Dan Simmons is my new favorite horror novel writer. He kept me up at night with this one. And I'm not ususlly a scaredy-cat. It has almost everything --- ghosts, slime, heart pounding suspense, an old haunted school, and a bunch of young kids who are saving the town without the town even knowing it. I could say that the kids are way too young to be this wise and learned, but it's ok, they seem to fit. With all the weird and terrible stuff going on, somehow the ending ties up all the loose ends. It's a good read!
On the other hand, don't bother with the follow up, "A Winter Haunting." It's a real waste of reading time.
I read this one YEARS ago and have been trying to get my hands on it for a reread over the past couple of years with no success until now (Thanks PBS). Simmons does not disappoint in this thriller that takes us back to our childhood fears and wild imaginations. I couldn't put this one down!!! A pretty easy read. Not heavy at all for when you just want some straight forward entertaining, thrilling fiction.
This was a great horror novel reminiscent of some of Stephen King's best. It is about a group of 8-11-year-old boys during the summer of 1960 being terrorized by some unknown entities. I thought some of the best parts of this book were the nostalgic look at life in a small town during this time period. I was 10 in 1960 and many of the activities of the boys I could really relate to such as all-day baseball games, biking to secret hideouts, avoiding the local bullies, etc. The characters were well-developed overall and you could really empathize with the boys situations. The horror in the novel revolved around the old Central School and a bell that was installed in the school when it was built in the late 1800s. The bell called the Borgia Bell, was bought by a wealthy family in the small Illinois town and was a relic from the Borgia family of 15th century Europe. I especially liked this aspect of the story because I have recently been watching the fascinating Showtime TV series about the Borgias. I was a little disappointed that the novel didn't provide more detail on how the Borgia family used the bell and how it affected their powers. Overall, I really enjoyed this one even though I thought the actions of the young boys against the evil was quite unbelievable. I think when I was that age, I would have stayed hidden under my bed to try to avoid all contact with the monstrous entities on the loose!
A monstrous, timeless entity is devouring children. Adults either refuse to understand what is happening, or are themselves agents for the monster. A group of young boys, in uneasy partnership with an outcast girl, realize they must kill the creature before it devours them all.
Its the summer of 1960. The sixth-grade boys of Elm Haven, IL, are forging the powerful magical bonds that a lifetime of growth and loss will never erase. Amid the sun-drenched cornfields and the sly flirtations of the town's young girls, that loyalty will be pitilessly tested. From the silent depths of the old Central School, a hulking fortress tinged with the mahogany scent of coffins, an invisable evil drifts outward-plunging Mike, Duane, Dale, Harlen and Kevin into a war without boundary or mercy, where an eternal enemy owns the night...
I am a huge fan of Dan Simmons because of Hyperion and Illiad, so I have very high expectations for his books. This was great and creative, but it felt a little bit long (whereas Hyperion and Illiad were just as long, but I didn't want them to end).
This is a good book but it goes on and on and on and........ You get the idea. Plus it involves the death of children and that's really disturbing to me. If you like supernatural thrillers that involve dead kids it'll be OK.