Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Just a couple of Stephen King books

I discovered Stephen King only over two years ago (it's sad, I know), fell in love with horror fiction and read a whole lot of his books in a very short time. Then I took a two-year-long hiatus from Stephen King (I talked about him a lot but only read a couple of books here and there) which ended last week. During the past week I read and re-read some books by King. These are my mini-reviews of two of them! (more later)

1. Cell by Stephen King

"Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of "normies," must fight for survival, and their journey to find Clayton's estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution." (from here.)

I don't usually like books about apocalypses, irrespective of the genre (I'm reading The War of the Worlds right now.) They can be predictable, and often, just pointless. But it's a Stephen King book, so it would be wrong if I didn't like it. I wouldn't call it one of his better books, but I was surprised by something which you don't see very often in King's works - a very fast pace. A lot of brutal action starts within the first ten pages of the book. The story gains a momentum that it doesn't lose until the very abrupt and effective ending. Needless to say, the characters are as great as the story. Survivor's accounts, as I said before, can be repetitive and there's not much room for originality. I read somewhere that the book is supposedly Stephen King's homage to zombie fiction; I haven't read enough books about zombies to be able to tell. But whatever they are, the idea of telepathic enemies is a good one, and makes this survivor's tale distinctive. The book has a lot of energy and is a quick, involving read. Once I was done reading it, I found myself revisiting the themes of the book in my mind. The book proves once again, that it is crazy to dismiss King as a genre writer. I would recommend it, though, to only those people who are already familiar with Stephen King: if you've never read any of his books, don't start with this one.

2. Gerald's Game by Stephen King

"The story is about a woman who accidentally kills her husband while she is handcuffed to the bed as part of a bondage game, and, following the subsequent realisation that she is trapped with little hope of rescue, begins to let the voices inside her head take over." (from here.)

The shocking number of bad reviews this book has, made me realize that I might just be physically incapable of hating a Stephen King novel. This was a very powerful story, according to me, in spite of the fact that there is little or no plot. In stark contrast to Cell, Gerald's Game has a slow pace to it that makes one page seem like one hundred. This works wonderfully well to show the terror that builds in the woman, trapped on the bed, for whom every passing second lasts a lifetime. King places you right inside the mind of someone who is scared out of their wits and is gradually going crazy. Put yourselves wholly in the narrator's shoes and it is psychological horror to the core. I can't think of anything more frightening. I do think the book is a bit overstretched; it could have been shorter or easier to get through, but it is a gripping story nonetheless. A must read for any thriller, horror fan (who does not read these genres solely for the fast pace.)

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

Gus looked over at the stacks of books. “That’s why I read so much. A book isn’t going to hurt me. A book isn’t going to form some opinion about me that could wreck my life. I learn about so many new and great things from reading. I keep to myself with a good book and a shot of whiskey and I’m right with the world.”

About the author: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap is written by author Paulette Mahurin, who is a Nurse Practitioner and lives in Ojai, California. She practices women's health in a rural clinic and writes in her spare time. The book was published in March 2012.

Summary: The story takes place in a small town in Nevada, right after Oscar Wilde was tried and convicted and homosexuality was declared to be a crime. Mildred and Edra are two women who love each other and want to live together. To prevent the townspeople from dragging them to a similarly horrible fate, they devise a plan to keep their relationship a secret. When Mildred, who has always been treated badly by the townsfolk, suddenly begins to show interest in Charley, a widower, they become the latest piece of hateful gossip and rumours. The book goes on to show us the disastrous consequences of prejudice and illogical hatred.

"He was frustrated by the ignorance he saw all around him, the lack of compassion and understanding, even worse the complete poverty of any comprehension that a poison lived inside these individuals and as long as they kept pointing fingers and saw their hatred outside of themselves, nothing would come but destruction."

My thoughts: As soon as I got the book, I sat glued to my computer and finished reading it by the time it was absolutely necessary for me to go eat something. It's been a long time since I read a book in one sitting. This is a very involving story that just draws you in completely and keeps you on the edge of your seat, eager to find out what happens next. It is a short but powerful read that manages to convey a lot of meaning in so few pages.

The characterization is brilliant. There were times when I felt like kicking some of the nosy characters myself and realized how effectively the writer had brought that feeling out in me. I love how the author has conveyed the most important messages, that sense of helplessness in the victims through dialogue between the characters instead of describing it. Being a huge Oscar Wilde fan, I found the discussions about his conviction especially touching and the way people were against him, especially irritating. Not to mention, the quotes by Wilde at the start of every chapter were wonderful.

Though the book is set in 1895, it is painfully relevant even today. This story ends on a relatively happy note, but it is crushing to think that most cases of oppression don't end all that well. The story presents all the different clashing points of view (in a biased fashion, maybe), but the point, for me, was not to show what is right and wrong. What the book suggests is to think before forming opinions, to honestly question your beliefs.

I would have liked it better if the back-stories of the characters were revealed in a less abrupt way and the author hadn't kept switching the narration back and forth in time - these things were noticeable while reading the first half of the book, but once I got to the very end, they didn't really matter much. Some books just deserve to be read by everyone, and this is one of those!

You can buy the book here, and also visit the Facebook page for more information.

I'll leave you with another wonderful idea to chew on, since the book has so many of those.

How I was raised is irrelevant. It’s how I feel now. What do I believe now? What has experience taught me? Have I used my head to look for myself? Or am I a puppet to someone else’s ideas?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Most Vivid Fictional Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is "ten most vivid book settings or worlds."
For me, it is the characters of the book that make me get completely involved in the story; but the setting makes the scenes come to life. Fantastical or otherwise, there are some fictional settings that have made a huge impression on me - from the Christmas-card-like Hogsmeade, which I can easily visualize, to Ankh-Morpork, which I can almost smell
Here's a list of ten most vivid (not always pleasant) book settings (in no particular older): 

1. Hogsmeade- from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

2. Ankh-Morpork - from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

3. The Overlook Hotel - from The Shining by Stephen King

4. Todefright - from The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt

5. The Kingdom of Lost-Hope (in Faerie) - from Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

6. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books - from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

7. Mulligan's Valley - from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

8. Series 10 - from The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chronicles of Chrestomanci) by Diana Wynne Jones

9. Death's Domain - from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

10. Hotel Savoy - from Hotel Savoy by Joseph Roth

Naturally, all these books were my favourites at one time or the other, and all worth reading! Which fictional worlds or settings do you love?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Flawed Angel by John Fuller

I was genuinely surprised to see the low rating this book has on Goodreads, because I thought it was fabulous.

The story takes place in a Middle Eastern Country in the 18th century.  The ruler (Akond) has two sons, the first a stillborn, or so they said. The younger one, Blom is an unfit heir to the Akond's kingdom and as the ruler struggles to make him the next suitable Akond, his mind keeps wandering back to the first born. Meanwhile, in a forest in a neighbouring village, there are rumours of an immortal wolf boy, half human and half beast who kills the villagers' goats and haunts the forest. A rich lonely man finds the boy and raises him as his own son. As the boy begins to grow up, his angelic beauty catches the attention of the girl living next door and she begins to relate to his loneliness. He too secretly spies on her. The story takes a turn when the girl is chosen to be the young Akond's bride.

This is a classic setting for a fairytale and we can guess what happens next. But the point of the fable isn't to create suspense, anyway. What is on the outside a simple, run-of-the-mill tale, has much more to give. The romance is subtle and the relationships are delicate and intricate and in story with such a hugely mythical air, very realistically portrayed.

Fuller adds another dimension to the story with the parts about a troop of deserters from Napoleon's Army who happen to come across this land and are invited to settle there by the Akond. Here we get to read Fuller's take on rationalism and progress.

According to tradition, the moment the younger heir turns twenty one, the ruler has to turn over the kingdom to him and leave the palace to settle elsewhere. As Blom begins to grow up, the interactions between the current ruler (Blom's father) and the oldest Akond are very touching and beautiful. They tell us a lot about life and satisfaction, seizing the moment and the fear of death.

The language is beautifully constructed and tugs at the heartstrings. The prose is a bit stilted in places, but easy enough to get through. The story is interspersed with little poems and sonnets which are apt and beautiful and give the story an even more fable-like quality. The tale is short and keeps you engrossed throughout. It is a gem of a book, really, and I am glad to have found it!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Waiting For Daybreak Blog Tour - Review and Interview


About the book: Written by Amanda McNeil, Waiting For Daybreak is a post apocalyptic zombie novel published in June 2012. 

About the author: Amanda is an energetic, masters degree educated, 20-something, happily living in an attic apartment in Boston with her shelter-adopted cat.  She writes sci-fi, horror, urban fantasy, literary fiction, and paranormal romance.  She has previously published short stories and a novella.

Summary/ Blurb: What is normal?
Frieda has never felt normal.  She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment.  But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies.  As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?

My Review

Richard Matheson's I Am Legend is the closest I had ever come to reading a zombie novel. The first half of Waiting For Daybreak reminded me a lot of it. There is Frieda, our main character: (with her cat Snuggles) suffering from a mental disorder (which happens to be the reason she survived this apocalypse), a typical survivor, with a fixed routine and a lonely life in her apartment. When Freida ventures out of her house (to get medicines for her sick cat), she meets Mike, another survivor, and the real story starts. 

The book is, on the one hand packed with thrill and action, and on the other, has a very emotional and thought-provoking side. What I appreciated was, how none of it is overdone: I specially liked the subtlety of the relationship between Mike and Freida. It is commendable, that such short a book about crazy, brain-eating zombies can seem, in a way, so realistic. It is also great, how the author has made a person with a Bipolar Disorder seem just quirky, because of the simple fact that she is surrounded by crazier 'people'. And that is really the point of the book isn't it; the question, what is normal? People often say that there is no point   in reading science-fiction or fantasy, because it is of no use to use. But I think, while such a book may not be like a real-life manual, it does make us question our very beliefs. 

The one thing that I might have had quite a bit of a problem with is the writing style, which I thought was slightly sloppy in places. The ending was abrupt and unexpected, but I guess it made the book different, unique in a way. Also, I would have liked to know a bit more about Mike and his past life. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it does require a little more work. That being said, I had no idea what to expect from a book about zombies, but I loved what I got! Let's just say, I don't know if I would recommend it to all the zombie fiction fans out there, but it can be a really good introduction to the genre.

Rating: 3/5

Author Interview:

How would you describe Waiting for Daybreak in just one line?
A character study wrapped in zombies.

What sparked the idea for this novel?
I work as a medical librarian, and I had been reading about fMRI scans of people with Borderline Personality Disorder showing that their amygdalas are a different size from those of people without a mental illness. I was thinking about that while I was walking home from the bus stop (I take public transit). It happened to be Thanksgiving weekend, and Boston empties almost completely out as most of the population goes someplace else for the holiday. The empty streets combined with the fMRI studies made me think: what if there was a zombie virus to which the mentally ill were immune?  It just flowed from there.

What part of writing Waiting for Daybreak was the most interesting for you?
I really enjoyed writing the zombie-filled perilous trek to the MSPCA. It’s where I adopted my own cat from and reimagining the route as a post-apocalyptic one was incredibly fun.

What is the biggest challenge when writing science fiction?
Making it seem plausible. You have to know enough science to be able to logic it out, as I call it. Is this a possibility on any level?  People who read sci-fi are smart. They know when something is more fantastical than scientific. 
What comes first - plot or characters?
Oh good question!  For me, the plot always comes first.  Well, I suppose not the entire plot. The basic central conflict.  Then the characters are formed and drive the rest of the plot.
Were your characters “borrowed” from real life?
I think the closest to a “borrowed” character is Frieda’s cat, Snuggles. Although my cat is a tortoiseshell, not grey, and is not allowed outside. Also, I used to have a downstairs married couple for neighbors, and they fought all the time, so Frieda’s downstairs neighbors who she overhears during the outbreak were definitely inspired by them. 
On a more serious note, I’ve had close relationships with people with diagnosed mental illnesses. So in addition to my medical/scientific knowledge, I have actual conversations and interactions to reflect on to say: how would Frieda respond to this? How would Mike? How would Frieda and Mike interact?

Which authors/books have influenced you the most?
Everything by Margaret Atwood, but especially The Handmaid’s Tale. That was the first time I stumbled into scifi by and about women. It rocked my world.  
I also find myself heavily influenced by Chuck Palahniuk and Stephen King.
Of course, I’ve been reading the scifi greats my whole life--Neuromancer, Asimov, etc...  You have to know the past of the genre to get a feel for the future.

Have your reading habits changed since you started writing?
Well, I’ve always written, so I’ll answer the question as since I made the decision to get serious about publishing.
Yes, definitely. It used to be that if I read a book and didn’t like it or enjoy it I’d say, “Well that sucked” and move on. Now I sit down and try to figure out why it didn’t work for me. That helps me know what to avoid in my own writing. I also do the same for books I love now. You have to actively think about what you are reading in order to continually improve your writing. 

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
First, stop calling yourself an “aspiring writer.” You either are a writer or you aren’t.  Second, stop stalling and just do it.  Everyone procrastinates.  Procrastination and hesitation aren’t signs you can’t write.  They’re signs you’re nervous and hesitant. Stop being nervous, sit down, and write. No excuses.

After Waiting for Daybreak, what’s next?
I have twoish chapters written for my next novel. It’s a dark fantasy in which the dark gods of Lovecraft fame have taken over the world and humanity has divided into groups that have vastly different ideas on how to deal with the problem.  I’m extremely excited about it because it’s my first book that will be written from multiple perspectives.

Check out the tour schedule at the author's blog, to read more reviews, interviews and participate in giveaways!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fictional Languages and Words

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted at The Brokeand The Bookish. We have to choose today's topic on our own. I recently finished reading A Clockwork Orange and Nadsat, the language in which the characters communicate is very interesting. 
Here's a list of Ten Fictional Languages and Made-up Words which I Like:

10. Parseltongue, Gobbledegook, (not to mention) Troll from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling - However, we never actually get to read any of these languages, which is a shame.

9. The word "Kerolamisticootalimarcawnokeeto" from The Book of Brownies by Enid Blyton - This was a magic word that Hop, Skip and Jump had to memorize and say, to do something that I just can't remember, but my sister might. 

8. Jabberwocky from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - Remember this poem with a lot of playful nonsensical words; I could only vaguely remember it, but I just re-read it and it is funny!

7. Hobbitish from Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein - I realize I need to read The Lord of the Rings as soon as possible, but until I do, this one is great.

6. The different languages from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams

5. The different languages from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett - The languages of the Feegles, the dwarves, Death of Rats are all crazily fascinating.
4. The Alien Language (often called R'Lyehian) from Cthulu Mythos by H. P. Lovecraft

3. Nadsat from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess - It took me a while to get used to the language but it was worth it.

2. Lapine from Watership Down by Richard Adams - This is the language that the rabbits speak. My favourite part about it is that since rabbits can't count above four, any number more than four is called hrair, which, I guess, means many.

1. Newspeak from 1984 by George Orwell - The section at the end, which gives a detailed analysis of Newspeak is actually  my favourite part of the book.

Which are your favourite fictional languages or made-up words?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice by A. S. Byatt

I think the beauty of a well-written short story, is that you can experience everything that a novel has to offer and experience it in a really short time. I appreciate the sense of fulfillment, as E. A. Poe put it, which you get from reading a tale in a single sitting.

When I picked up that little yellow book at the library, I had never even heard of this fantastic author. The pages looked and smelled rich and the book was small enough to fit into my tiny purse. I had already found the book I was looking for, and this one, I picked without giving it a thought. I had no idea what kind of surprise I was in for. The book is beautiful and I was fascinated right from the first tale, I read the collection in not more than a couple of hours.

Elementals: Stories of Fire and Ice by A. S. Byatt consists of six enchanting stories about passion and loneliness and love and hate, each of which transports you into a new world altogether. 
The first story, and one of my favourites, in this fabulous collection is called Crocodile Tears. It is about a woman who escapes the pain of her husband's death by running off to some place, only to meet another person there, who is just as lost as her. It is abrupt and on the outside, strange, but underneath it is just a compelling combination of inner violence and outward detachment. 
The story Cold is a Grimm-sical dark fairy tale, about how love changes you. It is the story of Princess Fiammarosa, the supposed descendant of an icewoman, who can only survive the heat of the day by dancing outside on the wintry cool nights. 
There is also a surreal and comical story about a woman who loses herself in a shopping mall and that about an artist who finds inspiration in a beautiful monstrous snake-like creature.

A. S. Byatt is a wordsmith. She weaves together wonderful words and beautiful sounds to create a magical, poetic language which, together with the feelings that the stories invoke in you, leaves you enraptured. It is also a wonderful introduction to the author, before picking up her bigger works. If you like fantasy, art or magical realism, it is a must read!

Re-reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Would it be crazy if I said that two weeks into being an English major has changed the way I see books?
Well, I re-read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 today; a book which I had first read only last year. In my review, if I remember correctly, I had written: "Imagine a world where books are burnt..."; which is probably the last thing you should say about this book, the part about "imagining". We live in a world where books actually ARE burnt, metaphorically, of course... um, for the most part. It's not only about censorship, the book, it's about how the world is slowly just drifting away from books, banned or not.
(Oh, by the way, this post might be Long with a capital L. I am just so tired of saying (and hearing) "powerful message" and "complex underlying themes" over and over again; I am going to write about the message and themes, not about how powerful they were.)

Let me just say I am not against technology, even though I am almost entirely incapable of using most of it, or development, and I don't think the book is against that either. Bradbury mentioned in an interview of some sort (I guess) about how he saw a husband and wife walking their dog; with the wife listening to a radio and with the both of them completely unaware of the actual life surrounding them. Haven't we all seen that some place or the other? Two people in a hotel, both busy on their cellphones? The world of Fahrenheit 451 is just a blown-out-of-proportions version of what we live in. A place where books are burnt, and people are just bland faces staring at TV screens. Our protagonist Guy Montag is a fireman, in a world where firemen don't extinguish fires but start them. Speaking of great beginnings, how about this one: "It was a pleasure to burn."

I mentioned in my earlier review, that I would have liked to know more about how they got to that world. This time around, I felt that what he's written was enough. It started with the minorities tearing out pages from books, until tearing wasn't enough. If you think about it, it's already started. And that's where the part about censorship comes in. I heard that Bradbury said somewhere that "the world will get madder if we allow the minorities to interfere with aesthetics." I agree, to some extent. Book don't have to show how the world should be. Most books that are censored, don't promote the things they are censored for mentioning (see: To Kill a Mockingbird, I don't suppose the person who banned it actually read it!). We have to get rid of prejudice in the real world, sure, but that doesn't mean we have to pretend in fiction that it doesn't exist.

But the one thing that kept bugging me the whole time I was reading the book (not re-reading) was why this! Why books? What is it about literature that makes it so powerful, so seemingly dangerous? I may have to re-read the book a couple of times more to entirely answer that. However, I think I finally know what it is about books that I love so much, personally, what I love about reading. A book is not like a movie, that stays with you for only a little over the ninety minutes that it actually lasts. A movie or even a song makes you wonder and be awed, but it doesn't make you think. I cannot watch a movie a hundred times and get something new out of it every single time. I don't really think anyone can, not as much as with reading. It is as if books have a life of their own. If you know me, you know how I always say that books leave a lot more to interpretation. I guess it is because those few words can lead thoughts to any direction. The same few words can form entirely different pictures in different minds; the characters can relate in completely different ways to different people. And you never know where they'll take you every time. Read a book on a beach and you are transported some place else, read it in a moving train and you feel something else entirely; reading the same book when you're bored and when you're happy can make you experience things completely different. You cannot read a book without really thinking about it; analysing it, without even realizing what you're doing. You may later even forget what actually happens in that work of fiction, but those thoughts stay with you forever. And every book, every single book, gives you entirely different thoughts, opens up doors to newer thoughts and feelings.

(...and so they went ahead and banned this book...)

If you have actually made it so far, you wouldn't mind telling me what you think about the book, would you? (And if you haven't made it this far, well... then, you're not reading this, so I don't really have to write anything for you...)

This review is a part of the Back to the Classics Challenge as a classic re-read. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Poetry: Do you like it?

Back when I started this blog, I wrote a post called Why Poetry Sucks - it's one of my most viewed posts, and now that I think about it, one of the most excessively critical posts on this blog. I had decided never to delete any of the posts I have written, just because I change my opinions; so instead of removing the post, I am re-writing it.

I don't like poetry, usually, because it doesn't draw me in as much as prose does. I think good poetry is very hard to write. I think a poem should not be vague for the sake of being vague. Inverting lines and using pompous words doesn't cut it; which is why, I don't like most of the poetry posted all over the internet; then again, I don't like most of the prose posted around the internet for the very same reasons, as well.
Once upon a time, I claimed I wouldn't like short stories, without actually ever having read a single collection. I had already decided I didn't like plays, when I discovered Oscar Wilde. Sometime last year, someone suggested that I read Poe's The Raven (I can't recall who) and I did and I liked it. I read a book last month, sitting in the library, a book of poems by Wordsworth; I liked quite a few and didn't quite like some others. Last week I was looking for books on Shakespeare and I flitted through the pages of a book of sonnets and loved almost every one I read. My point is - I change my opinions quite a lot, hm? Actually, my point is, I seem to form a lot of strong, uninformed opinions. And it may be time for me to inform myself about poetry!

There's a problem, though. I have a method set for reading fiction; I know whose recommendations to trust, I know what genres I like, I know the names of most of the authors out there. My books-to-be-read list is already four feet long! When it comes to poetry, what I have in my head is a white screen (of sorts) with a big question mark in the centre. I don't know whom to read, where to start and how to look for good poems. So I'm posting this hoping that someone will tell me about their favourite poems, the poets they like and the different kinds of poetry out there. What would you suggest?

The Architect by Brendan Connell

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

Summary (from here): The mad and mystical Körn Society, based in Ticino, Switzerland, sets itself the task of building a grand, soul-uplifting Meeting Place for its members. An inspired architect, a visionary in stone, must be found, and one such is available: the mysterious and unpredictable Alexius Nachtman. But is he perhaps too visionary?

This is the effect of his book of sketches:

“Huge edifices, megastructures, poured from the leaves. Bridges which spanned oceans, towers which stretched into the clouds, huge fortresses which looked as if they could withstand the destructive force of an Armageddon. Vertical cities rose up from desert plains in startling anaxometrics, while spatial cities, cities built fifteen or twenty meters above their counterparts, stood forth as visions of utopian architecture, only to be outdone on subsequent pages by floating cities, vast nests of hexagonal pods resting atop lakes and oceans. Structures which straddled the earth and others which burrowed under it. Buildings which brought to mind lost civilizations or seemed to be the habitations of beings from another world . . . ”   

Despite doubts, he is hired. And so, in this adventure of marble and mortar, of machines and workmen, of cult and manipulation, the most bizarre construction project since Babel commences its Cyclopean growth.

My thoughts: I finished reading the book a couple of days ago, but I couldn't get myself to write this post, because it doesn't really seem enough. This is the sort of book, which, once I'm done reading it, I will put away with a happy sigh, a "wow" and wouldn't really try to dissect it. But it's also a "review copy", and I have to write a review. It's impressive, which was the first thing that popped into my mind, along with the words weird, fascinating, powerful, complex, bizarre, surreal. The imagery is fantastic, the descriptions are vivid and what I could see in my mind while reading the book was spectacularly close to real. The story moves at a fast pace, and while there is not much scope for character development, it makes for an engaging read. I have only just started reading weird fiction, by authors who are not Lovecraft and as I was reading the book, I thought of every single one of them at one time or another. It is masterfully crafted, as they say, and beautifully written, and I cannot even imagine how much thought went into it (which is not something I feel quite that regularly, when reading review copies.)

That being said, I don't think it is a book for everybody. I am not sure if every reader I know would like the book or the style of writing. But I am definitely going to recommend this book to all those, who I think would! Not to mention, there is another book by the author on its way to my doorstep at this very moment, and I can't wait to dive right into it!