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Tag: book review

[Book VS. Movie Review] Gone Girl

Thursday, I spend at my door awaiting for my iPhone 6 to arrive. Physically at my door reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. My printer died and there was no way to print out a signature form.
The movie premiered today directed by David Fincher. David has directed Alien 3, The Game, Se7en, Social Network, the American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and others.
He is one of my favorite directors so when the trailer dropped I loved it when they announced Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor were doing the soundtrack like they had done with Social Network and all three hours of Dragon Tattoo, it felt perfect.
I hadn’t read the book so with nothing else to do on Thursday, I read it cover to cover. Suffice to say, I finished before my iPhone 6 arrived.
Gone Girl, the novel, written by Gillian Flynn is thriller about newspaper writer Lance Nicolas Dunn and his soon to be wife, Amy, a writer of personality tests. Her psychologists parents are the geniuses behind Amazing Amy, a series of children’s books that made money and thus she has a trust fund.
They marry and the couple live in New York until the recession hits they lose their jobs just in time for to bring Nicolas home to care after his mother who is going through cancer treatments, his father is in a home due to going through Alzheimer’s. Using up the last of Amy’s trust fund money, Nicolas and his twin sister Margo buy a local bar.
During all this, Nicolas gets a job at the local college while Amy is the stay at home wife with little to do and like every anniversary she leaves clues for Nicholas involving their life. It takes a while for Nicolas to figure out the clues since Amy is in the New England vernacular: wicked smart.
Until on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary Amy disappears.
Now, before you say, I know how this movie ends: You don’t.
And I’m not going to ruin it for you. Go read the book first then watch the movie.
The good news is the trailers reveal nothing of the twists and turns of this movie. Often times the trailers do and I groan but not this time.
This a faithful adaptation and doesn’t adhere to the book as much as it needs to. Which is a good thing because the book only has two point of views: Amy and Nic.
The movie has a third point of view, that of Detective Rhonda Boney played by Kim Dickens which solves a few wandering plot threads from the book.
It should be noted Gillian also wrote the screenplay. So the movie feels like a re-polished final draft, in my opinion. While most of the novel is first person the movie dialogue more than makes up for missing beats from the novel. So much so, sometimes the actors are talking too quick.
The police investigation led by Detective Boney begins looking into Nicolas and Amy’s life and the cracks begin to appear from the debt on the credit cards to Amy’s diary entries going from sunny to darker and darker to Nicolas cheating to Amy’s life insurance policy being upped and more. It’s just heaped on.
The only thing neither the movie or the novel can figure out is how to land the dismount and win the gold.
The suspension of disbelief is stretched thin. I’m not talking about Chief Brody in Jaws the movie, shooting the oxygen tank and blowing up the shark, that ending made perfect sense and I cheer every time it happens.
It’s the suspension of disbelief that Tom Cruise’s son survived and magically re-appears at the end of The War of the Worlds so everyone can have a happy ending.
Or as one of the over fifty crowd behind me in the crowded small movie theater said: That was a stupid way to end the movie to which I replied that’s how the book ended, too. She was surprised there was a book.
The actors in the movie are perfect. The direction is spot on. The music is right. The lighting is all David Fincher.
I’ll probably see it again, when I don’t have to sit in the front row.

[Book Review] Ready Player One

Ready Player One.”
Ready Player One by Ernie Cline is what a dystopian future should look like. Economy in the toilet, energy depleted, trailers stacked dangerously close. Most kids going to school in VR called OASIS and the 80’s has made a comeback by way of a Jobsian / Hughes-like computer programer named James Halliday.
James Halliday is D+D playing social outcast when he meets Ogden Morrow. Over the years the two would go from creating games in their basement to forming a company and becoming millionaires. During those years they build a giant VR world called Oasis which only costs a quarter to join. Years later as society slowly crumbles, Halliday, upon his death mass emails everyone on OASIS and says if can decipher my riddle, play my game, get the three keys, win then you would become CEO of my company and get all my money.
There’s a part of me wonders if this book had come out before SDCC if the panel I attended with Cline as one of the speakers would have been more popular and longer than it was because this is so much geek name checking in this book it boggles the mind.

[Book Review] Enclave

“They mostly come out at night. Mostly.”
Enclave by Ann Aguirre is my second dip into the Aguirre pool, my first being Grimspace that I’m still trying to finish.
Enclave introduces us to a world that has come to an end. After the use of several biological weapons the survivors that were eeking a life on the surface either fled from the cities or went underground. Unfortunately, their problems did not end with the weapons of man but what comes afterwards in the form of carnivorous eaters known as Freaks.
Our story centers our a young woman that lives in an underground enclave. Her name is Dues and she is a Hunter for the enclave and is paired up with Fade, a man that has constantly been an outsider since he survived the surface only to find himself in the enclave. There is an undercurrent of distrust between a few of the characters and the Elders of the Enclave because of the constant: Do not go to the surface mantra that has been spoon fed to everyone since the beginning. This plot thread is quickly and violently brought to a halt and the story focuses on Dues and Fade’s journeys instead.
I enjoyed the book on a whole. It was a quick read and is a perfect example of showing and not telling the audience. Just enough bread crumbs of information without getting a whole chunk of info dump of what happened before. Smooth narration in the first person and interesting characters. The hierarchy of the College Enclave social structure is kept simple and short. A dips into the “will Dues fall in love with Fade” pool keeps romantic awakening between the two fresh and intersting.
Post apocalyptical stories can either run the rut of others or focus on the main characters plight instead. Enclave decides not to set up an overall plot of Hunters vs Elders and instead focuses on Dues and Fade’s banishment from the Enclave to the surface. A few plot threads starting with one of the Enclave’s trading partners being overrun by Freaks and the increasing Freak menace is unfortunately left twisting in the wind. Looking on-line this is book 1 of possible series (?) so maybe those plots will be picked back in further books.
Overall, I enjoyed it and looking forward to book #2 in 2012.

[Book Review] Hounded

In full disclosure, Del Ray/Spectra was sending out ARC of Kevin Hearne‘s Hounded via Facebook and here we are…
Urban Fantasy comes in many forms and generally has the same cast of characters: Werewolves, Vampires, Witches and such. Many times the “rules” for these characters are different but overall it all comes down to: Old creatures of the night living among us mere mortals and either everyone is out of the closet or not.
In Kevin Hearne’s Hounded, the Fae and other creatures of the night are still hiding in plain sight. Our main character, Atticus O’Sullivan is a two thousand year old Druid living in Tempe, AZ enjoying his life as a bookstore owner when his life is thrown upside down when some old Gods demand he hand over a fabled sword of great power. When I say old Gods I mean the old Irish kind, the ones that make audio book presenters either cringe or grin at the fact they did just slip over their tongues.
My tip toeing through urban fantasy has not really come across many Druids and beyond playing one in World of Warcraft it was refreshing not be: A) Werewolf, B) Warlock C) Vampire D) Skinwalker. Atticus abilities are rather normal and nothing that makes him all powerful since he can still get shot. Atticus comes off as a generally likeable fellow and throws in enough pop culture references to make the audience laugh. This is helped along by Atticus’s telepathic banter with Oberon his irish wolf hound, the Irish Widow across the street, several gods who may or may not be on his side, the vampire/werewolf lawyers under retainer or the coven of witches who all want one thing: The blasted sword.
Hounded is a thick and fun adventurous read, the cast is kept in a manageable amount and all the plot lines are tied up nicely at 292 pages.
The only flaw in the ARC copy I had was one misplacement of a comma and a description of action was italicized by accident.
Hounded arrives 4/26/11 and the second and third books in this series will be arriving 5/24/11 and 6/28/11 respectively.