Crimson Peak: The Official Movie Novelization by Nancy Holder

When Edith Cushing’s heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, she is soon swept away from her home and across the sea. She is brought to a crumbling mansion atop a mountain of blood red clay. A place filled with secrets that will leave her haunted forever.

Crimson Peak is the official novelization of the 2015 movie by Guillermo del Toro. Touted as a gothic romance, the book echoes the dark sentiments set forth by the movie. It is quite obvious this book was written with the final version of the movie in mind as it follows the movie closely. Too often a novelization of a movie is written with an early version of the script or even as the movie is being filmed and can diverge from the final product. Such is not the case here.

The book follows the movie near exactly, with the addition of the house itself as a character. This adds a bit of tension to the story and also makes sense in a way in that the years of horror that have occurred have left a psychic impression. We are also given glimpses in to the character’s thoughts and even their childhoods; two things that cannot be adequately expressed through film.

 

As much as I enjoyed the movie, I enjoyed the book just as much. Perhaps more. Fans of del Toro and his work will want to check this book (and movie) out.

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Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper (Kingston Raine #1) by Jackson Lear

Kingston Raine is an industrial thief and spy and is now up against his most challenging foe yet; The Grim Reaper. Not one to take death lying down (pardon the pun), Kingston has discovered a way to get himself home. Death himself, however, has other plans.

The blurb on the back of Kingston Raine is woefully inadequate in describing this particular book. While it is enough to draw the reader’s interest and get them reading, it unfortunately does a poor job of actually describing the real plot.

Kingston Raine is a fictional character of a series of fictional books. Through a series of convoluted events he is brought to “life” and subsequently “killed”, putting him in Limbo and Death’s domain. Desperate to get back to his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Kingston uses Death’s scythe to travel in to the land of Fiction and jump from book to book trying to get back home.

Confused? Yes, so was I at times.

Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper is, unfortunately, at times a convoluted and confusing book. The two separate major plot lines have little to do with one another and really would have been better off as two separate books. Jumping back and forth from one story line to the other left me as disoriented as I’m sure Kingston felt every time he jumped from one story to the next.

Confusing story lines aside, Lear has a very crisp writing style and dry humor. His characters are witty and smart, each having their own particular voice to add to the narrative. Special kudos must be given to Lear’s ability to create such interesting characters, both male AND female. Too often female characters are written as little more than window dressing, something Lear does not do. His female characters have just as much to add to the story as the male characters and they do it incredibly well.

While Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper could be a bit confusing at times, I found it enjoyable. It is supposedly the first in a series and it shows a good deal of promise. I will likely be keeping an eye out for the next books at my library.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang (translated by Deborah Smith)

Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life and then her dreams started. Blood soaked images began to fill her every thought, causing her to forego sleep in an effort to keep the visions at bay. In an effort to purge her mind of such disturbing thoughts, Yeong-hye denounces the idea of eating meat; going so far as to throw every morsel in the family home away.

In South Korea, societal mores are to be strictly obeyed and Yeong-hye’s decision to not eat meat is seen as shocking. Her one small act of rebellion grows and snowballs in on itself creating larger and larger waves in her extended family and causing Yeong-hye to disappear further and further in to the fantasy world she has created.

Head on over to sites like Good Reads or even Amazon and you will see numerous reviews as well as discussions over The Vegetarian. It seems that every one who reads this book takes something different away from it. While I certainly think that is a good thing, it can also make writing a review difficult. What I saw and took away from reading it might not be what another person sees.

With that, I will tell you what I saw when I read The Vegetarian.

For me, The Vegetarian is about taking control and the repercussions that can often happen. In a society such as the one that Yeong-hye lives in, there seem to be roles set out for nearly every individual. To deviate from them might be considered but the action is never carried out.

While the dreams that set Yeong-hye on her path are never fully explained, it is their effect that is felt through the rest of the pages. Her decision to restrict her diet further and further is her way of bucking the system and lashing out at the world.

The Vegetarian is a very difficult read. At times I found myself having to put the book down and walk away just from the emotions is brought up in me. Readers who have or have had an eating disorder will likely not want to read this one. All others, be mindful that this is a hard read and you might find yourself unhappy with the ending.