Suicide Reviews: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1)

harry-potter

Date Published: June 26, 1997

Published By: Bloomsbury

Number of Pages: 223

I was in the third grade when I first met The Boy Who Lived. Our teacher, Mrs. Morgan, started reading it out loud to us one day and by the time she finished reading the first chapter I was hooked. I was so enamoured by the book that I begged my mom to take me to the bookstore so I could buy my own copy. (Or rather, so she could buy it for me. Thanks, mom!)

Now in possession of the book, I raced through the story alongside Harry, Ron, and Hermione, battling mountain trolls, playing Quidditch, and rescuing the Philosopher’s Stone. By the time, I got to the last page, that was it for me – I was completely head-over-heels in love.

I know that with a lot of readers of my generation, Harry Potter was what got them into reading. It was different in my case, however, because I was already a huge bookworm before I read Harry Potter. I loved books before I even knew how to read them. (Strange, but true.) So I was always a book lover but when Harry Potter came along…it was like meeting my soulmate. Or soulbook, as it were. (Is that a thing? It should be.)

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Philosopher’s Stone. Since then, we’ve seen Harry Potter movies, theme parks, a play, official Harry Potter websites, fansites, countless merchandise, and crazy amounts of fanfiction and fanart. Which leaves the question: does the book that started a global phenomenon still hold up?

Short answer: Yes. Always.

I get so much more out of Philosopher’s Stone as an adult then I did when I was a kid. When I was younger, it was just a fun adventure story with dragons, magic spells, and the most incredible school for wizards and witches that I wanted to go to soooo badly! (I remember turning 11 and actually hoping I would get my Hogwarts letter.)

Now as an adult, I can appreciate the depth of J.K. Rowling’s knowledge of her own world, the allegories, the symbolism and all that good pretentious English-major kind of stuff. All the things an adult reader is ‘supposed’ to appreciate – but I still have so much fun reading it. Rowling’s writing is witty, straightforward, and smart. She never condescends to her audience – something that I believe is one of the reasons the Harry Potter books have stood the test of time. While Philosopher’s Stone can be read and enjoyed by children, she introduces enough dark elements to make the book compelling for adults as well. I mean, the book starts with an infant boy becoming an orphan because his parents were murdered. That’s pretty depressing stuff.

But Rowling is wise not to fill the first book with doom and gloom. The reader is dazzled as we see the fantastic magical world through Harry’s eyes for the first time. The scene in Diagon Alley where Harry first experiences the wizarding world is pure delight. Rowling is a master of worldbuilding – she gives us just enough detail to get a clear idea of the world but she does not inundate the reader with description that goes on for pages at a time. Classic examples include the scene in Diagon Alley, Harry and Ron eating magical treats on the Hogwarts Express, and the brief descriptions of the classes at Hogwarts. She makes it real, she makes it tangible while keeping an underlying logic and consistency throughout.

But no matter how great the worldbuilding is, the heart of Philosopher’s Stone is the characters. Characters who we fall in love with because we relate to them. I can’t think of any other literary characters who are more real to me than Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Great as individual characters but even better together as ‘The Golden Trio.’ They complement each other so perfectly – Hermione is the Mind, Ron is the Heart, and Harry is the Soul. Together, they are truly a magical combination.

When I first read Philosopher’s Stone, I had no idea of the phenomenon it would become. No matter how old I am, I always enjoy returning to it again and again to relive the magic once more.

Rating: 5/5

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Suicide Reviews: An Accident of Stars (Manifold Worlds #1) by Foz Meadows

An Accident of Stars (Manifold Worlds, #1)

Date Published: August 2, 2016

Published By: Angry Robot

Number of Pages: 496

Synopsis: When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war. There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. 

Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic. Can one young woman – a very accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena?

An Accident of Stars is a refreshing, feminist fantasy with an incredible cast of complex, dynamic characters and spectacular worldbuilding.

It has been described as ‘Narnia for grownups’ but it is so much more than that. Yes, there are the familiar portal-fantasy tropes – a character from modern-day Earth finds a doorway into another world and goes on a fantastic series of adventures. But Foz Meadows puts her own unique twist on it – there isn’t just one alternate dimension, there is an entire multiverse and people who are able to travel to other universes are called ‘worldwalkers.’ Thankfully, the author makes the wise decision not to overwhelm the reader with dozens of different worlds but instead focuses on one: a magical fantasy world of clashing nations and complex politics.

And what an incredible world it is. The worldbuilding in this novel left me absolutely gobsmacked. There are several different religions, nations, and ways of ruling those nations. For example, there is a nation called Veksh and it is a strictly matriarchal society. Women hold the most important positions of power and, while men are not exactly slaves, they are definitely considered to be second-class citizens. I love how Meadows actually took the time to explore just how a matriarchal society would work. Believe me, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and women holding hands and everyone gets along – it is just as fraught as a patriarchal society, with power struggles and backstabbing and even attempted murder. But it is so fascinating and so wonderful to see women as real people instead of being relegated to the role of ‘hero’s love interest.’

I can’t tell you how amazing it is to read a book where the female characters outnumber the male ones. You would think it would be jarring to read because we are so used to seeing movies where there is only one token female character dropped in among an all-male cast. But it felt like the most natural thing to read about these women who fight and love and scheme and argue and have their own plans. Each and every single one of them is flawed and they all have agency. So instead of the Bechdel test, I propose that we have the Meadows test: does your story (be it a book or a film) have multiple, named, female characters that each have their own story arc and are responsible for driving the plot forward? I think if we used that test, we’d get a lot more stories that actually represent women as real people.

Fantasy is often labeled as escapist fiction with no relation to the real world. This could not be further from the truth and if you want an example of that, just read An Accident of Stars. If you read between the lines, there is so much social commentary on a wide variety of subjects: feminism, sexism, racism, trans issues, rape, religion, marriage, polyamory – the list goes on. But Foz Meadows doesn’t preach – she shows our world through a different lens by viewing it from another fantasy world.

My one minor complaint about this book is that one of the romantic relationships felt slightly underdeveloped and rushed. I would have liked to see it drawn out a little more.

But there’s also a part with dragons. So in the end it evens out.

The ending was an emotional roller-coaster that left me devastated while also hinting at what’s to come in the next book. I cannot wait to find out what happens.

If you are looking for a feminist fantasy book that features diverse, interesting characters, I highly recommend An Accident of Stars. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Suicide Reviews: The Hanging Tree (Peter Grant #6) by Ben Aaronovitch

The Hanging Tree (Peter Grant, #6)

Date Published: January 31, 2017

Published By: DAW Books Inc.

Number of Pages: 292

Synopsis: Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of Police Constable Peter Grant of the Folly – London’s police department for supernatural cases – even when they happen at an exclusive party in one of the flats of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But the daughter of Lady Ty, influential goddess of the Tyburn river, was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favor. Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, where the basements are bigger than the houses, where the law is something bought and sold on the open market, a sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean. But this is Peter Grant we’re talking about. He’s been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week…

     I’m beginning to think that, when it comes to the Peter Grant series, Ben Aaronovitch can do no wrong. In The Hanging Tree, we get yet another fantastic book in the urban fantasy series that mixes magic with mystery.

     The Peter Grant universe has definitely grown from the very first book in the series and I love the feeling of expansion the series has now. What with Peter learning about a female-exclusive magical society, tangling with Americans and finding out about their magical tradition, and a brief mention about the arrangement with Chinatown, it seems only a matter of time before Peter goes on a trip abroad – and things become even more epic. (Oh man, please let the next Peter Grant mystery be set in Chinatown.)

     And speaking of epic, we finally get to see a confrontation between Peter and a certain former friend turned deadly enemy. In my opinion, the fight scene was woefully short but only because I had been anticipating it since book four. But I have a feeling that this was just the warm-up for a future battle of truly epic proportions.

     The Hanging Tree is also remarkable for being the book where we finally learn the Faceless Man’s true identity. The reveal of Peter Grant’s own Big Bad was pitch perfect and truly chilling – it played out like something you would see in a taught psychological thriller.

     We see a lot of cameos from characters that have popped up in  previous Peter Grant novels – some taking on bigger roles than others. While I love seeing some of my favorite characters, I will say that it is sometimes hard to keep track of them all.

     And now I must enter into post-Peter Grant depression seeing as I have caught up on all of the books and there is no news about when the next one will be released. Needless to say, I cannot wait for the next one and I highly, highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4/5

Suicide Reviews: Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant #5) by Ben Aaronovitch

Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant, #5)

Date Published: January 6, 2015

Published By: DAW Books, Inc.

Number of Pages: 323

Synopsis: When two young girls go missing in rural Herefordshire, police constable and wizard-in-training Peter Grant is sent out of London to check that nothing supernatural is involved. It’s purely routine – Nightingale, Peter’s superior, thinks he’ll be done in less than a day. But Peter’s never been one to walk away from someone in trouble, so when nothing overtly magical turns up he volunteers his services to the local police, who need all the help they can get. But because the universe likes a joke as much as the next sadistic megalomaniac, Peter soon comes to realize that dark secrets underlie the picturesque fields and villages of the countryside and there might just be work for Britain’s most junior wizard after all. Soon Peter’s in a vicious race against time, in  a world where the boundaries between reality and fairy have never been less clear…

     Foxglove Summer  is, hands down, the best book in the Peter Grant series so far. Ben Aaronovitch continues to expand the world of supernatural creatures and it all just seems so real. Everything Aaronovitch has created in this book fits together so perfectly that nothing feels out of place and I think that is arguably more important in a fantasy book than a realistic novel.
     One thing I just have to mention is the unicorns. Yes, there are unicorns in this book and Ben Aaronovitch does a unique, disturbing twist on them. How could you not love a book with unicorns?
     It is so fun to see Peter Grant out of his comfort zone, i.e. London. And we get to see more of Beverley Brook, one of my favourite characters introduced in the very first book. And I was so happy to see the introduction of Dominic Croft, an openly gay detective who is a fully realized character and not a stereotype. There have been several gay characters in the Peter Grant novels and I love the way Ben Aaronovitch writes them – as real people, not caricatures. If you are like me, and are craving more diverse books, the Peter Grant series has got you covered.
     I’ve talked about the twist ending of the previous book which was one of the reasons I was anticipating this book so much. We definitely do not get any closure but there are some serious hints dropped about what actually happened, how Peter’s dealing with it, and what’s going to happen next. My prediction: something big is going to happen in the next book and this series will reach truly epic proportions. Sorry if this is all a little bit vague but I don’t want to spoil anything.
Rating: 5/5

Suicide Reviews: Broken Homes (Peter Grant #4) by Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4)

Date Published: July 25, 2013

Published By: Gollancz

Number of Pages: 324

Synopsis: A mutilated body in Crawley. A killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil, possibly an associate of the twisted wizard known as the Faceless Man. Or maybe just a garden-variety serial killer. 

     Before apprentice wizard and Police Constable Peter Grant can even get his head ’round the case, two more are dropped in his lap: a town planner has gone under a tube train, and there’s a stolen grimoire for Grant to track down. So far, so London. 

     But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening on a housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans, and inhabited by the truly desperate. Is there a connection? And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River – on the jurisdiction of some pretty prickly local river spirits?

     This is the best Peter Grant novel so far, in my opinion. Reading all of the Peter Grant novels in rapid succession has enabled me to note the progress Aaronovitch has made in his storytelling, world-building, and character development.
     This is definitely the most complicated book in the Peter Grant series. There are so many plot threads that, if you don’t read this book carefully, can be hard to keep track of. But it is definitely worth paying attention to as it all ties neatly together towards the end.
     And what a spectacular ending it is. I wish I could go on about it here but I definitely don’t appreciate spoilers so I won’t do that to anyone else. The only thing I will say about it is MAJOR TWIST!!!!! A twist so huge that I need to read the fifth book NOW!!!!!
Rating: 4/5

Suicide Reviews: Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant #3) by Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant, #3)

Date Published: August 2012

Published By: Del Rey

Number of Pages: 303

Synopsis: It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher – and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom – if it exists at all – is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects…, except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inpsector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as the Faceless Man, it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and – as of now – deadliest subway system in the world. 

     At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful…and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah…that’s going to go well.

     Yet another enjoyable romp through London with Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard. This time we follow Peter as he investigates a murder in the London Underground.
 
     I really liked how Lesley was back in action in this installment. She wasn’t really in the last book and I can’t tell you why or else I’ll spoil the first book. Lesley has joined Peter at the folly, is learning magic, and generally being her bad-ass self. All while trying to keep Peter out of trouble.
     One of my favorite new characters in this series is the half-human, half-goblin Zachary Palmer. Zach plays the classic part of the endearing troublemaker who turns out to be quite helpful (albeit reluctantly.)
     To be honest, this isn’t my favorite book in the Peter Grant series. It it still a really fun read and not to be missed for Peter Grant fans. I guess I was hoping for another appearance by the Faceless Man. There are traces of him in the book but he never actually shows his face (or rather, non-face). It is strongly hinted towards the end that he will feature more prominently in the next book, which I will be reading/reviewing next.
Rating: 3.5/5

Suicide Reviews: Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant #2) by Ben Aaronovitch

Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant, #2)

Date Published: April 21, 2011

Published By: Del Rey

Number of Pages: 288

Synopsis: Body and Soul. The Song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz musician and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body – a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

     Body and soul – they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace – one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard ‘Lord’ Grant – otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

     While I absolutely loved the first book, I’m just going to go ahead and say it: this one was better. It has jazz vampires and cat girls and all sorts of freakish things. Plus, Peter finally has a love interest who likes him back – for all sorts of reasons.
     The synopsis above doesn’t really explain the other main plot point: there is a seriously evil magician offing people by using a girl with teeth in her vagina as an assassin. Perhaps not the most practical of weapons but I think we can all agree when I say that is legitimately frightening. Also, kind of bad-ass.
     So, yes, this book, much like Rivers of London, has two seemingly disparate plot threads until the very end where Aaronovitch ties them neatly together. There were some reviewers who had a problem with the fact that Aaronovitch left so many questions unanswered at the end but he was obviously setting up for future sequels and it didn’t leave me frustrated – it made me want to read the next book. Which I will be doing very shortly.
     Also, I love the fact that this series seems to be getting its own Voldemort. The Faceless Man is powerful, mysterious, and very, very dangerous. He only appears at the very end of the book for a showdown with Peter. It is still unclear what his motive is – why the human experiments? why does he need to hide his identity? – but I am positive that all will be revealed in future books. It’s not like J.K. Rowling spelled out Voldemort’s life story in the first Harry Potter book. (Yes, I know I keep making Harry Potter references when reviewing these books but in my defense, Ben Aaronovitch drops them in his books all the time.)
     I highly recommend this book to urban fantasy fans, and fantasy fans in general. You know what, I recommend this book to people who just like to read in general. If you are not reading Peter Grant then you are missing out.
Rating: 4/5

Suicide Reviews: Midnight Riot (Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch

Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)

Date Published: January 10, 2011

Published By: Del Rey

Number of Pages: 298

Synopsis: Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, where he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

     I am not typically a fan of the Urban Fantasy genre; I’m more of an Epic Fantasy girl – give me books the size of bricks that are stuffed with dragons, swords, and sorcery. However, I will make an exception for an Urban Fantasy series that is inventive, original, and action-packed. And that’s where the Peter Grant series comes in.
     Midnight Riot is just the Urban Fantasy series I’ve been looking for. It’s funny, smart, and chock full of Harry Potter references. The main character is Peter Grant, a sarcastic, whip-smart police constable who discovers magic is real and starts training to be a wizard. Peter is so incredibly believable that sometimes I have to remind myself that he’s not a real person. Same goes for all the other characters in the book: all of them are fleshed out so well, even the most minor ones.
     And can we please talk about the female characters in this book? They are so well-written, it just blows my mind. Whether we’re talking about Lesley May, Beverly Brook or Mama Thames, they all have distinct, complicated personalities. None of them are just there to be simpering love interests. It’s incredible.
     One of my favorite characters is Chief Inspector Thomas Nighingale, the last wizard in London and Peter’s boss. I’m not completely sure but I have a strong suspicion that he’s based on either Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hiddleston, judging by Nightingale’s physical description: ‘He was about one-eighty in height – that’s six foot in old money – and dressed in a beautifully tailored suit that emphasized the width of his shoulders and a trim waist. I thought early forties, with long, finely boned features and brown hair cut into an old-fashioned side parting. It was hard to tell in the sodium light but I thought his eyes were grey.’ p. 21
     See what I mean? Mmmm, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston….
Image result for benedict cumberbatch Image result for tom hiddleston
     I’m sorry, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, back to the book.
     Another thing I really liked about this book was the unique magic system. Peter desperately wants to know how magic works but the trouble is no one has really figured it out yet. The only thing Nightingale knows for sure is that magic is generated by life, so in theory, anyone could learn how to do it. This detail makes it seem so scientific and that much more real. There’s this really good part in the book where Peter is trying to explain it to Lesley:
     ‘”It’s all real,’ I said. ‘Ghosts, magic, everything.’
     ‘Then why doesn’t everything seem different?’ she asked.
     ‘Because it was there in front of you all the time,’ I said. ‘Nothing’s changed, so why should you notice anything?’ ‘ p. 39
     The book is filled with so much history and detail but it never bogs the story down or feels irrelevant. The action is fast-paced but never clumsy or confusing. It is all written so vividly that it plays like a film in my head when I’m reading it (as good books are supposed to do.) This book needs to be a TV show.
     I highly recommend this book to fantasy fans, particularly fans of Harry Potter.
Rating: 4/5

Suicide Reviews: Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Date Published: October 17, 1975
Published By: Doubleday
Number of Pages: 653
 
     Ben Mears has returned to Jerusalem’s Lot in hopes that exploring the history of the Marsten House, an old mansion long the subject of rumor and speculation, will help him cast out his personal devils and provide inspiration for his new book. But when two young boys venture into the woods, and only one returns alive, Mears begins to realize something sinister at work – in fact, his hometown is under siege from the forces of darkness. And only he, with a small group of allies, can hope to contain the evil that is growing within the borders of this small New England town.
     Ah, yes. Stephen King’s classic vampire novel. Seeing as how vampires in pop culture have evolved so drastically in the 40 years since this book was released, can readers today still enjoy vampires that bite instead of sparkle?
     I can’t speak for everyone, but this reader sure did.
     I have read this novel before but I decided to revisit it because I was on a Stephen King kick. (See my review of Carrie.) Yep, when I crave horror, there’s no better place to look than the Master of Horror himself.
     I can best sum up Stephen King’s story about vampires by saying that it’s basically your typical All-American novel where it focuses on a small town and the people in that town. And then, he adds vampires into the mix. And that’s why it’s so brilliant.
     King really takes his time describing the daily lives of the resident’s in Salem’s Lot in the first half of the novel. You get to know the main character, his love interest, her parents, the milkman, the town drunk, the school bully, the real estate agent, even the guy who works at the town dump. And quite a few other characters besides. Sometimes, it’s a little hard to keep them all straight but I think, for the most part this technique works. People might complain that the book is too slow in the beginning but I think that’s actually what makes it work so well. You get invested in Salem’s Lot, it becomes so real that when vampires show up it doesn’t feel forced or like an impossible plot twist. It feels like the most natural thing in the world.
     And that is what makes this book so terrifying. King creates such an atmosphere of slowly-building terror that your dread increases with each page until about mid-way through when all hell breaks lose (literally.) By then, you’re entranced and it is impossible to look away. You just sit and read in horror as evil descends on Salem’s Lot.
Rating: 4/5

Suicide Reviews: Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie

Date Published: April 5, 1974

Published By: Doubleday

Number of Pages: 199

Carrie was the odd one at school; the one whose reflexes were always off in games, whose clothes never really fit, who never got the point of a joke. And so she became the joke, the brunt of teenaged cruelties that puzzled her as much as they wounded her. 
     There was hardly any comfort in playing her private game, because like so many things in Carrie’s life, it was sinful. Or so her mother said. Carrie could make things move – by concentrating on them, by willing them to move. Small things like marbles , would start dancing. Or a candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her game, her power, her sin, firmly repressed like everything else about Carrie.
    One act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious jokes of her classmates, offered Carrie a new look at herself the fateful night of her senior prom. But another act – of furious cruelty – forever changed things and turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction. 
    She made a candle fall and she locked the doors…
     Stephen King’s debut novel was published over forty years ago,back in 1974. Since then Carrie has had three movie adaptations, the most recent one released in 2013. Thanks to the staying power of Stephen King, Carrie  is now a horror classic. But does this little horror novel still have the power to scare audiences in this age of gore fest films like Saw and Hostel?
 
     I’ll say it does.
     Reading Carrie again, I am always impressed by King’s ability to build tension so masterfully throughout the story. His technique of integrating the surviving character’s testimonies into the narrative is seamless and even though, in some moments, King reveals exactly what is going to happen it does not dull the drama – it heightens it. The reader is no longer concerned with what is going to happen but how it is going to happen. And it works perfectly.
     And oohhhhh, the writing is exquisite. Anyone who says Stephen King is a hack writer has clearly never read his work. There are lines in Carrie that send a shiver down my spine. For example:
     ‘Three joints were going, passing through the inner dark like the lambent eyes of some rotating Cerberus.’
     Like, come on. What a vivid image!
     Something else King does so effortlessly is character development. All of his characters, from the main ones down to the smallest side ones, live and breathe like real people. Even characters that are archetypes – the mean girl, the religious fanatic – are three-dimensional and believable.
     The novel also captures teenage brutality so well. Girls really can be that cruel to each other, as depicted in the infamous shower room scene. As readers, we sympathize with Carrie and that sympathy can be hard to reconcile when Carrie goes off on her murderous rampage. But we do sympathize with her because we’ve all had those thoughts – violent, destructive thoughts when we’ve been wronged or humiliated. The urge to just let rip, to teach people ‘a thing or two.’ No girl wants to be Carrie- but we all crave having her power.
     I suppose that’s what makes the book so frightening. Carrie’s telekinesis scares us – and thrills us.
      If you’re new to Stephen King, or horror in general, I highly recommend starting with Carrie. Don’t just see the movie – read the book.
Rating: 5/5