Tag Archive: book review


“Set 10 years after spelunkers stumbled into a literal Hell and later led a supposedly successful expedition to kill Satan, this story opens on Halloween, when underground creatures abduct dozens of children and slay any adults trying to stop them. Grieving mother and widow Rebecca Coltrane, the media-anointed public face of the disaster, makes clever political use of the publicity to launch a major military expedition underneath the Earth in search of her daughter and the other missing children. As war brews underground between the explorers and the quasi-human hadals, aboveground tensions increase between China and the U.S.” –Publisher’s Weekly

This is the first review I have ever done for a book I couldn’t finish reading–not because the writing was bad or the plot unbelievable. In fact, I found the writing very good and the plot deeply intriguing.  Unfortunately, the horrors that manifested quickly became too real and hit too close to home for me to finish the book and maintain my peace of mind.

I picked up Deeper on a whim as I scanned the bargain section at Barnes & Noble. The opening lines piqued my interest, with an intriguing voice and a set of circumstances worth exploring. I started reading and was quickly sucked into interesting narrative voices and a crazy world where hell exists, and it lives several thousand feet below the earth’s surface. The book explores this world through the point of view of five different characters. Normally this bothers me, but each character–though of different gender and backgrounds–all came across as authenticate and well-developed. The author also described an unusual world–a world I came to find by accident actually has some merit in science based on a nonfiction book with a similar title to the prequel for Deeper, the Descent.

The problem started about a hundred pages in. This was the first instance of violence against children. As a mom I took this pretty hard. I put it down for a couple of days then decided to plow my way through, hoping for a silver lining. I worked my way through another hundred and fifty pages, suffering nightmares the whole way until finally the book took a turn that as a mother I just could not go. I put it down for good.

After reading some reviews and doing research on the author I discovered that the storyline dead-ends with no resolution. I found this rather unsettling and can only guess at why this is the case, but I can say that I did like the premise and the writing, and if you don’t have kids I would say it may be worth your reading, but if you are a parent do not read this book. It will only add to your pre-existing stock of parental dread and worry.

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Rarely do I find books that:

  1. Make me look at tennis balls with extreme dread.
  2. Make me want to hug my mom.
  3. Make me lose all sense of time and space.

Cursed follows Nicholas and Cicely, two people cursed in their own way but both convinced their condition is the result of the deliberate and malicious actions of some person or entity. They form a support group for others like them and find a way to stop their tormentor.

When I got the book I sort of nonchalantly opened it thinking I would start reading it later. In what felt like only five minutes, I had read almost fifty pages, completely caught up in the intriguing dialogue and unique characters. I read pretty fast, but its been a long time since I devoured a book. It surprised me, scared me, warmed my heart, made me fall in love, and appreciate those people who don’t let normal get in the way of their happiness. No handsome young men or gorgeous galls, just normal and genuine people put in an extraordinary situation.  I would reccomend this book for several reasons:

  1. You should read a little bizarro every now and then to keep you from becoming complacent in your normalcy
  2. It’s just the right weight and size for taking out Evil Attic Clowns
  3. It’s the perfect gift for the garden gnome in your life
  4. It really is a good book

As a huge comic book geek, I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman since I got my first Sandman comic. His prose does not disappoint. Neil has a classic storyteller voice, and a gift for crafting unusual worlds and plots far from the typical mainstream stories. One of his older works, Neverwhere remains one fo my all time favorites.

Neverwhere follows Richard Richard Dick Mayhew (makes sense after you read it) as he plunges deep into the subculture of London. Gaiman creates a beautiful underground society, complete with its own rules, morays, physics, and economy. He leaves no stone unturned as he paints a picture of a world full of discarded and forgotten things finding new life and purpose. Each character is vibrant, even the basic archetypes, and the villains are the kind you love to hate and hate to love and are almost sad to let go. It is also one of the few books I have ever read that had a truly satisfying ending (endings often disappoint me). To this day I cannot pass by a homeless person, tunnel, or other underground structure without thinking, what if? I give it three thumbs up–I borrowed the extra one from a friend.

I don’t do science-fiction books that often anymore. I had enough with talking ships and aliens, but at my last foray into the book store I randomly scanned the shelves and for some reason this one popped out at me. Maybe because it was bright blue in a sea of black covers. Maybe it was the title, Outrageous Fortune. Whatever it was that made me pick up the book, the jacket copy and opening line were what finally hooked me.

I judge many books by their openings. This one had me at hello–or actually at “F@%#@ers”. That was the first line (minus the symbols of course). The back copy told a story about Johnny X, a dream architect who finds his life slipping away into a world of absolute craziness. I like crazy, so I bought it.

From the first line, the book grabs you and takes you directly into an interesting America somewhere in the undisclosed future. Neighborhoods are organized not by our normal geography but instead grouped by music genres. Each neighborhood represents its music genre well. Punk is a jumbled mess of anarchy. Classic boasts perfectly manicured lawns and well dressed children. Jazz is an improve–one builder starts, than another takes over, than another.

There are joke telling elevators, house thieves (they steal the whole house), the most Inconvenient Bar which reminds me of a few Saturday nights in downtown Austin, skin media, spam holograms, and other fun shenanigans. All in all–the world is fun, interesting, and a bit nuts.

Story wise it started out strong. Halfway through I guessed the ending–which was one of those type of endings I hate. No spoilers here, but there is a certain ending device I find to be a bit of a cop-out. Some of the narrative commentary was a bit much. I enjoyed it in the mellow parts, but some of the off-topic commentary droned on during action scenes, slowing the pace.

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the book. It was the most refreshing concept and voice I’ve read in a long time. Even despite the ending, I loved the mayhem and unusual events and would recommend this book to anyone.