Month: July 2015

Angels Of The Deep

Angels Of The Deep by Kirby Crow (2 out of 5 stars)
 
 

Why two stars? I am torn about this book. Many of its merits turn against it, ending up as flaws. For example:

 

It has extraordinarily beautiful language. Kirby Crow spins pure magic with her words, making the reader see and feel everything as if they are present. However, the long descriptions slow the book down, to the point of halting action and becoming a chore. Much as I loved the details on decoration and the poetic description of landscapes, the atmosphere etc., from a point onwards I wanted things to happen and the story to move forward.

 

The atmosphere is stifling, foreboding, bleak. Crow captures the very essence of winter, heavy with hopelessness and despair. This continues relentlessly throughout the story to the point of becoming depressing and sometimes tiring. I often put the book down because I needed a break.

 

The protagonist, Becket, is miserable and beating himself for his failings and incomprehension of his place in the world. It’s very convincing and it makes you feel for him. You can taste his despair. Unfortunately, this happens for 240 out of 296 pages. So much angst and self-loathing desensitises the reader, and finally succeeds in making them bored and unsympathetic towards Becket. At least that was how I felt.

 

At one point, another hero thinks of who the protagonist really is and how the entire story has come to be. For almost five pages, we’re given all the details neatly wrapped in that person’s internal monologue. Yes, it is helpful, but I would prefer Crow to give the details through the story itself, rather than amassing so much info in such a straightforward way.

 

The romance between the two protagonists is a battle of wills that frustrated me more than stimulated me. Every time things were about to heat up, Becket stepped back, drowning in self-denial and shame and plain stubbornness. Moods and mannerisms changed from playful and skillfully seductive to aggressive and condescending in a matter of seconds. There isn’t always a realistic explanation or a smooth transition from intense flirting and absolute openness to anger, denial and irony. I would have preferred a more subtle and even approach. Then again, I didn’t write the book, so what I would have done is a matter of personal preference.

 

Crow has a very interesting and complex mythology as a background, but the way this mythology is presented is chaotic and often unconvincing, statements conflicting with actual happenings. We learn that Becket belongs to a race that care about themselves only. However, throughout the book Becket exhibits the exact opposite behaviour. I think Crow found the idea plausible as an angle, but didn’t present it in a convincing manner. The other members of the same race appear aloof and uncaring about everything, failing to ignite even a spark of interest in me. They were figures in the background. Even their imminent demise failed to stir any feeling. They felt two dimensional.

 

To sum up, it is an interesting but uneven read, with strong merits and equally strong flaws. If you enjoy long, dark, lyrical descriptions with an anguished, tortured protagonist, mystery and gore thrown in, you will love it. I struggled through it, loved some moments, hated others. I would suggest trying it out for yourself.



*My star rating and what it means: 
 
Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.
One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.
Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.
Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.
Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.
Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.

The Nightmare Factory

The Nightmare Factory by Thomas Ligotti (5 out of 5 stars)

This is the most refined, rampant brain sickness I’ve ever come across, and it was disguised as a book. Words can’t describe the impact of these stories. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, you must read this author. Just keep in mind Ligotti’s prose is even more nightmarish, vague and unsettling. It reminded me of an exhausted, fevered man, slowly drowning in quicksand made of leprous, rotting matter, struggling and screaming in vain. The landscape is desolate, swampy, forsaken. Every life born there is born flawed and sick, and serves only involution and degeneration. Each lungful of squirming dirt that man inhales takes root in him, killing him and claiming him, bringing ecstatic visions of death and the other side of Creation. It’s the side that serves only the blind, ever-changing void of reason, the Darkness that birthed everything and humans masked it as a benevolent God to retain their sanity. Ligotti sees behind that mask, and brings back gifts meant only for the brave, and those ready to embrace that same void inside them.

Please DON’T read this book if you aren’t a hardcore fan of Lovecraft ready to be taken several steps further into madness and decay. Here be dragons. End of transmission. Off to eat cake and hopefully restore a portion of my brain to a semblance of function.

 
 
*My star rating and what it means: 
 
Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.
One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.
Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.
Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.
Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.
Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.

Twilight, Dead Until Dark, Enthralled

Three more reviews. Two negative, one neutral.
 
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (1 out of 5 stars, did not finish)*
 

 

Um… No. Not my kind of thing. I can see the appeal of the invisible girl winning over the hunk-who-doesn’t-date, but the writing style is poor and some of the relationship elements are rather disturbing. I tried to read it and could not finish it, so I passed it on. 

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (0 out of 5 stars, did not finish)*

 

Another no. I didn’t like the writing style at all, and when this happens I can’t get into the book. The narrative was juvenile and the heroes two-dimentional. I gave it a perfunctory read and passed it on to someone else.

Enthralled by Kayci Morgan (2 out of 5 stars)*


Pros: very easy to read. In its own way quite sweet.
Cons: Too short, therefore everything happening too easy and fast. Relies on well known ‘recipes’ of the vampire genre instead of actual development.

Good, clear writing for a free ebook. The writer shows promise. I would like to read something longer by her.


*My star rating and what it means: 
 
Zero stars: Why me?!?  I do come across books that aren’t really books, but brain damage in disguise. For reasons you can all understand, I won’t be publishing reviews on them. I tend to become enraged and say things I later on regret.
One star: Meh… I didn’t like it and won’t be keeping it. It might be the book, or it might be me. I’ll try to clarify in my review.
Two stars: Average/ Okay. Either the kind of light/ undemanding book you read and don’t remember in a month, or suffering from flaws that prevented it from realising its potential.
Three stars: Better than average. Good moments, memorable characters and/ or plot, maybe good sense of humour… Not to die for, but not feeling like you wasted your time and money either.
Four stars: Wow, that was good! Definitely keeping it and checking to see what else I can buy from the same writer.
Five stars: Oh. My. Goodness. The kind of book you buy as a gift to all your friends, praise to random strangers on the bus, and re-read until the pages fall out and the corners are no longer corners, but round.