Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer {and a few words about the movie}

My thoughts:
I've been pretty much saying this to everyone, but it's true...it's the end of an era.  It's hard to believe that it has only been five or six years since I read the first Twilight book, but in that short span of years, my reading has shifted tremendously.  I have broadened my horizons with more classics and literary fiction and, in so doing, I recognize the difference between great writing and writing that is less than so.  Now I'm not saying that I don't like the Twilight books because I do.  The Twilight series and the films in accompaniment have always evoked a sense of poignancy in me, I think in response to what I have lost in my own relationship.  I once felt the way Edward and Bella feel and, sadly, it's not there anymore.  Being reminded of the loss of true love one once had is a very hard thing.  Anyway, didn't mean to get so personal, but I just wanted to explain the effect the story had upon me.  I still break down in tears when I hear the Carter Burwell song from the films, "Bella's Lullaby," and I cried at the end of this book and pretty much at different times throughout the movie (I really am a highly emotional person so please don't fault me).  Moving on, I don't think that Meyer is a terrible writer, there is room for improvement (although I did think The Host was a better written book than the Twilight series) and I do think she has the potential for improvement.  Bottom line, she tells a great story and creates some terrific characters.  And in a lot of ways, the films brought out the best in some of the characters she created.  Like Charlie, Bella's dad...love him.  And Benjamin in this book and the actor who portrayed him.  And Lee Pace as Garrett....and Alistair...what an intriguingly absent character.  I think Meyer should write about them.  Perhaps Garrett summed up the entire series with the following words that he spoke in front of the Volturi (in the book):

I have witnessed the bonds within this family--I say family and not coven.  These strange golden-eyed ones deny their very natures.  But in return have they found something worth even more, perhaps, than mere gratification of desire?  I've made a little study of them in my time here, and it seems to me that intrinsic to this intense family binding--that which makes them possible at all--is the peaceful character of this life of sacrifice.....

And so, the Twilight saga is not just about a love story between a human and a vampire.  It is a story about family and lasting bonds, whether it's the Cullens or the Quileute wolves.  I truly believe that is the message Meyer intended to share.

The film:
Yes, the movie had some cheesy parts, as they all did, but it was still great to watch.  Like I said above, some of the characters/actors are just so great.  Who can resist Michael Sheen as Aro with his campy yet menacing mannerisms.  The Romanians were priceless.  Benjamin portrayed by Rami Malek was wonderful and Lee Pace as Garrett...so great.  I was intrigued by Alistair who was portrayed by Joe Anderson, but I really like him as an actor so that could be why.  And last but not least, Billy Burke as Charlie.  They couldn't have matched a better actor with the character in the book.  One final note:  the end that is not the end like the book.  Don't worry...it's not a spoiler.  You will see...it really makes the movie.

Charlie and Bella
Farewell, Twilight saga...at least we will be able to revisit you from time to time when we find ourselves feeling nostalgic.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Short reviews on some scary reads--The Passage and Breed

The Passage: A Novel
This is my kind of book.  Very horrific, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, Stephen King-esque.  All these elements make me happy when I'm reading a book.  I wish I was a fast reader and that I didn't have so many other books going because I would have devoted all my time to this book and finished it faster.  I'm not the type to read a series back to back (something I'm discovering about myself again as I try to read the entire Dark Tower series through July of 2013), but I'm also not a fan of cliffhangers and there is a big one in this book.  So, The Twelve may be on my horizon sooner than later.  Seriously though, Justin Cronin is a talented writer and he is great at delivering the scares and the desperation.  My friend, Heather, has said that The Twelve is even better.  If that's the case, then I think Mr. Cronin has a long future on my bookshelves.

About the book:
“It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.” 

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear—of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey—spanning miles and decades—towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

Breed: A Novel
Wow! Just...wow! I read this book faster than I've read any book in a long time.  I could not stop turning pages.  I haven't been this excited about a horror novel since probably The Ruins by Scott Smith (please DON'T judge the book by its movie), another novel I could not put down.  Novak takes an ordinary topic...married couples unable to have children and desperate to do so...and turns it on its ear. What would you do to have a child?  I know how important my sons are to me and can't quite imagine life without them, but I ask myself.  Would I have gone as far as the couple in this book?  This is one implication of the book.  Also, how strong is our animal nature?  So, not only is this one a scary page turner (and also quite funny at moments), it actually gets the reader thinking.  If you haven't read this one...you just really must!

About the book:
Alex and Leslie Twisden lead charmed lives-fabulous jobs, a luxurious town house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a passionate marriage. What they don’t have is a child, and as they try one infertility treatment after the next, yearning turns into obsession. As a last-ditch attempt to make their dream of parenthood come true, Alex and Leslie travel deep into Slovenia, where they submit to a painful and terrifying procedure that finally gives them what they so fervently desire . . . but with awful consequences.

Ten years later, cosseted and adored but living in a house of secrets, the twins Adam and Alice find themselves locked into their rooms every night, with sounds coming from their parents’ bedroom getting progressively louder, more violent, and more disturbing.

Driven to a desperate search for answers, Adam and Alice set out on a quest to learn the true nature of the man and woman who raised them. Their discovery will upend everything they thought they knew about their parents and will reveal a threat so horrible that it must be escaped, at any cost.

Thank you to the publisher for providing Breed for my honest review.

Book synopses obtained from Goodreads.com

- See more at: http://www.techtrickhome.com/2013/02/show-comment-box-above-comments-on.html#sthash.SyglVmdY.dpuf