Friday, 28 May 2010
It was clear in Chapter Two where this novel was going, but I think that was intentional. It’s a bit like a crime novel where you’re presented with a corpse, so you know someone was murdered, but you climb aboard to find out why; you know the outcome, but you want to know the how and why. This is like that. You buy into the ride.
And it’s a pretty damn good ride.
Unfortunately, like the best rides, it’s over just a little too quick, but it leaves you wanting more. There is an incredibly fresh feeling to the writing that makes the voice of Paul come across as genuine, and a similar underbelly of black humour to Henry Tumour.
The other characters are great and Anthony McGowan has pushed the boundaries in order to make his baddy, Roth, something more than a cardboard bully. How he does this... well, that’s for the reader to find out. It certainly made me sit up and think, ‘Oh, he’s never going to go that far!’ Brilliant.
As for Shane – the mysterious, cool, confident leader of the nerdy goth/freaks (his words, not mine!). I felt a bit short changed. I wanted to read more, especially when hit with a scene of Shane self harming. That was enough to crack the too-good-to-be-true image that Paul had built up, giving him a shadow that I really wanted to explore. But, maybe a sprinkling of pepper is better than a coat.
Overall, good, strong teen fiction. A little too short, but still worth 5 stars.
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Three hundred and thirty six thousand words.
That really needs it's own paragraph. This is one monster of a book, and a great story. I've been up, night after night, until the hours are late and my eyes are dry, glued to every page.
In brief, this is the story of a small town cut off from the outside world by an inpenetratable force field they come to call The Dome. No one can get in to help; no one can get out to escape. For one man, that isn't such a bad thing. As he tries to take dictorial control over the town, the body count mounts.
There is something about this book that feels like it was written in the eighties alongside The Stand and IT. On the downside, the characters aren't as well drawn as the kids in IT, and the story isn't as impressive as The Stand. It also feels way too long. There are a lot of sections that could be trimmed or cut, and having finished it, the story that stays with me doesn't reflect the size of the book.
The other thing that got me was the mystery aspect: what the dome actually is and why it's there. It felt like Series One of Lost when they find the hatch. In fact, there's a reference to Lost in the book, so maybe King's a fan.
I'm not giving any spoilers away, but at first, when I discovered what the dome was, I was hit by disappointment. However, once I realised the point the author was getting at, it all made sense and gave for a very satisfying conclusion.
Overall, a great story. Was it too long? I don't know. Some sections felt like waffle, and it was good to reach the end, but it was also sad that it was over. I'd have happily continued reading for another 300 pages.