01 The Write Elements: December 2015

Sunday, 13 December 2015

A Midsummer Night's Scream - R. L. Stine - BIG NO

In sites like Shelfari they can ask "do you recommend this for anyone"? People, I don't hate you enough.
It's a no. Just No. I don't swear but this time F*** NO. Heed my warning.
I had to put down my food - I was having a very nice cake which I lost all appetite for - before I gagged on it and just stare at this in utter disbelief.
I don't usually - or ever often - read horror but now I know why. I can never trust one again.
He ruined one of my fave plays and I absolutely CANNOT forgive Stine for that.
Cause if you're gonna ride on the back of an amazing, well-thought-out, moving, memorable Shakespearean piece like Midsummer Night's Dream to do a horror novel - which, might I add, don't get me started on how put-off I was at how left-field it was from a Literature(!!!) Great...at least put some back into making it a worthwhile plot.
Talk about shallow and vapid. Yeah the deaths were horrible and gruesome because it's so twisted and visual but where's the depth?! I'm back to remembering those awfully cheesy slasher flicks where there's the killer in a hockey mask with his axe and the track is going "shing-shing-shing". Why? That's the limit of the imagination of the author. Zero. Zilch.
And the potions which were so immensely important in the plot that Claire kept gettin wrong, but insisted on using till the very freaking end?! I wanted to throw one at her, showering her with flakes of the she-thinks-it's-the-love-but-actually-not potion.
The biggest issue I have though are the damn CHARACTERS. My mind went further to create personalities for them since - oh I don't know, they had none! I rarely ever read about characters - ALL - who are That one-dimensional. That's the only word for it! 1-D. And instead of leaving it to just the four main - ugh - you add the bimbo, cause there must always be a bimbo in every guy-written book? Doesn't it hurt you, Stine, to write something like this? Let alone putting it out there for your readers. And your publishers, I'm sorry, but what were you thinking? I'm embarrassed for you - for the story!!
Apparently Stine is a great horror writer...so he rode on his own name to produce this? Even when I was 5 I gave my characters - who I consider my FRIENDS - some thought! And it ruined Puck for me, completely! A freaky bearded psychopath. Really?
Don't waste your time or brain cells on something so trivial. Not even if you were tortured.
Now not going to touch the book again except to dump it back to the library and hope it gets buried somewhere deep and dark. Where it belongs. And it's so not a compliment.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Magic Rises - Ilona Andrews - HOLY SHIT

The book that makes you read it again. Heck read the whole series from the start!
That is seriously what I'm doing right now, though I know it's usually reserved for the finales - I personally don't believe and think there should never be a final book.
Ilona is one of those authors who you can't get enough of.
When I saw the book I was in utter disbelief, and I was too exhilarated to sink my claws into it. 
I felt like how a cute, chubby kid had sniffed out the cookie jar. 
(Maybe it's not a good idea to put claws and chubby kid in the same thought...)
Needless to say it's been a long while since I read the series but I found it so easy to get back into the flow of things because of how well the story was told. The plot was centred around the Pack needing a rare medicine to prevent the shapeshifter children from dying if they went Loup. Worthwhile cause to go headfirst into another crazy adventure - though I truly think this takes the Panacea. The problem had been a long time coming since there were instances in previous books - like with Julie, so that was a refreshing new tale to tell and it added more characters from other packs as well as a mystery to be weaved into it. The plot didn't take much of a backseat thankfully, it keeps you going; even with the characters taking up your brain capacity, with the addition of the oogly-boogly freaky shifter (no not the weredolphins - which pretty much ruined dolphins for me, unfortunately) that jumped in out of nowhere, you're not bored I can tell you that much. Especially at the very end, GIMME THE NEXT BOOK. Heehee.
Now to continue with what's important. Truly. Them Characters.
I love Kate, I truly do. But when you read through you'll suddenly be shocked at how  emotionally charged-up she is. And you know she doesn't act like this since her emotional wall is built so high. Her thoughts and feelings were more how someone my age reacts to someone they love. Absolutely emotional turmoil going on here for her AND you - I can assure you of that. There will be moments, especially if you're female, where you don't think and just have a string of "no no no no no" playing across your mind. Then you cry. Then you get frustrated. Then you hate things. Then - for me - you feel for Kate and H*** (who turned out to be an interesting -yeah we'll leave it at that- villain, but still a sexy *ahem* guy who should be scorned, though thankfully was finally brought up in the flesh)
Personally on a deeper level I believe Kate acted that way - not only to keep the story moving - to show how much she truly loves Curran - who you would agree through 60% of the book was supposedly a total a** (I'm adding all the weight I can muster behind this word; and I won't be ranting on this because it'll never end. I don't even know what to think of him anymore!!).
You will absolutely feel what she feels, even when it's absolutely not rational, and when you finally find out the "plan", if you can really call it that ...it's a "guffaw"-impossible-I-didn't-catch-it-before-now moment. Though I still don't like what he did!
In other words, Ilona still writes where you can FEEL - laugh/ache/cry (really!) - for the characters you love. I do wish for more on Derek, who now has a looming, dark cloud hovering over him. I've often wondered what will happen to him and even when the book ended I still didn't get a sense of what Ilona has planned for his future.
SPOILSIES then there's Doolittle. Gosh I love the good doctor but once you get to that specific time when he just Looks at Kate...let's just say my opinion somewhat changed. Way to be grateful.
I won't add a name here because I would be as cruel as the worst villain in literary history if I did. But I do have to say I was heartbroken when I was reading the end of the book. You don't expect this rollercoaster of emotion to happen throughout this wonderful story as well as when IT happens. The death..was uncalled for. The impact really hits you and it's worse if you love the character - I find them heroic like any good m****** are.

Everything in Magic Rises just gets you going and doesn't want to let you go.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Tell the Story to Its End - Simon P Clark - did NOT finish

Image from Google
It was my mum that picked up this book for me, quote unquote The Title Was Interesting.
Reviewing it from the outside is easy. I would say to immediately pick it up, whether you're adverse to seemingly-hauntingly creepy stories. You can imagine so many amazing things that could come from the cover graphics and title.
Just look at this liner and any bibliophile would be intrigued. Your heartstrings are pulled with that quote alone.
Image from The Social Potato
The book certainly had a unique idea that went into it - for a winged creature Eren to feed off of stories told by Oli, or possibly anyone else it can find. Now that is the selling point. That's what readers are here for.
Instead of us witnessing the struggles of a "hero" and his fight to remain in control. It's Basically the devious and powerful entity being all devious and powerful, whilst weakening a defenceless little boy who just wants to feel strong - ouch.
It's my working theory that if you have the tolerance of a saint...try it *sense my cracking voice with pained fake enthusiasm*
But honestly, I wanted to fling the book right back to the library Returns right after borrowing it.
I'm left in a super confused state. I read from the front, and thinking the title was creative I read from the back, groaning in agony, read in clumps of pages, random quotes, attempting to follow the story along, re-reading a part again, brows furrowing, slamming the book in frustration five times, looking at the scenery, looking at the book cover, looking for other reviews, questioning where the minutes went...
That was my process for this book.
I. Didn't. Get. It. And I tried to. I really, truly tried to. The writing doesn't do the idea justice, if the idea was totally substantial at all. If the protagonist was meant to be unmemorable and plain so he can get easily sucked in to Eren's temptations, then it was done perfectly. Zero character development; I didn't even feel the need for a "gang" to be with Oli, even though he made friends who eventually didn't help him At All. The characters were added just for the sake of it.
The plot took forever to get to what happened to the dad - which was the "point" of moving to the relative's place - so much so you can form dozens of your own opinions and still not have it clearly explained, so you're left hanging. It's not a movie. Hanging on till the last moment with snippets of "don't mention your dad to me now" outbursts, Because that may be the way to keep a "gentle" reminder that Oli and his dad were "suffering"...not helping.
The idea was to also give the readers views and sequences between fantasy and reality - showed by the different fonts used - but honestly the "fantasy" bit Till the end - where there was finally something happening with Oli, but won't spoil - was drivel! You don't have to always explain everything in dialogue form that makes it more painful. Where's the art of showing your readers what's in your head/going on in the characters' world? Please, I used the "show, not tell" line my English teacher pounded into our heads for essay writing. Don't make me do that.

As a writer, please, tell me the story you want to tell me till the end...just not like this.