々が世界中で発火して(燃えるんですよ、体の中から)ーまさに私が期待してたものだ!と。

しかしながら、その後ちょっと私の予想してた展開とは違った方向に物語は進みまして。実はこの点でちょっと肩透かしーって思いました(笑) スリリングな生死を賭けたホラーを予想してたんでですね。(ほら、「とにかく逃げろ!敵がくるぞ!」みたいな)

とはいえ、この本に知らないうちに引き込まれたのも事実でして。単なるホラーじゃなく、もっと沢山の要素が詰め込まれていることに気がつきました。Joe Hillのキャラクター描写は素晴らしく、登場人物間の複雑に入り組んだ人間関係とかそれに付随するドラマとか、もう素晴らしかったです。描写もパワフルで、感情を掻き立てられる場面もありやめられない部分も沢山ありました。

特に、Camp Whyndam でのキャラクターの力関係が変わっていく過程は面白かったです。ある衝撃的な事件をきっかけに、人の陰湿な部分があぶりだされて、これまでは優しい感じで描かれていたこの人がこんな悪い人に変わっちゃうの、みたいな。
この本が「ホラー」とカテゴライズされていいんだろうかと本気で思います。どっちかというとホラー要素を含んだドラマでしょ、みたいな気がするんですが。。

The Firemanを巡る最後の展開はどーーーーしても納得がいかないですが、でも当該シーンは非常にドラマチックで感動的でもありました。もー、言葉を失いましたよーーー、マジで。。。

この本が普段読まれるジャンルではないにしても、時にはその殻を破ってみるのもいいかと。
長いですよ、長いです、が、この本はおすすめで、私もまた今度絶対読み直します。だって、大事な部分とか見逃すの嫌ですから!!

Irreparable Harm by Melissa F. Miller

irreparable-harmTitle: Irreparable Harm

Author: Melissa F. Miller

Published: April 19th, 2011

Length: 417 pages (Kindle Edition)

 

Although this legal thriller (suspense?) seems to have gotten pretty good reviews overall, I found this was not my cup of tea.

The story opens up with a tragic plane crash killing everyone on board. Attorney Sasha McCandless is appointed to lead a defense team to protect the airline, Hemisphere Air’s interest and then she discovers that the plane was rigged with an unauthorized remote system which enables anyone on board to remotely control the aircraft for a good cause and -needless to say – a bad cause.

She is then joined by a Federal Air Martial Leo Connelly who has also been investigating the case and he tries to protect her from the culprits who try to kill her.

Well, I was expecting a more intense legal suspense story something you’d expect from Jon Grisham books – something that keeps you holding your breath, being anxious to turn pages.

But alas, this book failed to live up to my (maybe high) expectation; it lacked the aspect of suspense by divulging who the bad guys were (partially as it was) way too early in the story. I would have liked to have been kept skeptic and would have liked to figure out who the culprits were by myself.

Secondly, the characters were too weak; in particular, the villains seemed to be too dumb (far cry from formidable) and Connelly, who is described as a Federal officer, didn’t seem to be dependable at all, which was quite a letdown to me to be honest. Sasha seemed way smarter than any of the characters and it may have been exactly how the author tried to portray her, but again, it only reminded me of Angelina Jolie, who is generally portrayed as a strong, competent woman.

Overall, my impression and gut instinct toward this book was, ‘this could have been much better if only the author had made full use of all the resources in the plot.’ It’s got all the aspects – airplane crash, legal battles, conspiracy and suspense – which would have made this book more engaging and gripping, but it kind of fell flat, at least to me.

I’m not saying this book is a complete trash though. If so, I would not have finished this book. It was entertaining enough to keep me going until the end.

If you don’t expect full-on suspense from this book, this will make a good read.
I wouln’t say I love this book, but I would definitely say ‘it’s OK.’

 

この法廷スリラー(サスペンス?)は概ね高評価を受けてるみたいですが、私の好みではなかったです。

この本は悲劇的な、生存者ゼロの航空機事故から始まります。弁護士のSasha McCandles は顧客の航空会社、Hemisphere Airの弁護チームを率いるよう任命されます。そして彼女は当該事故機が承認されていない遠隔コントロールシステムを不正に搭載していることを突き止めます。そのシステムは、良きにも(当然悪きにも)働くという。

その後、この事故について調査していた連邦航空空軍中将、Leo Connellyが加わり、彼はSashaを敵から守ろうとします。

えっと、私もうちょっとこうスリリングな法定サスペンスを期待してたんですよね。Jon Grishamの小説みたいなの。こう、息を飲んでしまって、次へ次へと進みたくなるような。

でも悲しいかな、この本は私の(多分高い)期待には添えませんでした。早い段階で犯人は誰かというのをバラしてしまうので(まぁ犯人の一部、ですが)サスペンスの要素に欠けたんですね。私は「犯人誰かなあ、誰かな」って疑いつつ読みたかったです。

二つ目に、キャラクターの存在感が弱すぎること。特に、敵キャラが敵にしてはみんな間抜けすぎで怖さなんて全然ありませんw それにConnelly も連邦の役人のはずなのに全然頼りがいがなくて、個人的にはがっくりでした_| ̄|○ Sashaの方が誰よりもずっと頭が切れて、まぁそれが作者の狙いだったのかもしれないですが、私にはアンジョリーナ・ジョリーにしか見えなかったですw ほら、強くて自信有りげなところが。

全般として、私のこの本に対する印象というか直感としては、「プロット中の要素を最大限に生かしたらもっと面白くなったかも」というものでした。この本には航空機事故、法廷シーン、陰謀とかサスペンス、全ての要素が詰まっているのに、なんか滑っちゃったね、みたいなw 個人的には、ですが。

でも、この本が全くつまらない、というわけではないです。そうだったら読み終えてません。最後まで辿り着くに足る、興奮はありました。

この本にガッチガチのサスペンスを求めなければ、面白いかもしれません。
この本大好き!とは言いませんが、「まぁまぁいいよ」とは言えますね。