Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
An odd story but decent. Kid finds out his grandfather was involved with some really special people and that very special nature is putting them and him in danger. Only thing I didn’t care for much was the first person narration. That is just not my favorite style. (Strangely, a lot of what I have read recently has been first person. And I’m not growing to like it any more than I did previously. ) There is a sequel to this and I’ll probably grab it eventually.
Penpal by Dathan Auerbach
This one had a creepy premise but it has huge problems and never really delivers. I got impatient with the narrator for being dense. It was like watching a standard television show – you can see where the twists are coming and the characters just refuse to catch on because then there wouldn’t be a story. This had a good idea but I saw it coming a mile off and lost empathy for the character because of that. And again… first person narration along with really poor writing practices. It started life as a series of forum posts and that is pretty evident in the finished product. This one would be one big mass of red if David ever got a hold of it. :)
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I had a really hard time having empathy for any of the characters in this book. Not only were they shallow and essentially unlikeable, it was like the author was trying too hard to present things one way, only to turn around and say “gotcha!” and present them another way, then do it again. I didn’t get a Hitchcock vibe at all from this and all the glowing reviews by critics are a wee bit over the top, methinks.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
This one was better than Gone Girl, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean it was awesome, though. I have a pretty high tolerance for brutish and nasty books and this is probably one of them. The characters, once again, aren’t very likeable and it almost seems like Flynn flaws them to extremes to avoid making them into real people. I thought the plot of this one was better executed than Gone Girl but it doesn’t mean I’d recommend it.
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
This one was mostly worth the read. The beginning is better than once you know what’s going on. At that point it gets a bit… simplistic in description maybe? The right ingredients are there, but in a mistaken effort to take things really “out there” the antagonists are made far too alien. Almost like Lovecraft, it seems like the author gets to the point where he just can’t figure out where to go with them and what he ends up with is as unsatisfying as “indescribable horror.” He’s a better writer than Lovecraft, don’t get me wrong. I like his characters and his idea here is mostly sound. It’s like it got away from him though. It starts out all Twilight Zoney but ultimately doesn’t live up to the expectations it builds of what is behind the curtain. If he’d gone in a more Gaiman myth direction it would have been a better book. This is okay but it is like a book that can’t really decide what it wants to be.
Hm. Seems like this is more of a cautionary list than a recommended reading this time around. I just haven’t been reading anything that has really wow-ed me lately I guess. Anyone else read these? Am I being too harsh or picky here or are they just largely meh to sub-meh books?