Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Christopher Moore - Coyote Blue

I'm still fairly new to Christopher Moore's work but so far, his books have never failed to entertain me. Coyote Blue is no exception with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments - my husband was seriously worried that I was going to fall off the bed eventually from the cackling. I don't know enough about Indian gods to fully understand the underlying mythology referenced in the book but it didn't stop me from enjoying the story. Moore spins some really zany scenarios and you just have to go along for the ride. The protagonist, Samson Hunts Alone, is a likeable guy and as a reader, I couldn't help but cheer him on as he goes on his quest with the crazy god by his side. However, my absolutely favourite character would have to be Minty Fresh - how does someone even begin to imagine naming a character that?! The book is by no means perfect but it's easy to overlook the flaws and just be pulled into the story and enjoy every minute of it. I know I did!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

China Miéville - Un Lun Dun

What an amazing story! Un Lun Dun is spectacularly imaginative and the UnLondon that China Miéville has created is endlessly fascinating. Certainly, there will be comparisons to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere that also features an alternate London called London Below (Miéville acknowledged Neverwhere as a source of inspiration) but Un Lun Dun is uniquely charming in its own right. I loved the characters and the surprising turns that the story took. I kept expecting Book to discover that it was wrong about the prophecies all along and it was actually Deeba who was the Schwazzy, but I liked how Miéville stuck to celebrating the sidekick – you know, the funny one. The madcap universe of UnLondon (and other abcities) was absolutely delightful; my favourite inhabitants were the binjas and utterlings. Oh, and of course, Curdle, your very own pet milk carton. Un Lun Dun was an utterly engaging and entertaining read and I would be happy to revisit this weird and whimsical world with carnivorous giraffes and half-ghosts again and again. Now, can someone tell me how I can get my very own rebrella?

Scott Smith - The Ruins

It's kinda sad but I'm an absolute sucker for horror movies, even though I get completely terrified. Why I torture myself, I have no idea. I read a review about the movie, The Ruins (which I haven't seen), and found out that it was based on a book. I do enjoy a good horror read too so I decided to look for this book on BookMooch. I took this along with me on my honeymoon in May and I finished reading this on the flight to Bali. I won't give it the same kind of lavish praise that Stephen King did, but The Ruins is a decent horror novel. It was sufficiently creepy with plenty of WTF moments and a constant growing sense of doom and despair. Sure, the story was riddled with plot holes like a slice of Swiss cheese, but once it picked up pace, all of that was inconsequential and it was hard to pull away from the tale. I would have preferred it if at least one of the characters found a way to beat the vines and escape (just one happy moment, please!) but I guess the tragic ending really reinforces the utter bleakness of the situation, which is probably what the author was aiming for. The film is certified fresh on RottenTomatoes so I'm looking forward to see how it compares against the novel.

James Thurber - The 13 Clocks

I sought out this book because it was highly recommended by Neil Gaiman on Amazon. Thankfully, my local library made the purchase and I was able to borrow it. The 13 Clocks is a clever little fairy tale that is deceptively simple and charming. Kids will find it a blast but I think it will also appeal to the older crowd. Thurber's amazing use of language, including all the delightful made-up words (which I'm trying to work into my vocabulary range), really adds to the story and I can imagine kids just begging for more when it's read aloud to them. This doesn't quite make it to my list of all-time favourites as the story is just far too brief, but it sure is an enchanting and wonderful fairy tale that all ages can enjoy.

Neil Gaiman - The Sandman: Endless Nights

I completed my Sandman odyssey with the graphic novel that had seven separate stories, each featuring a member of the Endless. I was really looking forward to reading this as for me, the best part about the Sandman series was the Endless siblings. While I didn't like all of the stories, there were definitely more hits than misses. I thought the stories that featured Death, Dream, Desire and Delirium were brilliant. The one with Despair I didn't really care about, while I thought the rest were okay. Overall, a great collection and it gave readers greater insight into the Endless. My one complaint about the Sandman series was that the Endless featured far too infrequently so Endless Nights certainly fit the bill. For Sandman fans, this is definitely one not to miss.

Alan Moore - Watchmen

Oh dear... I have been extremely slack with updating this blog with my latest reads. This goes back quite a few months now! Oh well, better late than never, I suppose!

I borrowed Watchmen from the library before the movie was released as I wanted the opportunity to read the graphic novel before watching the film version. It was a good thing that I did because Watchmen was incredibly complex and it would be impossible to capture everything in the movie, although I did think the movie did a decent job. For people who brush off the comic medium as kids' stuff, this one certainly ain't for the kiddies. The novel was very dark and gritty, reflecting the turbulent times in the world at the time of its publication. Even though it was published in the 80s, the material did not feel dated. Watchmen probably won't be everyone's cup of tea (it did get a bit much for me at times) but it was certainly very interesting and thought-provoking - definitely worth a look for someone interested in exploring the comics genre.