Saturday, June 29, 2013

Memory Lane: "It" by Stephen King

I often feel downright guilty about going back to re-read a book when there are so many others out there that I haven’t read. It’s especially bad when that book is nearly 1,500 pages, and I know with my limited reading time, that it’s going to take me a couple of weeks to get through. That’s why I’ve had Stephen King’s “It” ($9.99, Signet)on my reader for a couple of years, but put off diving back into it.

Well, at least that’s part of the reason. Another part is that “It” has stood, for many years, as my favorite modern horror novel. I last read it as a teenager, though, and there’s always that niggling doubt about how my 40-year-old self would perceive the tale. Indeed, I did come away with a different take, but I’ll save that for a little later.

A plot summary is probably not necessary for this book, but I’ll give one anyway. “It” is set in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, where a lot of bad things tend to happen. In cycles of 25 years or so, really bad things – and a lot of them – happen. King introduces us to seven kids who are brought together by a strange bond. They’ve seen terrible things, and they begin to understand what lies at the root of the evil in the town and plan to destroy it. Years later, most of them are successful adults in various fields and have mostly forgotten their childhoods, but when the cycle begins again, they’re all drawn back to Derry for one more showdown with their old enemy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: "Grimoire of the Lamb" by Kevin Hearne

With book six of the Iron Druid Chronicles, “Hunted,” due out later this month, Kevin Hearne treats us to a quick story from Atticus O’Sullivan’s past with “Grimoire of the Lamb” ($2.99, Del Rey).

The story begins with Atticus receiving a call about an ancient Egyptian cookbook that he has in his collection. It’s one of the more innocuous-seeming books that he rescued from the Library of Alexandria before its destruction. Most contain powerful magic and dark spells, but this one seems only to have recipes for lamb. Intrigued, Atticus demands that his Egyptian caller come to the U.S. to meet him in person and negotiate the price of the book.

As it turns out, the book, which Atticus has nicknamed the “Grimoire of the Lamb,” contains much darker secrets than what’s for dinner. When the mysterious buyer snatches the book and defeats Atticus’ magical attempts to stop him, the druid finds himself in Egypt and facing the power of more than one ancient god.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Review: "Mistborn: The Final Empire" by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn: The Final Empire” ($7.99, Tor) may have spent a record amount of time on my to-read pile. The hardcover got shuffled around for at least a year or so, and when the paperback came out, I added it to the pile as well, where it spent quite a bit of time. I never seemed to get around to it, though.

After enjoying what Sanderson did with the conclusion of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, I thought it was time to give some of his works a try. I looked at “The Way of Kings,” but I wasn’t really ready to start another monster epic fantasy series that might take up a couple more decades of my life. So I returned to “Mistborn,” which had always seemed to have something that interested me, but never seemed to make its way off the pile.

I’m sorry I waited so long.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Random Rants: Seeing Red

Sunday night I logged on to Facebook to find dozens of shocked and awed comments from friends and acquaintances about “Game of Thrones.” Even though I’m a season behind on the series, I knew immediately that they’d hit the Red Wedding.

I have to admit to getting a little annoyed. The “I read the book” snob came out in me, and I posted a snarky comment saying that I was tempted to tell everyone what happens next. Of course, I wouldn’t really do that, but I did have this irrational aggravation about what was going on.

Maybe it’s the metal kid that still lives inside me, but whenever something I love becomes wildly popular outside its genre, I feel an acute sense of loss. It’s hard to explain, but I don’t believe I’m the only one.