I finished out the year by reading two award-winning books!…
512 pages | Tor | Sci-Fi/Fantasy | Release Date: 08/04/2020
Harrow The Ninth dives back into the dark futuristic world of Gideon The Ninth as Harrow begins her journey to Lyctorhood. Not all is what it seems and Harrow learns some secrets refuse to die. Muir brings her signature blend of cerebral horror, fantasy, and gore with a side of (purposefully) obnoxious humor that will keep dedicated readers wondering …what’s going on? How? Who is that? Wait…what?…
9 hrs. 8 min. | Horror | Harper Audio | Release Date: 5/13/14
From To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before to Crazy Rich Asians 2018 was the year more book adaptations skyrocketed into the pop culture zeitgeist. Bird Box came on the scene at the end of the year with the popular Netflix film that spawned its own memes and challenges.
Bird Box is a 20 Minutes Into The Future post-apocalypse story where people see something outside that makes them murderous. The book begins with Malorie and two 4-year-olds leaving an empty house and getting into a boat to head down the river blindfolded. Flashbacks from four years earlier are interspersed, showing how the panic started and how Malorie got to the house.
The tension builds as we learn how Malorie and her housemates have to suddenly navigate a world blindfolded. I liked the survivalist aspects of this book, I’ve kind of gotten into books that make me wonder how long I could survive on the canned food in my house.
What was missing for me was character development. It’s revealed early on there were once other people in the house where meet Malorie but they all felt like blank slates, I couldn’t tell any of them apart or what their purpose was. I don’t read much horror so I don’t know if plot over character is a convention of the genre or that is just this book.
The audiobook was done by Cassandra Campbell, I’ve enjoyed her in the past but this wasn’t my favorite performance of hers. It felt muted and didn’t fully bring me into the story.
I have watched some of the Netflix movie and I enjoyed it so much better than the book. Sandra Bullock is great and the movie fleshes out the motivations and creates connections between the characters in a way the book never did.
The guy who wrote Bird Box’s Netflix adaptation is also writing the Leigh Bardugo Netflix series and I can’t wait to see what he does with it. He seems to have the ability to capture the spirit of a book without making it literal.
Release Date: 09/26/17 | 25 hours 22 minutes | Simon & Schuster Audio
When a mysterious virus causes sleeping to grow impenetrable cocoons, the entire world goes up in chaos and the final battlefield for humanity will involve a whole cast of characters in the small Appalachia town of Dooling, Maine...oh wait, West Virginia. This one takes place in West Virginia.
I’d been eyeing this book for a while because the premise sounded intriguing and let me tell you, the King men know how to weave together a tale with a vast cast of characters. One of my complaints with the few King books I’ve read is how poorly many of the female characters were written and I was curious about how female characters would fare in a book about women. I mean look, do I think a story about toxic masculinity told through the lens of horror tropes should be written by a middle-aged white dude and his Dad? Maybe not, but they do an okay job. I would in no way call this a feminist book because despite all the feminist epigraphs this book opens with, most of the book comes down to a schlubby middle-aged white dude savin’ the day. I mean, you could actually take most of the women’s POV out of this and still leave the story intact.
Also, yes this book is problematic for the way it leans hard into the gender binary.
Now let me talk about the audiobook narrator, Marin Ireland. She absolutely brings this 25-hour audiobook to life. Yes, I said 25 hours and I’m glad I’ve started moving into 1.5 speed on audiobooks or I ever would have never finished this behemoth. This is one of those thick King (…and King) novels that has a cast list at the beginning and she managed to create a unique voice for each one of the Dooling townsfolk. I feel like this book could have easily gone array because of the West Virginia accents but she does it well. Although I kind of side-eye how only the lower class characters get the accents.
Also bonus, the audiobook has an interview with the King men at the end that was fun to listen to!
This book is dedicated to Sandra Bland which feels a little tone deaf after reading this book because it has a scene at the very end where an innocent black female character is killed by a cop by mistake and we’re supposed to sympathize with the cop.
“When you’re twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It’s only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect that you’ve been looking at the map upside down, and not until you’re forty are you entirely sure. By the time you’re sixty, take it from me, you’re fucking lost.”
― Stephen King, Joyland
Release Date: June 4th 2013
Hours: 7 hours and 33 minutes
Publisher: Hard Case Crimes
Audio Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Yep, I’m reviewing an adult book. I’ve been listening to the Book Riot podcast lately where they discuss mainly adult books, and it’s made me want to get into more adult lit. Now, I read a few of Stephen King’s well known short stories like Children of the Corn and The Langoliers in high school. And while I never found the stories interesting enough to take on a full novel, I remember the stories and writing were good, so I figured I’d start my adult reviewing with Stephen King….