Apparently RIPX was exactly what I needed to get reading. Who knew? Apparently I am SO in the mood for moody autumn books, I can hardly control myself. This past week I finished off a book (the first one for a month), and this weekend I sucked down another!
I'm not really feeling the review vibe, so how about some minis?
The Library at Mount Char, by Scott Hawkins, is a rip-roaring, freaky, gory time. There's this woman named Carolyn, and she's on a mission to find her father who can control time and space, call light from darkness, raise the dead. She's one of twelve of his adopted children who are "librarians," masters of their own catalogs of topics and abilities: resurrection, mathematics, languages, war, etc. But this is not some happy family. They're just as likely to kill and resurrect each other as they are to sit around and eat cinnamon rolls and toke. In searching for her father, Carolyn enlists the help of a long-lost friend, one stubborn war hero, and some very powerful animals. If her father is dead, who will inherit the library and all the power in the universe?
This book is gritty and terrible in places. Lots of violence, lots of ruthless killing. But isn't that the way of gods? Demigods? They're not called that, and they seem to have their own unique mythology, but this story reads very much like a novel in that vein. Horror, urban fantasy, science fiction...it's all right here wrapped up in one really involving book. This novel felt "big"...in the way that many seemingly scattered plot points came together to make something grand.
Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King, has been sitting on the shelf for years. I think I've dragged it out for a few RIP events now, but I finally got around to reading it, and I damn near read the whole thing in a day. This book consists of a fairly lengthy novella ("1922"), a couple of shorter novellas ("Big Driver" and "A Good Marriage") and two short stories ("Fair Extension" and "Under the Weather") the latter of which was a bonus story added to the paperback release.
Of the lot, my favorites were "Big Driver," "A Good Marriage," and "Under the Weather," though all of the works kept me engrossed. Emphasis on the gross in parts. On the slasher scale, this collection is not the stuff of Stephen King classics like Pet Sematary or It. It falls more on the thriller side and thoroughly examines the lengths to which people are willing to go for self-preservation.
In "Big Driver," a 40-something cozy mystery writer is captured, raped, and nearly killed after a flat tire leaves her stranded. Ultimately she has to decide how to put the issue to rest...by calling the police or taking her detective skills to a new level and the perpetrator's fate into her own hands.
Likewise, when a suburban wife finds out her husband's terrible secret in "A Good Marriage," how does she live with herself? How does she make sure her husband comes to justice without ruining her children's lives?
Big questions and big decisions for these characters, and they're not always good decisions, but they are highly entertaining quandaries.