SciFi/ Historical Fiction. * * *. An aging Diner owner entrusts to a middle aged teacher the secret of a time portal located in his Diner in the hopes that the teacher may finish a job the aging owner was too sick to finish himself: travel back in time and stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. At least thats what the book jacket says. That summary is really the backstory; the motivation, if you will, that propels that protagonist's actions.
Jake Epping establishes a second life in the past as he awaits the day he must act. As time passes, critical decisions must be made; decisons that, ironically, were unforeseen; such as, HIS future in the past. The book really asks: Can you live in the past when you know what the future holds?
The book could have been about two hundred pages shorter. Jake takes an initial jaunt as "practice" that really don't affect the rest of the story, if only to establish how the hidden time portal works.
Without divulging whether or not Jake succeeds in his mission, I will say that King's use of time teleportation and its butterfly effects add realism to the conclusion.
Distorted Biography / Horror. * * ½*. Young Abraham Lincoln suffers a tragedy that will obsess him and shape his destiny as a Vampire Hunter. When he is not building his political career, he is offing a budding America of creatures that have evil intentions in a pre-emancipated country.
The man who "co-authored" "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" pens this well-researched story of Abraham Lincoln. He flips continuously back and forth between fact and fiction giving it a documentary feel.
Leave your history at the door and have fun with it.
* * ½*. Fantastique. When I began reading this book, the premise seemed promising; I thought this would be a real page-turner. A man finds himself in the midst of a battle between old gods long forgotten and new gods. Whoa! Seemed like heavy stuff. The narrative is good. Shadow's whimsical sarcastic sense of humor had me laughing out loud at times (most memorable was the scene where he meets the raven). The book reminded me of Clive Barker's early fantastique novels (Weaveworld, Great and Secret Show, Imajica) where ordinary people became embroiled in matters involving other worlds. The problem with American Gods was there really was no plot so much as a pattern: 1.) Hear about the upcoming storm 2.) Move to a new location 3.) Hide 4.) Get discovered. 5.) Repeat.
So, along the way, we meet interesting characters (human and non-human), but nothing happens to propel the story forward. The only reason that I didn't quit the book early is because Shadow is a likable character and you do want to know how certain relationships end, if they do at all.
3/4's of the way, Gaiman finally writes "And so the storm began." I won't say anything about the storm, other than "That's it!?" But Mr. Gaiman could have turned a great premise into a cool book.
* * Â½*. Legal Drama. Giant corporation loses against struggling law firm for dumping toxins and polluting town water. Hasn't this story been done umpteen times already? Goliath decides to fight and goes for ... you got it ... The Appeal.
You think you know how the story will go, and you may be right. But Grisham provides enough twists to make this a tolerable read.
I thought I'd laugh through the 300+ pages. What I experienced was an occasional guffaw every 100 pages or so.
Ok, the book does move fast. If you can keep track of the gazillion characters (well, maybe 20) and their motivations, you can have fun with the book. Don't expect deep, thought-provoking, multi-layered characters. What you get is a screwball race running on high octane that doesn't slow down until the last page.
Science. ***. The author's personal account into the historical research dedicated to sex and the sexes. Includes professional interviews she conducted (some successful, some denied) with said researchers, as well as an experiment or two she engaged in, in the name of science.
Given the author's style of bringing humor and laymen terms to broad subjects, and with such an opportune topic, the book surprisingly is not as funny as I had hoped. I recommend her more recent books: 'Packing for Mars' or 'Stiff'.
Fiction. * * * *. Looks at the life of an overweight, lonely nerd aspiring to be a writer and fall in love, and how his life may have been affected by an old Dominican curse. Interspersed with pop culture references and idiomatic expressions, it is both humorous and tragic.
* * * * . A man unloved in boyhood fakes choking incidents at restaurants and scours sex addict meetings seeking new techniques. This books is a wild ride as the narrator tells his story of self discovery, uncensored. While the book is disjointed, it is often hilarious and shocking that you find yourself reading more. Original. Prudes: Beware.
* * * Â½* Young Adult Spook Story. Coraline and her parents move into a new home. Bored little Coraline doesnt get much attention from her parents so she goes off exploring her new home and discovers a door into a similar world. But is it real or Memorex?
The theme is not original, but Gaiman puts in his own magical touches to make your skin crawl. I am surprised this was classified for young adults since some of the scenes are really unsettling.