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#1 treeduck

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 05:34 PM

Over the next few weeks/months I'm going to revisit some classic Stephen King books as well as catch up on some newer ones that I haven't read yet. So I thought I'd make my own thread and do my own little reviews.

Feel free to comment or ignore as you please...

Ok I'm starting off with the 4th volume of The Dark Tower series, Wizard and Glass, which I read back in 1998. I need to read this as a recap for the 5th, 6th and 7th volumes that I'll be reading later on.

When I came to read this last time I did so with a groan as it's a flashback to Roland's youth and not a continuation of the story itself in the current timeline. As I began to read it however I realised it was slowly becoming the best volume in the series (for me anyway) even better than The Drawing of the Three... And by the end I thought it was one of the top dozen or so novels of King's career...

Here's what my copy looks like...

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#2 Freedom_Fighter

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 06:48 PM

i'm stuck on that one. so far i think it's excellent, but i just can't finish it, because i don't have time. plus i just don't have much drive to read right now. i always go through these phases where i read constantly and then stop altogether, and then read constantly again, and then stop altogether again for a little while. i think it's pretty crappy that i fell into my "stop altogether" phase when 200 or so pages into Wizard and Glass, i really wanted to keep going with the series, but i can't help it, i just can't read lately. i'll pick it up and re-finish it eventually though.  

#3 Rush!

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 07:37 PM

Cool Treeduck. Post some reviews in the Stephen King thread I have too. smile.gif

#4 treeduck

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 10:01 PM

QUOTE (Freedom_Fighter @ Oct 8 2006, 06:48 PM)
i'm stuck on that one. so far i think it's excellent, but i just can't finish it, because i don't have time. plus i just don't have much drive to read right now. i always go through these phases where i read constantly and then stop altogether, and then read constantly again, and then stop altogether again for a little while. i think it's pretty crappy that i fell into my "stop altogether" phase when 200 or so pages into Wizard and Glass, i really wanted to keep going with the series, but i can't help it, i just can't read lately. i'll pick it up and re-finish it eventually though.

Yeah you can't force-read it'll just go in one eye and out the other, as it were...

I'll make sure not to put in any spoilers just in case you get the reading bug again all of a sudden...

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#5 treeduck

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 10:02 PM

QUOTE (Rush! @ Oct 8 2006, 07:37 PM)
Cool Treeduck. Post some reviews in the Stephen King thread I have too. smile.gif

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#6 Freedom_Fighter

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 10:19 PM

QUOTE (treeduck @ Oct 8 2006, 10:01 PM)
QUOTE (Freedom_Fighter @ Oct 8 2006, 06:48 PM)
i'm stuck on that one. so far i think it's excellent, but i just can't finish it, because i don't have time. plus i just don't have much drive to read right now. i always go through these phases where i read constantly and then stop altogether, and then read constantly again, and then stop altogether again for a little while. i think it's pretty crappy that i fell into my "stop altogether" phase when 200 or so pages into Wizard and Glass, i really wanted to keep going with the series, but i can't help it, i just can't read lately. i'll pick it up and re-finish it eventually though.

Yeah you can't force-read it'll just go in one eye and out the other, as it were...

I'll make sure not to put in any spoilers just in case you get the reading bug again all of a sudden...

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thanks man, i appreciate that.  

#7 treeduck

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 12:33 PM

Ok I'm well on with this one now and it's good stuff and it's cool how the story intersects with The Stand in the lead-up to Roland's tale...

#8 treeduck

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 07:34 PM

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Ok I've finished The Wizard and Glass for the second time and just like last time it was an excellent novel a rollicking good read. If this isn't in King's top ten then it's definitely just outside it. The interesting thing is I forgot about 90% of it which meant it was almost like reading it for the first time and in places it was exactly like that. The story of Susan Delgado and young Roland, which is about 600 pages of the book is definitely the best part of the first 4 volumes of the Dark Tower, the final part though "All God's Chillun Got Shoes," where a few loose ends of Roland's tale are tied up and they find their way back onto the path of the beam, dragged a bit after the high drama of the Susan Delgado story, I hope that's not a bad omen for the three volumes I still haven't read...

Best character? Well out of the "good guys" Probably Roland, a sort of King version of Clint Eastwood, but in this volume as you might gather I preferred young Roland...

Best Villain: It has to be Rhea of the Coos, what a brilliantly drawn character, an awful bitch monstrosity, inside and out and the mother of all hags, she had me laughing out loud at times...

Honourable mention: Cordelia Delgado, another great character who had me nervously playing with my hair as she went about her insane work... She's Susan's aunt and a woman who begins as a manipulating spinster who by the end has descended into a twisted, hysterical crone. One who reminded me of another relative of a Stephen King Susan, Susan Norton's mother, I think her name was Anne, she spiralled downwards in a very similar way to Cordelia. Both of these chracters have echoes of Carrie White's mother too. Constant readers will know which novels these characters are from. SK must have met some seriously deranged women in his youth is all I can think...

Also good were the Eldred Jonas and the Big Coffin Hunters, a motley band of killers with an ambitious, preening leader in Jonas... Every chracter in this tale was worth his or her place though at the very least...

You know you've read a good book when it pains you to leave it behind, I'll miss Hambry and all it's weird and wonderful places, The Drop, The Bad Grass, Coos Hill, Eyebolt Canyon, The Bar K, Citgo oil patch...

I think that covers everything...

You know I didn't feel like writing this little "review" I think I was suffering from self-appointed reviewers block or something...

#9 treeduck

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 09:28 PM

One more thing about the Wizard and Glass, I'd say it's King's best in the fantasy genre, better than The Talisman, although I'll have to see what the final three in the Dark Tower series are like...

#10 treeduck

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 10:15 PM

I forgot 90% of the last one but the next one that I'm gonna read I can't remember a damn thing about at all. I'm talking 650% of it!! The main reason for this is probably because I wasn't too impressed with it at the time and it drained right out of my memory... A good reason to read it then...and a bad reason.

But read it I will...

Here's what my 1998 hardback version looks like...

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Yes Bag of Bones or Bag o'shite as I call it... Maybe my expectations were too high back then? When they did publicity for it over here in '98 they were billing it as "better than The Shining" and silly me I believed them. It was of course very, very far from being better than the Shining, VERY far, very far in fact from being anywhere near in it's league. That's one thing I do remember. The only thing. I don't have a clue about the characters, the story, how it ended and that's a good thing since I'm going to be reading it. And with my expectations lowered maybe I'll enjoy it more...

This was King's attempt at a more "literary" novel, a ghost story, where atmosphere is at a premium and the emphasis is less on gore and bawdy language and more on feelings and events threatening to happen but not quite making it ie: watered down King=literary. Oh yeah I remember that but again that's from the publicity. bad sign when you remember the publicity campaign more clearly than the actual novel in question.

Anyway all I'm saying is King and his publishers were making a big noise about this book, but then they always do. King is as good a salesman as anyone, he's doing the same thing right now with his new one Lisey's Story. He's got this theory, which I read about in an interview with King in The New York Times, about writing good, great and not so great novels. he reckons they come in sevens, 6 average ones then a killer, and further after 7 lots of 7 you get the 49th and this book is the absolute most bad ass killing killer book of them all. I'm talking REALLY REALLY GOOD. And of course the 49th, this super novel just happens to be his latest book, oh of course it is!!! Lisey's story is the ultimate killer king book then!! This is a theory you can only come up with if you've written 49 or more books, which King of course has and only if you're a born bullshitter, because bullshit is what that theory is and SK is not the best storyteller in the world and not a bullshitter...I wonder what his next theory is gonna be? "The 17th book that I wrote in the bath with my feet in the air, after the fourth full moon of the millenium to the power of 9 with bells on is obviously the best novel I've ever written and errr it just happens to be my latest one..."

So ok, according to Steve his latest novel is the ultimate book that he's ever produced.  So that means that 1998's incredible "better than the Shining" literary novel, Bag of Bones, must therefore just be one of the average 40 odd then?  Well let's find out shall we...before i forget about the book altogether...

(hmmmm that's dramatic but I'm not actually gonna start it till tomorrow...ner ner ne-ner, ner ner)

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#11 GeddyRulz

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 05:30 AM

QUOTE
This was King's attempt at a more "literary" novel,


I haven't read it, but I gathered that from the dust jacket - with quotes from Amy Tan, a classy black-and-white photo of King, and a de-emphasis on popular horror in the author's bio and story summary.  Collectively, everything about the book's promotion seemed designed to paint King as a "serious" novelist, and not the best-selling writer of paperback horror stories.

Edited by GeddyRulz, 18 October 2006 - 05:35 AM.


#12 treeduck

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 07:32 PM

QUOTE (GeddyRulz @ Oct 18 2006, 05:30 AM)
QUOTE
This was King's attempt at a more "literary" novel,


I haven't read it, but I gathered that from the dust jacket - with quotes from Amy Tan, a classy black-and-white photo of King, and a de-emphasis on popular horror in the author's bio and story summary.  Collectively, everything about the book's promotion seemed designed to paint King as a "serious" novelist, and not the best-selling writer of paperback horror stories.

I'm on with Bones right now and right away it was like night and day compared with Wizard and Glass. It's very dry, matter of fact, pretty boring, certainly not exciting. Literary? Compared to Cormac Mccarthy it reads like a shopping list. I think the problem with it so far is this: it's in first person and the character telling the story seems to do nothing much more than a lot of naval gazing and he is a little dull with it. Basically it's readable and the chapter about him storing unpublished novels was good (oh yeah he's another writer protagonist), but I don't feel the urge to read and the pangs when I put it down that I get from King at his best... This novel makes me want to read The Talisman again, I'll have to put that on my list...

Ah well only about 440 pages to go...

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#13 treeduck

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 11:47 PM

One thing I've always liked about Stephen King is he's a funny guy (yes even Bag of Bones has me chuckling here and there), like in this article I just found...

I Don't Even Remember Writing The Tommyknockers

By Stephen King
May 5, 1999 | Issue 35ē17

So, I'm doing this book signing for The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon at the Barnes & Noble on Manhattan's Upper West Side last week, and this woman comes up to me, gushing about how The Tommyknockers is her "absolute, all-time favorite book." The name really didn't ring a bell, but I figured I must have written it, seeing as this woman is bothering to tell me how it's her all-time favorite, so I just kind of play along like I know what the heck she's talking about.

"What Bobbi Anderson and the other people of Haven went through, well, that was just the ultimate in horror fiction," this woman said to me as I nodded along, clueless. "I must have read it at least 50 times, and I swear, not once has it failed to scare the living daylights out of me."

Anyway, when I got home, I looked up The Tommyknockers in this literature reference book I have and, sure enough, I wrote it in 1987. Apparently, it's the story of this woman in this small town in Maine who discovers a metal object that was buried for millennia, and the thing gives all the townspeople super-powers. But then there's this deadly evil that's unleashed by the object, and the town becomes a death trap for all outsiders.

After reading the plot synopsis, I sort of remembered it, but, then again, maybe it just sounded like something else I wrote. After your 50 or 60th one, it's all kind of a blur. But if I had to venture a guess, I'd say I probably did write The Tommyknockers. It sounds like my kind of thing, what with this invisible evil being unleashed on a town full of innocent people and all.

To be honest, that wouldn't be the first time I'd forgotten one of my books. I'm usually pretty good about remembering the early stuff, like Carrie and The Stand and so forth. And I never forget my most recent one. It's those middle-period ones, though, that always seem to slip my mind. Like, what's that one about the writer who uses a pen name, and then the pen name develops into this evil, Mr. Hyde-type alter ego and commits a brutal murder? The Dark Tower? The Dark Zone? I'm pretty sure it's the "Dark" something, but I could be wrong.

Oh, and then there was that one about the werewolf. I honestly don't remember anything about that one, except that there was some kind of killer werewolf attacking a whole bunch of people. Hopefully, no one will ever mention that one at a book signing, because I don't think I could fake it for even a minute. Like I said, it's all a big blur after a while.


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#14 GeddyRulz

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 02:10 PM

QUOTE (treeduck @ Oct 19 2006, 11:47 PM)
One thing I've always liked about Stephen King is he's a funny guy (yes even Bag of Bones has me chuckling here and there), like in this article I just found...

I Don't Even Remember Writing The Tommyknockers

By Stephen King
May 5, 1999 | Issue 35ē17

So, I'm doing this book signing for The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon at the Barnes & Noble on Manhattan's Upper West Side last week, and this woman comes up to me, gushing about how The Tommyknockers is her "absolute, all-time favorite book." The name really didn't ring a bell, but I figured I must have written it, seeing as this woman is bothering to tell me how it's her all-time favorite, so I just kind of play along like I know what the heck she's talking about.

"What Bobbi Anderson and the other people of Haven went through, well, that was just the ultimate in horror fiction," this woman said to me as I nodded along, clueless. "I must have read it at least 50 times, and I swear, not once has it failed to scare the living daylights out of me."

Anyway, when I got home, I looked up The Tommyknockers in this literature reference book I have and, sure enough, I wrote it in 1987. Apparently, it's the story of this woman in this small town in Maine who discovers a metal object that was buried for millennia, and the thing gives all the townspeople super-powers. But then there's this deadly evil that's unleashed by the object, and the town becomes a death trap for all outsiders.

After reading the plot synopsis, I sort of remembered it, but, then again, maybe it just sounded like something else I wrote. After your 50 or 60th one, it's all kind of a blur. But if I had to venture a guess, I'd say I probably did write The Tommyknockers. It sounds like my kind of thing, what with this invisible evil being unleashed on a town full of innocent people and all.

To be honest, that wouldn't be the first time I'd forgotten one of my books. I'm usually pretty good about remembering the early stuff, like Carrie and The Stand and so forth. And I never forget my most recent one. It's those middle-period ones, though, that always seem to slip my mind. Like, what's that one about the writer who uses a pen name, and then the pen name develops into this evil, Mr. Hyde-type alter ego and commits a brutal murder? The Dark Tower? The Dark Zone? I'm pretty sure it's the "Dark" something, but I could be wrong.

Oh, and then there was that one about the werewolf. I honestly don't remember anything about that one, except that there was some kind of killer werewolf attacking a whole bunch of people. Hopefully, no one will ever mention that one at a book signing, because I don't think I could fake it for even a minute. Like I said, it's all a big blur after a while.


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Stephen King does indeed have a great sense of humor; I know from having read and listened to several interviews with him.  Unfortunately, this isn't an example of King's humor... it was written by the satirical faux-newspaper The Onion, which is full of awesome comedy writing.

#15 treeduck

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 02:25 PM

QUOTE (GeddyRulz @ Oct 20 2006, 02:10 PM)
QUOTE (treeduck @ Oct 19 2006, 11:47 PM)
One thing I've always liked about Stephen King is he's a funny guy (yes even Bag of Bones has me chuckling here and there), like in this article I just found...

I Don't Even Remember Writing The Tommyknockers

By Stephen King
May 5, 1999 | Issue 35ē17

So, I'm doing this book signing for The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon at the Barnes & Noble on Manhattan's Upper West Side last week, and this woman comes up to me, gushing about how The Tommyknockers is her "absolute, all-time favorite book." The name really didn't ring a bell, but I figured I must have written it, seeing as this woman is bothering to tell me how it's her all-time favorite, so I just kind of play along like I know what the heck she's talking about.

"What Bobbi Anderson and the other people of Haven went through, well, that was just the ultimate in horror fiction," this woman said to me as I nodded along, clueless. "I must have read it at least 50 times, and I swear, not once has it failed to scare the living daylights out of me."

Anyway, when I got home, I looked up The Tommyknockers in this literature reference book I have and, sure enough, I wrote it in 1987. Apparently, it's the story of this woman in this small town in Maine who discovers a metal object that was buried for millennia, and the thing gives all the townspeople super-powers. But then there's this deadly evil that's unleashed by the object, and the town becomes a death trap for all outsiders.

After reading the plot synopsis, I sort of remembered it, but, then again, maybe it just sounded like something else I wrote. After your 50 or 60th one, it's all kind of a blur. But if I had to venture a guess, I'd say I probably did write The Tommyknockers. It sounds like my kind of thing, what with this invisible evil being unleashed on a town full of innocent people and all.

To be honest, that wouldn't be the first time I'd forgotten one of my books. I'm usually pretty good about remembering the early stuff, like Carrie and The Stand and so forth. And I never forget my most recent one. It's those middle-period ones, though, that always seem to slip my mind. Like, what's that one about the writer who uses a pen name, and then the pen name develops into this evil, Mr. Hyde-type alter ego and commits a brutal murder? The Dark Tower? The Dark Zone? I'm pretty sure it's the "Dark" something, but I could be wrong.

Oh, and then there was that one about the werewolf. I honestly don't remember anything about that one, except that there was some kind of killer werewolf attacking a whole bunch of people. Hopefully, no one will ever mention that one at a book signing, because I don't think I could fake it for even a minute. Like I said, it's all a big blur after a while.


laugh.gif

Stephen King does indeed have a great sense of humor; I know from having read and listened to several interviews with him.  Unfortunately, this isn't an example of King's humor... it was written by the satirical faux-newspaper The Onion, which is full of awesome comedy writing.

Shit!! LOL they got me...

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#16 treeduck

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 12:40 PM

Ok in the midst of reading Bag of Bones, it took 130 pages before it ceased to become a tedious chore to read this. I'm certain that those 130 pages contained only just enough story to cover around 20-30 pages. Even though it has got marginally more interesting it's very, very drab by King's own standards. If he was aiming to create a more literary novel he must equate literary with nothing happening. If he's going for atmosphere over action the irony is that this one has no atmosphere at all...

So anyway it's not quite a chore now as it was, SOMETHING is finally happening even if it out of a poor man's John Grisham novel...

I can safely say this is a forgettable novel as I can't remember a thing from it...

Roll the Bones haters: maybe this is King's version of that, "Roll the Bag of Bones..."



#17 treeduck

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 02:11 PM

Ok after being fooled by The onion I feel like I have to make up for it by producing a brand new King interview, well it's more of a self-critique really...


Times Online   October 21, 2006

King on King

Stephen King reveals the thoughts and feelings behind some of his biggest books

Carrie (1974)
"I canít go back and read it because it consumes pretty awkward baby steps ó it  feels like what it is ó which is a short story that got a little too long for one of the menís magazines. Thatís what it was originally intended as."

Salemís Lot (1975)
"That was really a homage to the horror magazines of my youth. The Tales from the Crypt. I wanted to do a Moby-Dick of horror novels, if I could. That was really the  inspiration for it. I was teaching a horror class in high school at the time and I always wondered what would have happened if Dracula had come to America."

The Shining (1977)
"I hated the Kubrick film and thatís what people remember, I think. I used to think that books outlive the films, but Iím not sure that oneís done it. The thing about Jack Nicholson was that he played a character he played in a lot of biker movies, you know, the psycho. So I never liked the movie much."

The Stand (1978)
"For a lot of my fans, if Iíd died after that book, they wouldnít know the difference."

The Dead Zone (1979)
"Thatís the first real novel I wrote. The others are just like exercises and thatís a real novel with real characters, a real big plot and sub-plots. Itís got a lot of stuff. It was the first that wasnít a Doubleday book. It was bought by New American Libraries, a paperback publisher, went out to 20 hardcover publishers and 19 turned it down. Viking was the only one to pick it up, because the other 19 said that it wasnít a horror novel and wouldnít buy it. The film is one of David Cronenbergís best movies. I love that movie."

Cujo (1981)
"I love Cujo. It does what I want books to do. It feels like a brick thrown through somebodyís window, just feels like a really evasive piece of work. It feels anarchic, like a punk rock record. Itís short and itís mean."

The Talisman (1984)
"It was a real wonderful experience to write with Peter Straub. It was a chance to really stretch and to reach for some archetypes and consciously to reach for some big things. We talked about the heroís journey, we talked about Huckleberry Finn, we talked about epics and that sort of thing. We allowed ourselves to think big. Iím proud of that book."

Misery (1987)
"Itís probably my favourite. Well, Lisey is my favourite, but Misery was like the first where it felt like Iíd got hold of something big. Writing books is like surfing. You paddle your board out, then you catch the waves, right? And most of the waves are little and you ride them the best you can, but every nowand then you catch a big one. Misery felt like a big wave. Itís the first of the real books about writing and I felt like it was good. The film is great. Kathy Bates was perfectly cast."

Needful Things (1991)
"I was never as disappointed by reviews as I was by the reviews of Needful Things. I thought here is a really funny black comedy about American under the heel of Reagan. Itís where everything is for sale and all you have to do to get anything is sell your soul. Thatís all it costs. And the reviews were terrible and the reason seemed to be that everybody wanted a horror novel and what they got was a comedy. And I donít think anybody understood that. I loved the book. I think itís funny."

Dolores Claiborne (1992)
"That was a lot of stories that my mother told about people she knew when she was a kid."

Rose Madder (1995)
"Probably the least successful book that Iíve written. If I have trouble with a book I always say to myself I hope this book doesnít grow up to be Rose Madder."

Dream Catcher (2001)
"That was the first book after the accident. I couldnít write on the word processor so I had the pillows propped around me and wrote with a pen, in longhand."

Cell (2006)
"I just had a ball with that. It sat in my head for probably five years. I had the idea in New York City but I couldnít set it there, it was like an escape from New York, but New Yorkers get so shirty about their geography. They say, they never would have gone by 89th Street, they would have taken the tunnel. And I thought I canít put up with that. And then one day when I was coming back from a Red Sox game, I said, you know how to get out of Boston, set the book in Boston. Everything fitted."

#18 treeduck

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 01:35 PM

Ok the last 100 pages of Bones has improved a little, probably because Mike Noonan, our main character, has been interacting with other chracters on a more regular basis and something's actually happening outside his self-obsessed inner world of dull bad dreams, totally un-terrifying ghosts and writer's block.

It's still one the poorest King novels I've read, along with Insomnia and The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon. You can bet I won't be reading those two again btw...

#19 deadwing2112

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 08:49 PM

Pretty cool treeduck so far.

How lucky am I? I got Dark Tower 2 and 3 for 2.50 each at some stand in a sucky mall.

#20 treeduck

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Posted 24 October 2006 - 09:18 PM

QUOTE (deadwing2112 @ Oct 24 2006, 08:49 PM)
Pretty cool treeduck so far.

How lucky am I? I got Dark Tower 2 and 3 for 2.50 each at some stand in a sucky mall.

Thanks mate...

Those are good volumes too. I was pretty unimpressed by part one, so much so that I'm not even sure King meant for "The Gunslinger" volume to turn into a huge seven part series at all at the time he first wrote it. The difference between that and "The Drawing of the Three" is the difference between night and day...

I haven't read the revised version of The Gunslinger though... King has said, now that it's all finished, that he's going to revise all the volumes and inisists The Dark Tower is one novel. I doubt he'll ever release the whole thing in one volume though, it'd be like a 3500 page book!!

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Edited by treeduck, 24 October 2006 - 09:19 PM.






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