She was squinting at the thermometer in the white light coming through the window.
– first sentence
I am a huge Stephen King fan since I was a teenager but it has been a while since I read some of his books. Lately, I started listening to the audio versions of his older books and it is quite fun to revisit them in a different format.
First, I have to say that if you are listening to the audio, and haven’t read the book before, skip the author’s note. It’s not part of the story, and you can listen to it at the end. Otherwise, you will hear a spoiler that reveals the end of the story. 😦
I enjoyed listening to this and am going to watch the movie this weekend just for fun and to see the differences. I do know that Ben Richards (in the book) is not built like Schwarzenegger. Most times, it’s listening to his gut, his brains, or just plain luck that keeps him alive.
This was just okay. I didn’t really like any of the characters and I didn’t even hate the villain enough. The main character is a psychologist who doesn’t seem to notice that her daughter has symptoms of psychopathy. I’m not giving anything away. If you’ve read any books or seen any movies about psychopaths, then you know how it goes: no emotions, no sympathy or empathy, hurting animals, etc. How does her mother not notice?? She’s supposed to be so busy, but even when the principal calls her in to talk about her daughter’s behavior, she still doesn’t see it. I found this part hard to believe.
Then there’s the killer (who is already in jail btw). When the doctor goes to see him, she gives him a test to see if he’s a psychopath. Remember, this is the woman who can’t even see it in her own daughter. The killer occasionally breaks into song – children’s songs to be exact. It’s a little creepy but more annoying than anything.
I listened to the Alien Audible Originals and they are also performances. I liked the format in that case. But for this one, it didn’t really seem to fit. Also, it was broken into episodes which was kind of jarring and involved a lot of music. The first time this happened, I thought the whole thing had started over because it also restates the title and author.
At least it was fairly short.
If I had to sum it up in one sentence:
A watered down version of a Hannibal Lecter story.
What year these events transpired is of no consequence.
– first sentence
Overall, this book was just ok. The children were supposed to be brilliant, but never really talked to each other (or their parents) about the supernatural experiences they were having. The father, John Calvino was my favorite character in the book; he was deeply troubled and haunted by the murder of his parents and sisters (and his killing the murderer) that occurred many years ago. However, despite his supposedly close relationship with his wife, he never confided in her about his fears nor she in him about the weird things happening. If any of them had spoken to each other, the power of the “evil” would have been somewhat thwarted. Calvino is a police detective and somehow manages to reveal some of his suspicions to his boss and his partner, but not his wife (not until much later anyway). The time Koontz spent on the partner and his actions seems wasted as he didn’t end up playing as big a role as I thought he would.
The story had some holes and some of the descriptions were a bit overdone. But the end was interesting and the idea that one utterance could cause someone to be so haunted that they basically invited evil to follow them was interesting. The audio was well done and I enjoyed listening but I don’t really recommend this one.
I read this one for Snakes and Ladders:
9. Author’s last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K
The bucks have all been passed and the arguments thrashed out until they don’t even bleed anymore.
– first sentence
This book is a prequel set in the same world as The Girl With all the Gifts. A group of soldiers and scientists are traveling in the Rosalind Franklin (an armored motor home set up as a mobile research station); their mission is to find data that might lead to a cure for the Hungry plague. In addition to the soldiers and scientists, there’s a teenage boy genius, Stephen who seems to be on the autistic spectrum. He developed the e-blocker that keeps the hungries from smelling humans in both this book and GWATG.
If you haven’t read Girl With all the Gifts, you should definitely read it first. This book isn’t quite as good but I still enjoyed it. The scope of this book is much smaller than GWATG, and we already know some of the information that this team is gradually discovering. But it was interesting to see what happened to leave the Rosalind FrankIin where the team in GWATG will eventually find it. I loved listening to the audio because of the narrator’s British (?) accent which fits in perfectly with the story.
The epilogue was a bit jarring. I don’t want to give anything away, I just didn’t get why Carey would go there with the ending.
Dorian Sudler knows he shouldn’t smoke.
– first sentence
This is a dark story, but that isn’t different from the other alien stories. It focuses on corporate and human greed and the evil greed creates. Weyland-Yutani had a backup plan if Hadley’s Hope (Aliens) didn’t give them the specimen they craved. They created an isolated scientific research station called The Cold Forge and transported eggs there to be stored for future research. Blue is a scientist who suffers from a debilitating genetic disease but she is also a genetic researcher. Her condition has declined to the point where she is bedridden, but she is able to function by transferring her consciousness into an android body (Marcus). Blue and the other researchers are using chimps to gestate the aliens from the eggs and produce xenomorphs. Dorian is a Weyland-Yutani hatchet man whose job is to find ways to save the company money. He is at the Cold Forge to figure out why the scientists haven’t produced results yet.
Dorian is a despicable character that you will enjoy hating. I spent most of the book hoping he would die, and die painfully. Marcus is an interesting character who manages to generate sympathy despite being an android. I understand Blue’s need to find a cure, but she doesn’t care who or what she hurts to do it. She isn’t exactly likable, and I often questioned her decisions.
The book is well-written and the characters are fully developed though not all are likable. The threat of the aliens is constantly there, but the characters (as usual) don’t see it. The reader, on the other hand, is waiting for them to escape and kill everyone. The book brings up the question of animal suffering for the sake of research, and even questions whether it’s ok to cage the aliens and cause their suffering.
I enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of the Alien universe.
River of Pain –
I really enjoyed this performance; the story, characters, sound effects, and music all came together perfectly. I felt like I was listening to a movie. The atmosphere is amazingly scary and claustrophobic. And as others have said, the woman who voiced Ripley was perfect. I liked how they created a brand new story that took place between Alien and Aliens (the movies) and I liked the explanation for it. Overall a very entertaining listen that will be fun for any fans of the Alien universe.
Out of the Shadows –
The overall production of this one was great with the same claustrophobic, scary atmosphere as the first. But I didn’t love the story or the characters as much. Still entertaining, but just not as original or interesting.
Sea of Sorrows –
This was my least favorite of the three. I just didn’t buy the distant descendant of Ripley having a psychic connection to the xenomorphs. I also didn’t like any of the characters. I didn’t connect with any of them and found myself waiting for them to die.
All that being said, I flew through these books. I found myself always wanting to listen to them, even though they are all basically the same formula:
– Humans go where they shouldn’t or mess with things beyond their understanding
– The humans are somehow connected to Weyland-Yutani (which is greedy for money, power, or both, without regard for human life)
– An android works against the humans in service of Weyland-Yutani or in rare cases helps them
– The xenomorphs come and the humans underestimate them
– There is a lone survivor (or maybe a select few)
Anyway, if you are a fan of the Alien movies, these stories are a fun revisit to the universe – and might make you want to watch all the movies again (like I did last weekend).
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the town of Castle Rock, Maine.
– first sentence
This is a reread for me and I didn’t remember many details. I think I avoided it because of my love of dogs. I listened to the audio; Lorna Raver gives an excellent performance and helped me get lost in the story.
I was surprised by the beginning stuff about the monster (serial killer) Frank Dodd. I found myself wondering what that had to do with the rabid dog. But this story isn’t about a rabid dog. It’s about evil… evil and coincidences. It’s also a look back in time at what was once thought acceptable in a marriage.
As the story progresses, the parts with Cujo are separated by the stories of the Trenton family and the Camber family. Each family is dealing with their own issues, and these ultimately lead to the events which conclude with the showdown of mother and child trapped in a Pinto by Cujo.
It broke my heart to listen to Cujo’s thoughts as the disease progressed and he gradually went mad. But it was easier to read/listen to than it was to watch the movie. All I really remember from the movie is the part with Cujo and the car. I might have to watch it again just for comparison.
So, is an Evil force controlling the events that lead to the heartbreaking conclusion, or is it just coincidence? Does it even matter?
I’m using this for “C” in the Goodreads HA A-Z challenge.
Louis Creed, who had lost his father at three and who had never known a grandfather, never expected to find a father as he entered his middle age, but that was exactly what happened…”
– beginning of first sentence
The first sentence sounds so innocuous, and yet this is the novel that Stephen King himself has called his scariest. Perhaps because it centers on death and how fear of death can compel people to do the unthinkable.
I am currently rereading Stephen King books that I haven’t read in decades. I listened to IT a couple of years ago because I wanted to refresh my memory before I saw the movie. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to try the audios of more of his books. When I saw that the Pet Sematary movie is being remade, I decided this should be my next listen. I am glad I did. This book was scary and totally immersive – I was obsessed with listening to this. Michael C. Hall gave an amazing performance. I was constantly picturing him as Louis Creed, even while I kept seeing Fred Gwynne (from the original movie) as Jud Crandall.
I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good scare. 🙂
I’m using this as “P” for the HA a-z challenge on Goodreads.
It was nine-thirty on Christmas Eve.
This is a dark, gothic, ghost story. The narrator, Arthur, recounts his experience at Eel Marsh house with the Woman in Black and how it changed his life forever. The story has haunted him for years and by writing it down, he hopes to be able to forget.
Arthur goes to Eel Marsh house to settle the estate of a reclusive old woman. At first, he tries to find reasonable explanations for the noises coming from the empty marsh. Then he realizes that what he hears is an echo of something that happened years before.
This is a slow moving story that gradually builds suspense and fear. The house is isolated on a marsh that can only be reached at low tide (it reminded me of The Elementals in that sense). As in that story, the isolation makes Arthur’s experience even more terrifying.
The audio is well done and I enjoyed listening. At 4 hours and 33 minutes, it is one of the shorter audiobooks I’ve listened to, but it didn’t exactly fly by. It’s a good story, but a bit on the old-fashioned side for me.
What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?
– first sentence
This is a terrifically terrifying story. I love the way the tension builds slowly. We know something terrible happened in the past, but we aren’t quite sure what. We also know something even more terrible is coming. The feeling of claustrophobia grows as the story continues and the town is closed off from the outside world. The evil is frightening and stays with you even after you put the book down.
The prologue was a bit confusing, but it made more sense once I got to the end of the book. I actually went back and reread the prologue and understood it much better.