Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Reviews: a couple of Mass Market PB's

Okay, so, I've been a very bad book blogger. It's been busy around my household (wedding-related events, family gatherings, painting rooms, water leaks in basements...) and around work (stuff not working right and having to be completely redone, ah, such is life in a lab) so I haven't been able to post in a while. Luckily, I have had some time to read! So you all will be getting a handful of reviews this week, starting with a couple of fun, summertime mass market paperbacks.

Angels and Demons
by Dan Brown
569 pages

I've been wanting to read this (and The DaVinci Code) for a while now and finally picked it when I realized that the movie was coming out soon. Since A&D is technically the prequel, I decided to read it first fully expecting not very much from the book. I seem to hear a lot of good reviews from a more non-literary crowd and a lot of bad "but it's not literature" kind of reviews elsewhere. I get both sides now that I've read it but I thought, for summer and wanting something action packed and not too difficult to read, this was perfect and I really enjoyed it.

So Robert Langdon is a religious symbology professor from Harvard. He's called in to help investigate a super-top-secret murder at a research science place (CERN) in Geneva. (PS they had a crazy fast airplane pick him up and take him from the US to Switzerland in an HOUR! how awesome would that be?!) Anyways, the murder is kept secret because there's a brand on the victim's chest that says "Illuminati" which was a group of scientists that were against the catholic church because well, science and religion don't normally mix well. But they're suppose to be EXTINCT! Since Langdon is an expert on the Illuminati legends and can't believe that they could be back, he sets out to find out who did this exactly, if the Illuminati are back and what their plan is because oh yea, they stole something that could seriously destroy a whole city.

The rest of the book is full of action, people being murdered, a secret scavenger hunt, and a guessing game of Who is the Bad Guy? but it's exciting and as long as you can get past some of the not-so-great writing style, it's worth a read. Just be prepared to be told that you will need to remember something later as in, "so-and-so says that X amount of wind resistance will slow your body enough to reduce the force of impact by X amount. Little did I know that I (Langdon) would find this information useful within the next 24 hours" or something like that. I mean does Dan Brown seriously think that I don't comprehend what I am reading on page 100 enough to remember it when I'm on page 400? I hate when authors give away what's going to happen like that. I mean, couldn't he have just waited until the big fall, have Langdon remember that info and then say something like "man, I'll have to remember to thank so-and-so for telling me about wind resistance!"

So, 7 out of 10. I really like the blend of science and religion and it was action packed but the writing was eeehhhh....

The Mist
by Stephen King
230 pages

I'm not a big Stephen King reader. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure the only other book of his that I've read is The Green Mile, but I had to read something because it's worth a whopping 25 points for the Spring Book Challenge. My best friend just happened to have this one on her shelf so I stole, er borrowed, it when I returned her copy of The Historian to her (which I had had for at least two years...)

Anyways, on to the story complete with scary-movie-style commentary in italics. There's a big storm one night and the next morning an eerie looking mist is coming across the lake. "Oh, it'll just burn off later with the sun," says the main guy. Uh huh, yeah right. A few hours later, the mist is still coming. Main guy and his son (who's like 8?) head to the store while wife stays behind. Bad move, wife. Once in the store, the mist comes faster and soon you can't see more than a few feet in front of the store windows. Some people decide to leave but never come back and their screams are heard so everyone else is terrified. At one point a bag boy opens a loading dock door and gets taken by something huge with tentacles. good one, dude. Then a few more people decide sitting around is ridiculous and they decide to leave. Because it worked out so well for the last people... Anyways, they all die and the crazy lady in the store keeps spouting off about how it's the end of the world. There always has to be a crazy lady doesn't there? Main guy finally develops a plan to get out but doesn't know how far the mist goes or if anyone else is alive out there. The ending is one of those non-ending endings, where nothing is resolved and you don't really know what's out there but ya know, there's hope still. But, you're probably going to run out of gas before you get out of the mist, buddy.

5 out of 10 stars. I like my endings to actually explain something. But I might see the movie because Marky Mark = Yum.


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