Horror

ReviewCrew: IT

IT
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Review: This book is incredible. One of the scariest novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading is also one of the longest. In this book you follow the journey of seven characters - all brilliantly well rounded and fleshed out, if I may add. You alternate between their experiences during childhood and adulthood of facing and fighting the demonic and supernatural clown, Pennywise. I recommend this book to fans of horror and Stephen King, or anyone who enjoys a long read of a good book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Peter C

Book Review: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Author: 
Hockensmith, Steve
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

As I’ve mentioned before in my review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies , I understand the concept of combining this classic piece of romantic literature with its complete obverse; it just felt like it was almost held back from its full potential by adhering to (most of) the original manuscript. With the prequel to this book, Dawn of the Dreadfuls manages to examine the ridiculous nature of this mashup in a way that’s so tongue-in-cheek that the tongue has practically ruptured the cheek entirely.
That is, this prequel doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as the original Jane Austen adaptation did.

Even if the non-Pride and Prejudice and Zombies characters were mostly cartoonish in their representation of stereotypes and tropes, they were fun to read as they provided a delightful offset to the canonical characters of the Bennet family. Also, instead of trying to find some boring section of text wherein to insert some zombie excitement, Dawn of the Dreadfuls provides equal parts action and society to accommodate a balance that highlighted the extreme disparity between the two. In fact, when the two finally meet, it’s during the exciting climax of the story. Of course, knowing this is a prequel means there has to be some way out of the predicament; otherwise the original Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book cannot take place.

Despite all the things it has going for it, Dawn of the Dreadfuls suffers from a plot that seems to drag along like the un-functioning foot of a zombie. Sure, each plot point has its purpose, but they almost seem to belabor the point. There were a few chapters where I felt the plot to be somewhat repetitive if it weren’t for a slightly different outcome to show character growth. In any case, I’d still prefer this book over Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

A prequel that could fully explore a ridiculous combination, I give Dawn of the Dreadfuls 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin M. Weilert

Book Review: Dracula

Dracula
Author: 
Stoker, Bram
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Twilight, Count Von Count, Nosferatu, where do all of these vampire themed genres come from? Also, where do all the vampire cliches come from? I mean why do they hate garlic, can only be killed with a steak through the heart, and have no reflection in a mirror? All of this goes back to the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. This 1897 gothic horror novel was written during the Victorian Era, a period many consider of high etiquette and stern morality.
The best part about this novel is that there is no one point of view, the story is written in segments of diary entries and newspaper articles. We get to see the story from multiple characters’ views, which is absolutely phenomenal because it creates dramatic irony and suspense. In Dracula, we follow the story of 7 people as they discover the existence of Count Dracula as a vampire. When one of the 7 become a victim of the Count, the rest set out to exterminate the Count and rid him of the world. I recommend this book to all readers (high school and above as the vocabulary and style is somewhat
difficult) as this teaches all of us about the evolution of contemporary culture and the culture of the Victorian Era. Reviewer Grade 12.

Reviewer's Name: 
Joe T.

Book Review: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Author: 
Finney, Jack
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Most people know this book by its numerous film adaptations, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 and 1978), Body Snatchers (1993), and The Invasion (2007). In fact, I like to think that many facets of this story have become a part of popular culture, including the replication “pods” and Donald Sutherland’s scream in the 1978 film version. While the source material is inherently pulpy, a result of the genre and the era in which it was published, there is an entertaining quality to the story that has allowed it to survive for so long.

Simple in its execution, but brilliant in its reveal, The Body Snatchers builds up an inherent distrust of the people surrounding the main characters as they investigate why everyone seems “off” in this small, California town. While the full explanation of the aliens’ presence and purpose is relegated to an enormous information dump more than half-way through the book, it nevertheless contains some interesting ideas and concepts that could be plausible given the circumstances. I would have preferred better integration of this information into the plot, but sometimes the characters just need to sit down and explore these ideas in depth.

In the end, The Body Snatchers has plenty of strong moments in its plot. Sure, there’s the weaker section or two, and the more upbeat ending didn’t have much explanation other than the aliens’ annoyance of humanity’s persistence. Still, it’s a fun story, and even decades later it’s clear why The Body Snatchers is a timeless classic, even if it’s not “on par” with more significant literary titans. Maybe that’s its charm, though. By making it about the “everyman,” the horror and terror of everyone around them being replaced by emotionless beings is much more relatable on a visceral level.

A timeless pulp classic, I give The Body Snatchers 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin

Book Review: It

Book Review: It
Author: 
Stephen King
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

IT, is like no other when it comes to Stephen King classics. First, with the book cultivating a generation in 1986, then another with its film adaptation in 1990, and now, in 2017, with its revival. IT is timeless for thrill seekers who enjoy reading the horror genre. Stephen King craftly draws out the story for so long while keeping the audience captivated most of the time. Like any book, IT has some lengthy parts with extra detail that you could go without, yet I feel it adds to the story and the experience of reading the book. This book is highly recommended for attentive readers who are interested in a slow suspenseful story. The tone throughout the book is tense, and always seems to be building up to something creating thrill.
I was initially drawn to this book because I adore horror movies. I thought reading a horror book would give me the same sense of adrenaline. Boy was I wrong. Reading this book was scarier than any horror movie that I have ever sat through. Something about how Stephen King gives so much detail while still somehow leaving everything to the reader’s imagination is magnificent. I started reading IT just before the new movie came out in hopes of finishing it before I went to see the film. Yet, the book is so long I didn't end up seeing the movie the month it came out.
The story takes place in a rather odd town called Derry in the 80’s. It follows a group of misfit teens who are battling their worst nightmare. Their character development and growth as a child is phonomonel and continues as the characters return as adults to once again battle IT. The story takes place in two different time periods with the same characters and jumps between the two respectively. For me, however, it did get confusing at times, trying to keep track of if the characters were adults or teens while picking up where I left off. Other than that the book is consistent and addictive and I would highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Emma K.
Genres: 

Book Review: It

Book Review: It
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This novel follows the lives of five kids in a town called Derry. They bond together over their terror of It, an evil being that has a hold of their small town. They struggle overcome It with little support or understanding from the world around them. I choose to read this book because I knew the movie was coming out but being the book freak I am, I wanted to read it before I saw the movie adaption. I have to say after seeing both the old movie, the new movie, and reading the book, that the book was the most scary of the three. King writes with zero censor and hits on topics typically labeled taboo. The thing I like most about this novel was its ability to really impact me and make my skin crawl. Since its a horror novel “creepy” or frightening things are bound to be included but for me the most alarming parts of this book were some of the more realistic events such as spouse and animal abuse. This novel was not at all predictable, you just had to keep reading to see how the story would unfold. I know most people are set off by the size of the book but I have to say I never found myself bored or thinking that the parts King wrote were irrelevant. This was the first Stephen King novel I’ve ever read but I would definitely recommend it and will be reading more of his work. Due to the fact that the story was unlike anything else I’ve ever read I would say it's one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Reviewer's Name: 
Olivia S.
Genres: 

Book Review: The Stand

The Stand
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

The book "The Stand" by Stephen King is a novel about a disease. It starts out at a gas station where the disease is first seen in the novel. This book has many different characters as it progresses. The main antagonist is the embodiment of evil. He is basically the Antichrist. Although I didn't like this book as much as some of Stephen's other works because I have a short attention span and some parts are not attention grabbing. It is still a very good book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes horror. This novel is very unpredictable which is one of the main reasons I like it as much as I do. Because there are so many characters in this book, it was very easy for me to relate to their situations.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: 
Tabitha V.

Book Review: Cell

Cell
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The book "cell" by Stephen king is a book about learning to cope with the apocalypse. The apocalypse in this book is very unique and diverse from your typical zombie virus outbreak. While the main character, Clay, is out getting ice cream he watches as people answer their phones. They all start going crazy after they've answered the call, spitting out nonsense and being extremely violent towards each other. He was the only person there without a phone. Through out the story new characters are gained and then lost. I liked this book because I have a lot of trouble finding books that grab my attention. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was very action filled. There were no dull moments. I chose to read this book because of hype around the movie "It". I really liked the movie so I decided to read some of his other work. I would recommend this book to anyone who like very exciting, sad, emotional, and/or mysterious novels.
Reviewer Grade:9

Reviewer's Name: 
Tabitha V.

Book Review: Hearts in Atlantis

Hearts in Atlantis
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

When I started Hearts in Atlantis, all I knew about it was that it was written by Stephen King and there was a movie of the same name that was likely based on it. As I began to read, I found myself enthralled by the coming-of-age story that presented itself. I had no idea it connected to the Dark Tower series, but that detail was almost ancillary, a neat little connection into a bigger picture. Having made it half-way through the book, I wanted to follow the main character’s development into adulthood but, then the story suddenly stopped.

Instead of following a story that had engaged me, the focus shifted to a completely different character, only loosely tied to the events in the first half of the book via one of the characters, who was now in college. Almost in a fractal fashion, this story was half as long as the first, with each successive story growing shorter and shorter, while still being connected to the first narrative in some way, no matter how loose that connection might have been. Finally, the story returns to the main character of the first section, but only stays long enough to say goodbye.

I absolutely loved the first story in this “collection,” and by its strength alone, I would recommend this to anyone. However, the second half of the book felt too disjointed to be interesting, especially with all the emotional energy I had invested in the first story. Sure, they were somewhat interesting in their own ways, showing the relentless march of time toward the modern era, but they simply lacked that fantastical little spark from the first story (incidentally, the same spark that was connected to the Dark Tower series).

A great story with almost unnecessary add-ons, I give Hearts in Atlantis 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin M. Weilert

Book Review: I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers
Author: 
Lyga, Barry
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is the son of the world's most notorious serial killer. After his father was captured, Jazz has just been trying to live like a usual 17 year old. But when a new killer appears who seems to be trying to mimic his father, Jazz knows that it's only a matter of time before people start to believe he's the new killer. So he decides to join the police in tracking down the murderer, not only to convince the town he isn't like his father, but himself. I Hunt Killers has a good mystery, with plenty of twists, and is difficult to predict. However, it isn't the mystery that makes the story addicting; it's Jazz. While some of the minor characters suffer from a lack of proper development, Jazz's interesting (and disturbed) mind makes this book difficult to put down. He is a morally gray character, incredibly messed up, but sympathetic. His fears of being a sociopath are not without reason. In the hands of a different writer, his struggles could be seen as heavy handed or melodramatic. But here, he is written as completely believable. The mystery is a good one, but it's the protagonist (the likes of which you rarely see in a young adult story) that makes this book really good.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kate D.

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