“The Stand” by Stephen King

Continuing on my ambitious goal to read all of Stephen King’s novels in publication order, I picked up The Stand expecting it to be as gripping as the previous two King books I’d read.

The Stand would be my fourth King novel and since the story and writing seems to get better with each book I read, I expected The Stand to trump The Shining and possibly become another of my favorites. But that didn’t happen. I was quickly let down and gave up on the book a couple hundred pages shy of its end.

Genre:

Horror

Pubbed:

1978

Quick summary:

It’s the early 1990s or late 1980s (couldn’t tell). A machine malfunctions and a weaponized strain of influenza is unleashed on the world starting on America’s west coast. Patient zero (he’s not called that in the book) travels to a small town in Texas crashing into a gas station with his dead wife and kid in the car. The guys at the gas station try to save him, but he dies and infects them all while doing so. The government moves in and shuts down the town hoping to stopper the spread of the virus and find out why some people aren’t infected.

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“Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland

Another surprising read I didn’t expect to enjoy.

I’d given up on YA books because I became annoyed that they were mostly romance novels touted as other genres. Whether they are categorized as fantasy or horror or sci-fi, the main focus of the story is always the romance and often it is the weakest part of the story. Because of that, I stopped reading YA books for a while. But the few rave reviews I’ve seen of Dread Nation, as well as this article, got me curious and made me want to read the book. So I did.

Genre:

Historical fiction — alternative history; Horror (it’s not scary)

Pubbed:

2018

Goodreads summary:

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

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“The Ballad of Black Tom” by Victor LaValle

I learned of this book back when Naz at Read Diverse Books hosted a Diverse SFF readalong for it. I was unable to participate in the readalong at the time and wasn’t sure if the novella was one I really wanted to read, but when I saw it in Barnes & Noble back in December, I picked it up recalling Naz’s review of it and started reading it on my way home. I was surprised that I was immediately hooked on the story.

Goodreads summary:

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break? (Goodreads)

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“The Shining” by Stephen King

Maan!! This book.

I forgot why I picked it up to read a couple months ago, but gosh, it was so good I was hooked the entire time. My plan is to read King’s books in publication order so since I’ve already read Carrie (sucks) and ‘Salem’s Lot (pretty good), this was next and I was blown away.

I did a stupid thing after reading this, though. I went to a hotel. WHY did I do that? It was for work, but I was so creeped out when walking down corridors and going into the bathroom. I should have waited until after the work trip to read this book.

“This inhuman place makes human monsters.”

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“Song of Kali” by Dan Simmons

Song of Kali IMy first novel by Dan Simmons. I bought this because of the title, read reviews about it and was intrigued, and chose to read it a few weeks ago after doing the Try a Chapter tag. It was captivating and unsettling and well worth the read.

“A strange sense of…violence, I guess. A sense of violence seething just under the surface.”

Goodreads overview:

Calcutta: a monstrous city of immense slums, disease and misery, is clasped in the foetid embrace of an ancient cult. At its decaying core is the Goddess Kali: the dark mother of pain, four-armed and eternal, her song the sound of death and destruction. Robert Luczak has been hired by Harper’s to find a noted Indian poet who has reappeared, under strange circumstances, years after he was thought dead. But nothing is simple in Calcutta and Lucsak’s routine assignment turns into a nightmare when he learns that the poet is rumoured to have been brought back to life in a bloody and grisly ceremony of human sacrifice.

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