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2011 Book Review

February 2, 2011

A1. Carrie by Stephen King

  I’ve decided I’m going to work my way through Stephen King’s books in the order that he wrote them, starting with his debut novel, Carrie.

  One of my concerns upon starting this project is that I tend to use my audio books to help me fall asleep.  And since I once had a doctor suggest that reading Stephen King’s books right before bed might be the cause of my nightmares, I was a little concerned.  I figured Carrie wouldn’t be much of a problem, since most of the “horror” aspects don’t show up until the very end.

  It has been several years since I last read Carrie.  The last time was for my Banned Book Review project, something I remember only because I was recently going back through those.  The review from there still stands.  Not nearly as polished as his later works, but still powerful.  The motivations of various characters seem a little odd thirty-five years later, something that should always be taken into account when reading older books.  Then again, there are some authors who need to spend more time reading older books to avoid the trap of applying modern attitudes to historical situations.

A2-5. The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris

  The inspiration for the True Blood series, the Southern Vampire Mysteries are nonetheless not quite the same as the TV series.  True, the first three books roughly follow the plots of the first three seasons, and the characters are similar in both, but there are several pretty significant differences.  Without getting into too many spoilers, let’s just say that the TV show takes several liberties with the character relationships.  I thought this was actually a logical change in the case of Season 1’s Big Bad, since it seemed awfully weird to me that Sookie had apparently known Big Bad for quite a long time and just never noticed that the Big Bad was Fucking Evil.

  I do wonder how season three is going to handle the events of Dead to the World, considering some of the things which happened to Important Character X on the TV show.

A6. ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

  Back to the Stephen King novels.  Unlike Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot hits you up with the horror right off the bat.  No pun intended.  At first I tried to avoid listening to the book at night before bed, but then figured what the hell, it’s not like my nightmares are all that predictable anyways.  Also unlike Carrie, ‘Salem’s lot doesn’t suffer as much from the “moral motivation” tarnish.  I had several “Thank Bob for feminism” moments while listening to Carrie, and only one or two while listening to ‘Salem’s Lot.  I think because Carrie focuses mostly on high school age girls, whereas ‘Salem’s Lot is mostly men.  I do appreciate King’s classic take on the vampire genre, though I did wonder at the exponential growth of vampires.  It seemed like everyone who was bitten turned, which should make for a lot more vampires in the world.

A7. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

  Joke’s on my doctor, y’all.  After getting through two Stephen King novels nightmare free, I get halfway through the fluffy vampire novel and have a nightmare.  After listening to Dead to the World, I was beginning to wonder if Sookie Stackhouse was going to become Anita Blake and sleep with every man who crossed her path.  So it was nice to have a whole book where Sookie sleeps with absolutely no one, though she does suffer from “Everyone thinks I’m sexy” Mary-Sueism.  This, incidentally, is lampshaded in Dead to the World rather well.  Warning: Link goes to TV Tropes.  And since this book deals mostly with the shifter side of things, it did answer a question I’d been pondering about Harris’ assertion that only the first born is a shifter.  As it turns out, only the first born of any *pairing* is a shifter.  There’s still the question of whether or not it’s only the woman’s first born and how exactly that effects the gene pool.  Given how Definitely Dead is heading, it may answer that question eventually.

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