Wednesday, December 19, 2012

REVIEW: Stephen King's Christine

Book: Christine

Author: Stephen King

Series: Stand-alone

Publishing stats:
June 1st 2007 by Hodder Paperback (reissue of 1983 original)

Genre: Horror

Cover Blurb: Christine, blood-red, fat, and finned, was twenty. Her promise lay all in her past. Greedy and big, she was Arnie's obsession, a '58 Plymouth Fury. Broken down, but not finished. There was still power in her - a frightening power that leaked like sump oil, staining and corrupting. A malign power that corroded the mind and turned ownership into Possession.

First line: This is the story of a lover's triangle, I suppose you'd say -- Arnie Cunningham, Leigh Cabot, and, of course, Christine.

What I liked: I thoroughly enjoyed the tone King used for the narrative. The book is divided into three parts, the first and third of which are written in the first-person perspective of Dennis Guilder. It's made clear early on that Dennis is in fact writing some years after the events he's recounting, events that occurred back in 1978 when Dennis was your average American teenager whose best friend just bought himself an old car to fix up. The phrasings and expressions used and, heck, even the emotions described, all seem to embody the voice of a teen. You get to read the story as a build-up, slowly seeing Arnie's descent into Christine's clutches from an outside perspective; it was amazingly well done.

What I didn’t like: The car is going to kill people. You know it. I know it. Illiterate island dwellers raised in isolation with no contact with the outside world know it. It took over four hundred pages for the car to kill someone. Up until that point, the horror element of the book was carried by creepy vibes, unexplained regeneration and a flashback vision or two. There was build-up and buckets of backstory was dished out and miles of ground work laid out.For four hundred pages. Just think about that for a minute. Four hundred pages of build-up, of working towards something you see coming from page one. Sure, it was well written, but for crying out loud there comes a point where you just want the car to make with the homicidal tendencies already!

Overall: I can definitely understand why Stephen King gets the hype that he does; there's no question it's deserved. His narrative is stark, yet infused with the definitive voice of his character. I especially loved his choice of words for several of his descriptions; this is one writer who knows how to rock the simile, to say nothing of the metaphor. I also enjoyed the character development and how it unfolded, especially when limited as it was to the first person perspective for the first and third parts of the story. Incidentally, the second part of the book, which covered the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas while Dennis Guilder was hospitalized for a soccer injury and thus effectively cut off from the story's action, was written in third-person and bounced around between all the other characters. The concept of Christine being almost like a girlfriend to Arnie was a good way to view the relationship, even if a third-party did somewhat ruin that image. This third-party was, incidentally, my least favourite element of the book. I have to say that, in this instance at least, I much prefer the movie's interpretation of Christine as inherently evil rather than being possessed by a malevolent spirit. All-in-all, there was definitely, absolutely, positively no question that this was a horror story - it just took way too long to make the transition from thriller to outright horror.

Would I read this author again: Yes - the man knows how to give you chills!

My rating: ☺☺/5

To purchase the book for yourself, you can find it at,,, or The Book Depository. Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Top 5 Sundays #32 - Top 5 Books You Want For Christmas

Dear Santa,

This year for Christmas there are five books that I would really, really love to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Of course, any book would be appreciated but, if you were looking for ideas, here are my Top 5 Books I Want For Christmas.

#5 - Your Favorite Seuss: A Baker's Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss
DESCRIPTION: From the Grinch to the kid who hates green eggs and ham, this collection gathers 13 classic Dr. Seuss stories into one volume. Includes photographs, memorabilia, and original sketches. Each story is prefaced by a short essay by someone whose life was changed by Dr. Seuss or who is simply an unabashed admirer.

LINK: Your Favorite Seuss: A Baker's Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss at Book Depository

I not only love Dr. Seuss and all his works, but I use them all the time in my work. Having an anthology that not only includes several of his more popular tales but comes with commentary to boot would be one of those rare times where amusement and functionality come together.

#4 - The Complete Sherlock by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
DESCRIPTION: Here, in one exquisitely designed volume, are all 4 full-length novels and 56 short stories about the colourful adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This book features distinctive gilt edging and attractive silk-ribbon bookmark. Decorative, durable and collectable, this volume will make an indispensable cornerstone for any home library. It contains every word Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ever wrote about Baker Street's most famous resident. Also included is an introduction by lifetime Sherlockians, Christopher and Barbara Roden. "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" is an exquisitely designed book with bonded-leather bindings, distinctive gilt edging and an attractive silk-ribbon bookmark. Decorative, durable and collectable, it will offer hours of pleasure to readers young and old and is an indispensable cornerstone for any home library.

LINK: The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at the Book Depository

REASON: I love the BBC's Sherlock. Cumberbatch is adorable as Sherlock and Freeman does a good job of balancing out Sherlock's eccentricities as Watson. I love CBS's Elementary. Miller has brought a definitive modern flare to Sherlock and Liu has redefined the role of Watson in a whole slew of ways beyond the obvious. I love the recent Sherlock feature films. Robert Downey Jr. does a fantastic job playing out the quirkier side of Sherlock with Jude Law doing an excellent straight man. Who wouldn't want to dive back into the source material, if only to see how it all began? Ideally, I'd prefer a collection of books to a single volume - a thousand-plus page volume is so not fun to lug around - but who could say no to this beauty?

#3 - Fever Moon by Karen Marie Moning

DESCRIPTION: An all-new Mac & Barrons story by #1 `New York Times` bestselling author Karen Marie Moning, marvelously adapted into a full-color graphic novel by writer David Lawrence and illustrator Al Rio In `Fever Moon, ` we meet the most ancient and deadly Unseelie ever created, the Fear Dorcha. For eons, he's traveled worlds with the Unseelie king, leaving behind him a path of mutilation and destruction. Now he's hunting Dublin, and no one Mac loves is safe. Dublin is a war zone. The walls between humans and Fae are down. A third of the world's population is dead and chaos reigns. Imprisoned over half a million years ago, the Unseelie are free and each one Mac meets is worse than the last. Human weapons don't stand a chance against them. With a blood moon hanging low over the city, something dark and sinister begins to hunt the streets of Temple Bar, choosing its victims by targeting those closest to Mac. Armed only with the Spear of Destiny and Jericho Barrons, she must face her most terrifying enemy yet.

LINK: Fever Moon by Karen Marie Moning at the Book Depository

REASON: I'm not sure I need very much explanation here beyond pointing out that this is a graphic novel - meaning there are illustrations, as in author-approved representations of the characters, in print and thus totally visible - featuring Mac and Barrons. Just think about that for a minute. Go on; I'll wait.

See? Told you. No further explanation required.

#2 - The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain
DESCRIPTION: he great American storyteller combines wit and tenderness in this "he said/she said" narrative of life among the first humans. Additional stories include "The $30,000 Bequest," "Was It Heaven? Or Hell?" "Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale," "The Californian's Tale," and "A Monument to Adam."

LINK: The Diaries of Adam and Eve at the Book Depository

REASON: I love reading the different writers through history borrow characters from mythology and religion and make them their own. I love comparing all the different Adams and Eves, Cains and Abels, Michaels and Lucifers, and seeing what holds firm and what changes over time as the pens change hands. This collection of short stories would fall nicely into that category.

#1 - Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia by Carol Rose

DESCRIPTION: In more than 2,000 alphabetically arranged entries, readers will meet angels, demons, elves, encantados, fairies, familiars, keremets, nats, nymphs, and many other strange beings from around the world. Carol Rose introduces the reader to the little--and not so little--folk, delightfully various and, at the same time, strikingly similar from country to country. Wherever humans have lived, the supernatural beings have dwelt alongside us. People serve to explain the unexplainable--the strange disappearance of a traveler in a dark wood, that odd thumping in the attic, the fresh cream turned sour overnight. Often they reveal the stoic humor with which human societies have faced their difficulties. But whatever their source, our guilts, fears, dreams, or imaginations, the spirits have fascinated and enchanted us through the millennia.

LINK: Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia by Carol Rose at the Book Depository

REASON: I can never find a reliable resource detailing the different sorts of Faeries. I have bunches of encyclopedias and dictionaries running through various mythologies, deities and monsters but fairies? Nope. Not a one. Which is ironic given that I write about the Fae. Would be nice to have at least one resource on my own subject matter, even if I am going to morph it all to suit my own needs, LOL.

And there you have it, Santa, my Top 5 Books I'd really love for Christmas. I'll keep my fingers crossed - I really think I've been a good girl this year so hopefully Christmas morning will find at least one of these nestled beneath my tree. Until next year, Santa - Have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Top 5 Sundays #31 - Books/Series You Have Read More Than Once!

There are always books you go back to, books where the characters are like old friends, the world a familiar safe haven, and the events a well worn path. Books in and of themselves are escapes, but these books are more than just escapes - they're like visits to your favourite vacations spots, where every scene is a different sort of salve for whatever your mood might require.

So, without further ado, here are Calliope's Domain's Top 5 (although, believe me when I say there are more - many, many, many more!) Books/Series I Have Read More Than Once! Enjoy.

#5 - Black Jewel Trilogy by Anne Bishop

Three books that chronicle the life of a world's saviour as she grows from childhood to womanhood through the eyes of the family that loves her. It has angst, pain, tragedy, suffering, light, happiness, love, devotion - it runs the gamut back and forth over and over again yet somehow still finds it way to a happy ending. What's not to love about that?

#4 - Betsy Taylor, Vampire Queen series by Maryjanice Davidson
These books are hilarious. Betsy is a self-centered, shoe-obsessed, foul-mouthed, tried-and-true dumb blonde who, after an unfortunate run-in with a Aztec and a series of unfortunate events, finds herself the vampire queen of the dead. Somehow, in between all the sarcasm and comic relief, there's an actual story that unfolds that dances the line between the dramatic and the wacky.

#3 - Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
I love Kate's journey. In the beginning, she's a tough and miserable loner. As the books progress, however, she became more open, more caring and dedicated to the people in her life; heck, she even fell in love. And each step along that path is another nugget of emotional drama as comforting and familiar as a warm blanket on a cold day.

#2 - Guild Hunters series by Nalini Singh

Alright, so the first books were a little rocky but once Elena finds some closure on her past in the second book, the subsequent stories have been phenomenal. Not to mention the depth and intricacies involved in the emotional development going on in these pages. Oh, but, honestly, who am I kidding? These are books about strong, powerful men - men so powerful, so intimidating that they not only top the charts, they blow it into a whole new scale. And these books give you a front row seat as these scary-as-sin-and-twice-as-hot heroes finds themselves vulnerable to the love of the right woman. Cue the dreamy sigh here.

#1 - The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning

To quote Belle, this book has it all - far-off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince (if you're flexible with the definition that is) in disguise - and enough drama to keep a drama vampire like myself sated for a decade! Mac is the perfect narrator; she starts off naive and ignorant and over the course of the subsequent books not only grows in both physical and mental strength, but knowledge too. Through Mac readers are introduced to a world that gets darker, larger and weirder with every page. And Barrons and V'lane don't hurt either!