Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Horror Marathon Book Discussions!

Hey, y'all! As y'all may (or may not) know, back in June, I started a series of posts where I do short discussions about all of the stand-alone books that I read. The second post of that series is in the works (just one more book 'til victory!), but since I did a horror (or just generally creepy/suspenseful books) reading marathon in October, I decided it would be cool to do discussions on those books separately. These discussions will be entirely spoiler-free and fairly short. They're also in order of when I read them, in case anyone was curious.

by Grady Hendrix

I really love horror, whether it's in movie or book form, but it was the formatting that drew me in. For those of you that don't know, Horrorstor is a new novel (released Sept. 23!) that is formatted like a furniture catalog. The premise of the story is that our main character, Amy, works at a furniture store that's an Ikea knockoff (which everyone in the book actually acknowledges). Some odd things have been happening overnight, so her manager asks her and another employee to stay with him overnight and try to figure out what has been going on. And as you might guess, it's a lot worse than anyone might have guessed. I absolutely flew through this book. I was just too curious to know what happened. I started it before going to bed one night and then finished it the next day. It was really intriguing and fast-paced. I'd heard that it was a pretty typical horror novel, so I wasn't expecting a ton, but I was actually pretty impressed. Yes, there were certain aspects where I thought it fell on typical horror tropes, but in general, I thought it was pretty unique. It definitely wasn't perfect though. I thought that Hendrix could use a few pointers in how to write suspense. In the first half of the book, there were several times something was supposed to be suspenseful, and because of the way it was written, the suspense didn't translate. Overall, it wasn't amazing, but I did enjoy it.

Also, one of the coolest aspects of the book is the way the chapters are presented. I don't want to spoil anything, but if you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about!

I'll give it 7.5 stars out of 10. 

172 Hours on the Moon
 by Johan Harstad

Let me start out with the fact that I enjoyed this book. There were definitely some things that I had problems with, but overall, I enjoyed it. The first thing that kinda bothered me about the book was how long it took before really getting interesting. It wasn't until around page 100 that we started to see creepy things going on, and even then, it wasn't incredibly exciting. Things got interesting when they got to the moon, but that was halfway through. Too much build-up for me. My second problem was the romance. I wouldn't exactly call it insta-love, but it didn't seem to serve a real purpose and felt just kinda thrown in.

This last problem I had is slightly harder to explain without spoiling, so I'll try my hardest. At a point near the end, there is a twist. To keep the reader in the dark about the twist, Harstad has a certain character do things that make literally no sense given what that character knows. Yes, it keeps the reader from discovering the twist until he reveals it, but once the reader finds out about the twist, they're like "oh, then why did that thing even happen?" Sorry to be so vague, but I don't want to spoil. If you want to know which moment I'm specifically talking about, feel free to ask!

However, excluding those problems, the book was enjoyable. It was very suspenseful, and until we discovered what was actually going on, I had no guesses as to what was really happening. Once the characters got to the moon, it became really fast-paced and I really didn't want to put it down. If you're wanting to read this, I'd tell you to power through the first 100 pages. It took me a few days to read the first half of the book, and a few hours to read the second half. It really picks up. I've complained about a lot of things in this book, but overall, I did like it.

In the end, I gave it 8 stars out of 10.

The Diviners 
by Libba Bray

When I started this book, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. All I knew was that it was set in New York City in the 1920s and that it was creepy and paranormal. It took me a little while to get into it. Adjusting to the slang of the time and remembering what was and wasn't acceptable in that time took a little while. But once I got into it, I was hooked. The fact that it was nice and long was really great for me, because it allowed me to actually get invested in the characters and the storyline. I really loved the pacing. The mixture of suspenseful, creepy scenes with the slower sleuthing scenes was really great. One aspect that I really appreciated was that for most of the book, a love triangle was alluded to, but it wasn't until close to the end that anything happened. However, I was really annoyed by which guy she went for. But supposedly, there are 3 more books coming, so that gives Evie three more books to fix her mistake. I actually didn't know until I got near the end of the book that it was going to be a series. I'd been reading it under the assumption that it was going to be just a stand-alone. I'm really excited to pick up the second book when it comes out, because I really, really enjoyed this one. I wasn't sure I'd like it, but I thought it was great. 

Overall, I had to give it 9.8 stars out of 10. 

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

The first thing that I have to say about this is that it was very well-written. Gone Girl was very clever and kept me guessing for a very long time. The unfolding events that are crafted by the characters are very intricate and well done. It took me a very long time to figure out what the truth was and who to believe, and I really like that. I also really appreciated that we're not really supposed to completely like either Nick or Amy. We see even from the beginning that they both have their issues and that they're both flawed people, and I really like that.

One bit that I wasn't such a huge fan of was the ending. And by ending, I don't mean "Part 3" when everything begins to wrap itself up. I mean like the last 10 pages. I thought everything up to that point was really great. But those last 10 pages... nope. However, I do think it was appropriate for the book. For my own contentment, I wanted to change those pages. But they worked. In that sense, the ending reminded me of 1984.

I don't see this book becoming a long-standing favorite of mine that I re-read thousands of times. I think that my praise for the book is due to about 60% appreciation for the complexity of the book and how well-crafted it was, and 40% personal love. Yes, I did really like it, but my feelings toward it lean more toward admiration of a well-written novel than something that I feel extremely personally attached to.

I have to give it 9.5 stars out of 10. It's just incredibly well-crafted.

So there you go, those were my discussions for my October horror reads! I hope you enjoyed this post! I've got a lot of things planned for the near future, so just be ready for that!

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