Book Review: It by Stephen King

28094574

Photo via Goodreads.

Title: It
Author: Stephen King
Date Read: September 8th – September 16th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 18th, 2016
Spoilers Ahead?: Yes!

Introduction: I heard there was a new It movie coming out through Collider Movie Talk on Youtube, so I decided that I wanted to watch not only the new movie, but the Tim Curry one. I had recently rewatched Rocky Horror and Clue and I remembered how much I loved Tim Curry as a child, so why not watch a horror film with him in it when I’m an adult? I prefer to read the books before the movie, so going in I can understand any plot holes the films leave hanging around. It took me a long while to find this book, but when I did I started reading it ASAP. And for over 1100 pages, I managed to finish it in under two weeks.

Quick Summary: Derry, Maine is a small town with a big problem – It. It, a dark creature, is killing kids left and right, and it seems to appear in a cycle, about every thirty years. When a group of kids that were not killed by It come back to Derry, they are going to have to face their greatest fear – Pennywise.

Evaluations: In short, this book is super weird, but it is also well written and the plot was well thought up. I was under the impression this book would just be about some psycho killer clown, but it is so much more! Pennywise/Robert Gray/It is not just a clown, he/it is a supernatural entity. You can tell that this is true through how it changes into different creatures throughout the novel (vampire, werewolf, mummy, the dead kids, Pennywise, spider, etc). I wasn’t impressed by the fact that this was supernatural, since I really wanted Stephen King to just write some strange killer clown story, but somehow that supernatural aspect was the only negative part of the book. Every chapter has a reason for being there (even if some of them are painful to get through or seem worthless when you are reading it. I’m not kidding, for a while someone is making a hamburger) and everything ends up connecting at the end or becoming part of the theme. There is definitely some weirder scenes that seem out of place – Beverly sleeps with all the boys out of nowhere – but if you try to pick apart themes within this work, you can place these strange scenes for that purpose.
Overall, I liked it! It did require me to do some research as to why the weird scenes exist so I would understand why they were necessary, but the book was worth it.

Plot: The plot is relatively simple – a supernatural entity (We’ll call it Pennywise in this review), kills kids every thirty years or so in a cycle. It kills Bill’s brother, and goes after Bill and six of his friends. The kids somehow escape Derry and end up coming back to Derry as an adult when Pennywise has reappeared in the cycle to kill more kids. Bill, Bev, Eddie, Ben, Mike, Richie, and Stan come back as adults, and they have to remember how they got rid of It as kids. And then, they decide they are going to kill It for good.

That is the 1100 plot in short – there is definitely a lot going on in this book. A lot of tough subjects are brought up in the book and written relatively well (abuse, childhood, innocence, homophobia, racism, sexism, imagination, among others), but there were some points that left me a little bitter.

Stephen King has Beverly sleep with all the men/boys (when I read the novel, I took it as a kid she slept with all the boys and made them lose their virginity, but some readers have expressed they believe it happens when they are adults. Stephen King does not always make it clear in the novel when he hops along the timeline). This chapter sat rather strange with me because she had not interacted with other boys in that way before, yet she somehow knew what she was doing and had relatively no pain. It wasn’t realistic (I know this is a supernatural story) and it just didn’t sit well with me. It also, at first, doesn’t make sense why in the world this is included other than to make this a more rated R story, but it fits into some of the theming within the novel.

I also had an issue with the nonlinear aspect of the novel. I appreciated the novel jumping back and forth from childhood to adulthood with these characters, but I would have liked the chapter to express that everytime it jumped so I wasn’t left wondering which timeline version of Pennywise they injured and how certain relationships kept going back and forth from great to meh.

Characters: “It” has a lot of characters, so I’m only going to focus on a few of them.
Pennywise – The demonic entity with many names was an interesting character. Stephen King does write in Pennywise’s point of view, and I felt like that kind of ruined the mystery of Pennywise. Up until that point, I was excited for Pennywise’s scenes and I was trying to figure out his motives, but then when the POV came around it ruined it all for me.
Once I got over Pennywise being a demonic entity and not just a really cool psycho clown, Pennywise becomes an interesting character. It induces fear into children and does not appear to adults (minus the kids that then become Adults, and somehow Bill’s wife Audra). I was left wondering why this demon kills kids, and there wasn’t much of an explanation that I found. Perhaps after further research I may find theories from others, but I was really left hanging.
The character was scary, and that was great for this novel! When Pennywise did appear, whether it was as the clown, the spider or anything else, it was thrilling. He was well written, so I’m impressed!

Beverly – Beverly is the only female in the Losers’ Club, and as both a child and as an adult she appears to be the sex symbol. She slept with all the boys, Bill and Ben love her, and she has constant abuse against her from her Father and her Husband. I wish Stephen King wrote better female characters – strong ones, independent ones, not totally sexualized ones – but alas, he does not. His male characters shine! His females seem to suffer.
The aspect I liked about Beverly was I could fit her to the theming of this novel. While she may not be a strong, independent woman, she can help a reader tear apart of the themes!

Bill / Audra – Bill is kind of the main character throughout the story, and his wife is Audra (he also cheats with Bev because he still loves her, but those feelings disappear as soon as they sleep together even though they both enjoyed it together more than with their spouses). Bill stutters, and as soon as Pennywise is gone at the end of the story he doesn’t stutter anymore. Of course, because he’s the main character he gets a hot wife, and he gets his school boy crush to sleep with him, because he’s the main character. He also becomes a famous writer and gets super rich!!
But aside from his character, it’s his part of the plotĀ  that frustrated me. While Bill is a smart character and his action/horror scenes are great, he leaves some plot holes for reader speculation. His stutter disappearing makes me wonder what caused them, and it really left me hanging. Readers have theories, but not one distinct one. Also, near the end of the novel Audra is essentially comatose, yet when she gets in their vehicle and they start driving she’s magically back to normal. Was this because Pennywise is gone? Because they left Derry? There’s no explanation, and again, readers can’t agree on the why, just that is happened.

Themes/Creativity: This book is super creative and has theming. Whoever comes up with a clown that is also a vampire, mummy, frankenstein’s monster, werewolf and spider and can make a best selling book out of it is clearly creative.

But now for the themes.
Adolescence/Childhood/Innocence/Imagination/etc – Stephen King addresses the move from innocence into experience well. Bullying, familial issues, crushes and more situations that kids face are addressed in this novel. He does an excellent job, and I could go on and on about the hundreds of scenes he has written, but I want to address one theme within this one.
Beverly sleeping with all the boys appears to be out of place, until you start placing themes together. When you read the chapter before, Beverly figures out how they must destroy Pennywise. (When you read in the story that Eddie makes his asthma inhaler spray out acid at Pennywise, this connects as well) Bev decides to sleep with all the boys and take their virginity – at first it seems very odd, but then you realize she is taking their innocence away from them. In some strange way, this shows the move from innocence to experience. To be able to defeat Pennywise, they need to be able to be imaginative, but they also have to eventually become adults.
The Losers’ Club couldn’t have kids, which shows they are more “innocent” than “experienced”. An adult has to lie to children and make kids believe it, yet they know that they are not telling the truth. They can tell a lie like it’s honest, like warning kids not to go out at night because there are clowns in the storm drain. Adults might know that is not true, but they can lie and make it seem true. Kids would believe this, and then they would try to think up ways to kill this evil clown so they can stay out later – like acid from the asthma medication. It tastes like acid, so why isn’t it acid? Kids have wild imaginations, and only when they move from innocence to experience do they lose some of their imagination.

King also addresses topics such as racism, sexism, domestic abuse, prejudice, and more, but I wanted to focus on that adolescence topic. In all of his themes, he does a magnificent job.

Uniqueness: After reading Carrie, I can definitely say this book is unique. Not only for just any old writer, but for Stephen King. It addresses theories yet is a thriller/horror novel. It has a clown that is a demonic entity that is also every fear the kids have come to life. This book is definitely unique, and I haven’t found anything like it!

Strengths: Stephen King putting themes into the novel was a real strength. The fact that I could pick apart the novel and try to make theories made my inner fan girl self super happy.
The plot all being significant to the story was also a real strength. Most novels have filler chapters, but everything mattered in this book!
The time line – while it is also a major weakness, jumping from the past to the present helped build the story!

Weaknesses:
The women were really stale – I would love for Stephen King to write a strong, female character in the future.
The demonic entity was a bit of a let down / weakness. The “big reveal” of the supernatural aspect leaves a lot of readers feeling cheated. I would have rather the kids just have wild imaginations that made them see vampires and werewolves chasing them since they were told not to stay out after 7pm rather than the demon becoming those creatures.
The timeline – more notice about what time period the chapters were in would have been nice.

Score: 5 out of 5. Throughout this entire novel I was glued to it! Rarely do I find a novel where every page has me hooked (especially a 1100 page novel!).

Advertisements

Quick Review: Vreeland by Gabriel Strump

 

24911779

Photo via Goodreads.

Vreeland is a very cute novel!

This novel is an interesting one, since I would not label it as a story you read to children, yet it’s not exactly Young Adult material either. It seems to be placed somewhere inbetween the two, since there is romance and fighting that seems more along the lines of Young Adult, but the plot line seems very childish, like something I would read to a six year old.

I did find this novel extremely hard to read. The author types out the accents of the characters, so letters are not meant to sound like how they are supposed to sound. For example, V is an F. Vreeland is Fairyland. Vood is food, avraid is afraid, vree is very, vavorite is favorite. H is an R. You’he is you’re, wehe is were, they’he is they’re. Drakonfly is dragonfly. There are many more examples in the book, those are just some I pulled from the text. And then there is the word cree, which I still don’t understand which word it is. And then sometimes, on top of these letters, the rule wouldn’t exist anymore. There wasn’t consistency.

Reading these words over and over did not make it easier to understand. I’d go back to the novel and be confused as to what they were talking about, and by the time I understood what all of the different letters meant I was tired and had a headache.

I also found the plot line to not have a good flow. I couldn’t figure out what the actual plot was. Usually there is a beginning, a conflict, a solution and then an end. There didn’t seem to be a real big conflict or a solution, the story just seemed to exist. It seemed like a story someone would make up to tell a child, with no distinct plot line but just random babbling. But, with the romance and fighting scenes, it seemed to be pushing the PG rating so it would go into Young Adult novel for those scenes.

I did enjoy this novel though. Despite all the problems it had, it was a very cute novel! Although, I would more likely read the novel to a child rather than suggest it to a friend. It seems like a book that would be much better suited in the manga or anime world, or even as a picture book! The story would fit much better with more pictures than just the few in it! It could bring children lots of joy!

Overall, it was an okay read. I wasn’t entirely impressed with it, and I love novels about fairies and fantasy and make believe!

Two out of five stars! The novel was hard to read with the mix matched letters, the hard to follow plot and the confusion over what age group it should be read to.

I received this novel for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Review: Hashtag Magic: Blue Screen of Death by J. Steven Young

22603818

Photo via Goodreads.

 

Hashtag Magic Blue Screen of Death was a sweet novel that bordered on paranormal and fantasy fiction.

Blue Screen of Death seemed like it was trying to be the next Harry Potter for middle school aged children but with the desire to also be a Young Adult novel. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot line and the writing style, which seemed to be aimed at the Young Adult spectrum. Although, the plot itself seemed geared towards a younger audience.

I really enjoyed reading the novel, but I found that the plot became to confusing and needed a lot of explanation. Despite thoroughly reading this novel, I kept going back and re-reading parts to understand what was going on. What were these Runes described? Why was there a blue cat? There were far to many questions for me than answers.

Despite these minor issues, I really enjoyed this novel. It was cute, well written and well planned out.

Two out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

10140661

Photo via Goodreads.

Gabriel’s Inferno was a sexy, sophisticated read and I am desperate for the next novel!

When I went to the book store and I wanted a Sylvain Reynard read (after reading The Raven) the book store associate warned me this was a “Fifty Shades of Grey-like novel”. Man, was that associate wrong!

This novel is far from Fifty Shades of Grey! The only comparisons I could find is that: they are both not short novellas, they are full length novels. They are also both romance novels, but many novels are romance novels.

Gabriel’s Inferno follows Gabriel and Julia (Or Julianne, a la Gabriel). Julia is shy and inexperienced in the land of boys. Gabriel is her professor. When Julia and Gabriel realize they know each other from a long time ago, their history brings them together and intertwines them.

The novel starts off rather slow, but once I was into it I was hooked! The novel is very sexy and seductive! If anything, this novel could have improved on throwing more romance and drama in before the finale of the novel. The secrets characters hold are revealed at a good pace, and the characters are not one note. Each character has many layers to them, which makes this read thoroughly addicting.

I’m hooked! Five out of five stars! Sylvain Reynard can do no wrong in my books!

Quick Review: The Castle of Desires by Neale Osborne

18872955

Photo via Goodreads.

 

The Castle of Desires was an interesting book that had two main plot lines: reality and stop motion.

The italics of the story was based in stop motion, at least that was my impression. The stop motion story was very strange and hard to follow in my opinion, but was well written. It wasn’t a story that I would want to read again, but I would suggest people read it due to the nature of the story. Two stories that link but don’t appear to.

The actual story following the real life adventures of Max, who isn’t what he appears to be. The story starts out very boring and slow, but picks up pace about 80% of the way in. Once you’re there, you are hooked and don’t want to put the book down!

Overall, the story was well planned out and written well, but it didn’t keep me to interested. At about half way through the book I was tempted to put the book down but I struggled through it. Neale Osborne could improve with his next book by putting more twists or action into his plot to keep it interesting.

It was good, and I liked it, but I would label it as “okay”. It didn’t stand out to me like other books have in the past. But still a great novel! Neale Osborne is a fabulous writers!

Those interested in Hollywood, fiction, and original stories would like this novel.

Two out of five stars.

I received this novel for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: Pin Drop by Roz Monette

SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

28061723

Photo via Goodreads.

 

** spoiler alert ** Pin Drop was shockingly incredible and was far from what I expected it to be!

I hate to say it, but Pin Drop is one of my favourite books in a long time! It has many wonderful elements that flow smoothly together and make it a fantastic read.

To begin with, this novel has a sarcastic sense of humor. Not an incredibly rude one, but a perfectly timed sense of humor. I loved this aspect of the novel. The main character, Pin Drop, has great timing and makes a comment at just the right time to brighten the novel up with a splash of humor.

Then, the story has an excellent set of characters. These characters are all unique and have different backgrounds, which is a good start. But, Roz Monette continues to build on these characters by adding more to their back story and personalities. None of the characters act out of place and they all grow throughout the novel. I appreciate that in a novel, and this brings this novel up another level compared to other similar books.

Roz Monette also adds to this novel with a beautiful, realistic plot. A young girl left to fend on her own in the current age – it happens more than you think! This plot shows how strong a girl can be and what people will go through to keep themselves safe.

Within this plot, to make my inner girlie girl happy, Roz throws in a small love story. It was sweet, cute, and also realistic for this time period. There were a few bumps in this, seeing as an adult man was willing to stay with a teenager, but that to happens in the real world so it didn’t affect the novel to much. I just see that bothering some readers in the future – but it’s not a terrible flaw, it shows character within the love interest. He actually likes the woman, not the looks or reputation it will give him (it’s not like she’d 13 and he’s 25, she’s almost an adult – 17 -so it seems very realistic)

If that wasn’t enough, the overlying theme of the entire novel was fantastic! If you work hard, stick to your guns and be strong, you can get through this. The many layers to this story show the main character going through hard times, but she continued to work through each of them. Yes, she had hiccups and speed bumps along the way, but she kept working to keep herself safe. She was determined to move her life forward, and that’s what she ended up doing.

Overall, I loved this book! I wish it were longer and had a billion sequels because I loved these characters so much!

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Quick Book Review: The Shadow (The Florentine #2) by Sylvain Reynard

25476303

Photo via Goodreads.

 

Sylvain Reynard has another incredible novel in The Shadow.

This is the sequel to The Raven, and it doesn’t disappoint. While this novel doesn’t seem to move as fast as the first one, it is still delicious and intriguing.

I liked this novel, but I didn’t exactly love it. Yes, I was obsessed with knowing what would happen with the characters but I felt like it was missing something. There was a good amount of romance in it, and the action lacked a little. I felt like this book was more of a set up, since it explained a lot of the vampire politics involved in the story.

This series does have at least one more book (I heard a rumour it was two) so this book ended at the perfect little cliffhanger. It wasn’t a cliffhanger that left me angry at Sylvain for making me wait, but it was just enough – leaving me desperate for the next book but willing to wait.

Overall, I did enjoy this book! The first book was so incredible (and so was the Gabriel’s series) that I had really high expectations for this book, perhaps too high.

Four out of five stars. I can’t wait for the next book, I want it now!