An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
Yeah, I loved this.
It's late so I won't be going too in detail. But if you had told me a combination of natural history, sports writing, and true crime could be blended together, I wouldn't have thought it was good. But this was simply incredible. I had a hard time stopping once I got listening, which is bad because I listened to most of it at work.
Johnson does an incredible job of setting up the story and putting it into the context it needs to be held in. I HATE fishing so never knew much about fly fishing. Yet I was RIVETED listening to the explanation of fly tying and why it's relevant to feathers. And once I knew the historical and scientific significance of the birds, I felt emotional pain thinking about what was lost. I don't think I would have found it as gripping or emotional I'd Johnson hadn't set it up the way he did. I really want to commend him for how well and seamlessly he did so.
Final rating: 5/5. A wonderful blend of multiple subjects into one topic.
Edwin Rist should be dive bombed by ever seagull he encounters.
All finished! I don't count this as the first book of 2020 cause I could have finished it yesterday had I not partied too hard.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. It was a good exploration of the similarities between different monster sightings in America. I learned about creatures I hadn't heard of and there were some good stories shared. Godfrey is a good writer and I'd read her other books based on this one. If you enjoy cryptids, this is a good collection to read through.
I'd say the biggest downside to the book is there didn't feel like there was a lot of diversity among the monsters discussed. In fact, the majority of chapters were about dog men or similar beings. And despite the title including "new" monsters, there was little "new" stuff. Most of the creature had been told about since the early 1900s. I was hoping she'd discuss Slenderman and the shadow people, black eyed kids, and creatures like the Rake and Jersey Devil. But again, mostly dog people stories. So that was kind of a bummer.
Final Rating: 4/5 stars. A good collection and exploration on connections between different monsters.
It sounds like the goal of this book is to trace common themes when it comes to monsters. Like, all the different kind of goat men out there. I'm down for that.
Tremblay has an incredible way of creating absolutely gut and heart wrenching stories. Cabin at the End of the World broke my heart and Disappearance at Devil's Rock did too.
Tremblay did an amazing job of creating dynamics that felt realistic with his characters, especially among the members of the family. They felt like real people and that made the turn of events all the more horrible and heartbreaking. It also made the story all the more realistic and felt like something that could plausibly happen.
The character of Rooney was a fascinating one. I actually read his voice in the last couple chapters as like how a recent podcast on the Manson family imitated Manson himself (Last Podcast on the Left, if you're wondering). That made him an altogether eery and frightening character.
Overall, the eeriest and most frightening part of this work is that there were two possibilities that were both equally terrifying. Either something paranormal was going on or it was all human-made madness. Cabin played with similar possibilities and Tremblay pulls off both incredibly.
Final thought:(show spoiler)
Final rating: 5/5
As we know, I quite like Tremblay's style. As we also know, I quite like spooky stories that involve forests. Therefore, I'm thinking this one will be up my alley. We'll have to find out.
If you remember, I love anything that's spooky and in the woods. This one seems to fit the bill wonderfully.
The Devil Crept In is a slow starter but it all moves fast. Part one was my least favorite as it didn't feel like too much was actually going on. After part two I was terrified and that feeling followed me the whole way through. The ending left me feeling sick in the way a good spooky story can, though I also hated the ending because of how bleak it is. Sort of like The Mist movie adaptation. It works and it preys on some of my spookiest fears, but it's so bleak I can't call it satisfying.
I really liked Stevie. He reminded me of some of the kids I worked with.
Final rating: 4.5 out of 5. Great horror, definitely spine-tingling. Why did the cats have to get involved?
Part 2 was honestly one of the most unnerving things I've read in a while. 0_o Hopefully I can sleep.
Overall, I really loved this book. 100% would read it again. The atmosphere was awesome and I really enjoyed the character developments in Gyre and Em, as well as their development in relation to each other. The pacing felt awesome as well. There were enough highs and lows where I didn't feel like the book was rushing along or dragging. It could be slow at times but never in a way that made me reluctant to pick it up again.
As far as things I would have liked, I feel like there were some missed opportunities in regards to the horror element of the book. I really would have enjoyed more in regards to the technical nature of caving. When I pictured it in my head, it felt more like walking through a mine/rock climbing than caving itself, which kind of lessened the effectiveness for me. Having worked with and been friends with cavers, I know about maneuvers and risks that literally happen as part of typical caving that would have amped the horror up in this book to a whole new level. Seriously, look up Jam Crack in the Glenwood Caverns and that alone demonstrates what I mean.
Final rating 5/5: I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
Final thought: It'd be cool to have this adapted as a video game. That's kind of how it played out in my head and I think it'd be a lot of fun to play a game as Gyre.