Friday, 13 May 2011

Ghosts

Ghost Story by Peter Straub

The title will give away the genre that this book fits into but seriously underplays the horror it contains. Anyone who like reading Stephen King would love this book. It tells the story of a group of old men, all lifelong friends and a series of 'super natural' events that befall them.

The story is set in a small town in the northern USA and centres around the legend of 'Manitou'. There is something evil at large in the town and it seems to have a grudge against the four protagonists and their younger friends. The book begins very slowly leaving the reader wondering where it is going and when will it get there. As winter takes a grip on the town it is cut off from the outside world by a snow storm. Things quickly go bad from here on.... Straub uses this isolation to allow the suspense to build and build. The pace of the book accelerates to a breathless pace as the endgame approaches. The most impressive thing about this horror story, more than any other novel of this genre that I have read, is the author is able to make it believable!

There are very few novels that I have read more than once but this is one of them. In fact I'm sure I will read it yet again some day. Put simply, it is the best horror novel I have ever read.

If you like Stephen King you'll love this!


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

After a bit of a break I decided to dip back into the children's Harry Potter collection once again. The third book in Rowling's series continues where the last one left off.

Summer with the Dursleys, back to Hogwarts, Quidditch and danger lurking. 'Prisoner...' is a very, very good book but it's all getting a little too familiar now. Rowling has discovered a successful formula and at this point seems unwilling to deviate from the cash course. That doesn't stop this book being a highly enjoyable read but the format does seem a little predictable now. Reading this back it seems like I don't like it but I do!! The 'dementors' are great monsters and the new 'dark arts' teacher is a star! Rowling does have the knack of writing children's books that adults can share too. However, the first novel is definitely the best of the three so far.

A good read if a little disappointing compared to the first.

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