The Mist by Stephen King

The Mist by Stephen King | Source: Library | Genre: Horror/ Mystery | Rating: 3 out of 5

My Thoughts:
The Mist was first published in Dark Forces Anthology and then in Skeleton Crew as a novella. I picked this up from the Library because I loved Carrie and kind of liked The Eyes of the Dragon and I wanted to read more by this author. But The Mist seems like a wrong choice now. Not because it was bad or anything but because it was forgettable. I finished this novel just yesterday after taking almost 20 days to read it in parts. It was interesting but not unputdownable and definitely not anything unique. Probably if I had read this book some years back, maybe 30 years or so, it would have been very different. But wait, I wasn’t even born then. Wait, even the book wasn’t published then. Never Mind.

Anyway…lets see if I can explain the plot in short. David and his 5 year old son are stuck in a supermarket when a Mist like thing suddenly engulfs everything outside the store and strange things start happening. There are weird creatures that come from the mist and eat those who are within their grasp. Nobody knows what these things are and from where they originated. There are hints of some government project gone horribly wrong but obviously nobody is really sure.The rest of the book is basically how they struggle to stay alive and try to figure a way out of the supermarket.

I believe there are too many Hollywood movies out there with a similar theme. So the novelty of this concept was lost on me. It felt like an age old formula for a gross story. There were a couple of times I was really scared, especially at the end but mostly I was pretty meh with the whole horror factor.

The Mist was good for entertaining for a few hours but I’m not sure I’ll recommend this. You might as well buy Skeleton Crew and get a few other stories with it instead of buying this separately.

R.I.P VI Challenge

I’m joining R.I.P this year. I’m not sure if I can really dedicate much time to it but I’ll try my best. Since I have already started reading The Mist by Stephen King and it’s a pretty small book so I’m sure I can at least complete the first level. But I’ll try and read as many books as possible since I do have a few in my TBR

Here’s what I have. So whatever I read will most probably be from this stack.

The Mist by Stephen king
The raising by Laura Kasischke
The king’s General by Daphne Du Maurier (I’m not sure if this is horror or mystery even, please let me know if you’ve read it)
The Haunting Hour by R.L.Stine
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
The Host by Stephenie Meyer

I’ve tried to stick to horror books. Have you read any of these?

Xombies by Walter Greatshell: for R.I.P Challenge

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Xombies by Walter Greatshell|August 3rd 2004 by Berkley|352 pages|Science Fiction

2 stars out of 5

About the book: Spreading at an astonishing speed, the “Agent X” virus transforms everyone it touches into maniacal monsters. Lulu Pangloss, one of the few as yet uninfected, flees to the last safe place on earth–but what’s awaiting her there is as unexpected, and as frightening, as what’s followed her.

My Review:
Xombies…What do I say about this book? I picked it up from a store because of the awesome cover and of course because it had Zombies. It does starts with some fun and gory zombie fighting that I was expecting from this book in the first place. The Zombies are created by a virus called Agent X which mysteriously affects women first.

17 year old Lulu and an old guy Mr. Cowper flee from their homes and go to a Navy base to find protection with the navy. Cowper is supposed to be Lulu’s father, the guy who ran away from her mother and someone whom Lulu had never met for the first 17 years of her life.

Circumstances lead to Lulu and Cowper running away together. But what they find at the Navy base is not protection but hundred’s of men and boys who Cowper suspects would be left behind once the Zombie defenses stop working and they invade the base as well. Cowper along with the men takes control of the Submarine which then sails (?) off to the Artic regions.

So far so good. I was really into the story until all the zombies were wiped out from the Submarine. But after that the Zombies kind of disappear for almost 200 pages of the book. That would have been okay if the rest of the book would have been good. But the Submarine descriptions were very tedious and I found myself very disinterested after that. I couldn’t picturize the descriptions and there was too much technical jargon. Honestly I skipped a lot of that section and it’s a huge section of the book.

The last hundred pages or so were really good but then again I was so bored with the middle section that I just wanted to finish the book. So I read the last 100 pages real fast which kind of led to me to missing out certain explanations of the Agent X that caused the Xombies. I found a few loopholes in the story but then again I said I skipped, so I’m not sure they were really loopholes.

The 2 stars are mainly because after the first 100 pages I lost interest in the book. Even the last 100 pages of the book could not revive my interest. But not wanting to be completely unfair, I will tell you what I liked in the book. I liked the writing style. The protagonist Lulu was a very street smart and intelligent girl whom I liked right from the start. The bond between father and daughter though not in the face was nicely developed. The Zombie sections, however few were awesome, so was all the action.

All I can say is that this book needs major editing, especially for the Submarine part.

This book is re-releasing this year with a different cover (which I don’t like much) and title XOMBIES: APOCALYPSE BLUES, with the sequel XOMBIES: APOCALYPTICON coming out in 2010, I think.

Another one down for R.I.P

The Thirteenth Tale

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The “High Expectations” tag is a huge burden to carry for any book. But The thirteenth Tale does not disappoint even for a moment. I subconsciously kept waiting for the moment when I would say to myself that this book is good but not as good as I heard it was. That moment never came. In fact it was so much better than I thought it would be.

First of all, how can any book lover not love this book? With the beautiful writing and the numerous passages on libraries and books and stories and Jane Eyre, it’s very difficult to disappoint. I stopped underlying phrases that caught my fancy after 20 pages. I would have ended up highlighting 50% of the book.

The Thirteenth Tale starts with a letter from a very famous author, Vida Winter to Margaret who is an amateur biographer and whose father owns an antique book store. Winter does not request but orders Margaret to come to her villa so that they can start working on her biography together. She entices Margaret with the words, ‘Tell me the truth‘. But Margaret is skeptical. After numerous false biographies of Winter already in the market, she is not sure that she’ll get to know the truth.

But she takes a chance. She reaches Vida Winter’s villa and finds a frail and dying woman. As they start working towards the biography, Vida Winter spins a tale of her past. A past that is terrifying, sad and so ugly that it deserves to be kept in wraps.

The Thirteenth Tale was like a roller coaster ride. It’s a gothic style mystery that will keep you turning the pages late into the night. It leaves a lot of blank spaces and doubts in your mind and you start guessing and doubting and making sense of the story with Margaret.

The only thing I didn’t get was probably Margaret’s obsession with her own past. I understand why her relationship with her mother is the way it is, but what I don’t understand is her obsession and attachment with her twin sister whom she has never even seen. Another thing was that I thought Vida’s Winter’s story was purposely told in a scandalous way. The thing that Margaret discovers at the end should ideally be told with the main story itself. I don’t see how you can omit that. But then that’s how Vida Winters character was like. She was a storyteller and she told the story in the most interesting and haunting way she could. That’s the only explanation I could come up with.

My favorite character though was neither Margaret nor Ms. Winter. It was Aurelius, the baking giant. He was the one whom I felt most sympathy for and I was definitely satisfied with the ending that the author gave him.

Definitely 5 out of 5 stars.

This book was for Carl’s R.I.P Challenge. Thank you Carl. I have no idea how long this book would have gathered dust on my shelf if not for your challenge 🙂

Favorite passages:
I read old novels. The reason is simple: I prefer proper endings. Marriages and deaths, noble sacrifices and miraculous restorations, tragic separations and unhoped-for reunions, great falls and dreams fulfilled; these, in my view, constitute an ending worth the wait. They should come after adventures, perils, dangers and dilemmas, and wind everything up nice and neatly. Endings like this are to be found more commonly in old novels than new ones, so I read old novels.

There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.

My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth herself. What succor, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? When the lightning strikes shadows on the bedroom wall and the rain taps at the window with its long fingernails? No. When fear and cold make a statue of you in your bed, don’t expect hard-boned and fleshless truth to come running to your aid. What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie.

Our lives are so important to us that we tend to think the story of them begins with our birth. First there was nothing, then I was born…Yet that is not so. Human lives are not pieces of string that can be separated out from a knot of others and laid out straight. Families are webs. Impossible to touch one part of it without setting the rest vibrating. Impossible to understand one part without having a sense of the whole.

and many more…

R.I.P. IV

rip4150Okay, I have succumbed to this challenge hosted by Carl. I had watched it from the sidelines last time. I have already committed to so many challenges that I was sure I would not sign up for any more for the rest of the year. But alas!!! Just look at that button? Isn’t it awesome?

But…I’m still not going to over commit. I’ve reduced the ARC’s drastically and I have decided to reduce my TBR pile too. So I have a list of about 30 books from my TBR that I’m planning to finish.

So I’ve filtered the books that I think fit in this challenge. Here they are:

  • Xombies by Walter Greatshell: Spreading at an astonishing speed, the “Agent X” virus transforms everyone it touches into maniacal monsters. Lulu Pangloss, one of the few as yet uninfected, flees to the last safe place on earth–but what’s awaiting her there is as unexpected, and as frightening, as what’s followed her.
  • Sweet Miss Honeywell’s revenge by Kathryn Reiss: Zibby Thorne doesn’t know what possessed her to buy an antique dollhouse–she doesn’t even like dolls. But when her friends and family start having bizarre accidents clearly connected to the dollhouse, she can’t ignore the menacing structure any longer. Zibby is sure that one particularly creepy doll in a gray dress is somehow responsible for the trouble. She discovers the doll is controlled by the spirit of “sweet” Miss Honeywell, a vengeful governess who seeks to control Zibby and her friends from beyond the grave. They must find a way to stop Miss Honeywell before her wrath becomes deadly.
  • Interview with the vampire by Anne Rice: Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses.
  • Un Lun Dun by China Miéville: It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.
  • The girl with the dragon tattoo by Stieg Larsson: A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, Henrik, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.
  • The thirteenth tale by Diane Setterfield
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Do let me know if any of the above does not fit in the Challenge. I’m a little confused about The girl with the dragon tattoo and The thirteenth tale. Even Un Lun Dun for that matter.

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman and 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill is for the short stories. I’m not sure if I can join it but I’ll definitely give it a shot. I have read a couple of stories from each.

I would probably commit for 2 books now but I can modify it to 4 later right?

Anyway I’m excited. Are you joining the challenge?