Reviews Rant

**kicking this out the door because it took too much of my night for me to not hit publish, despite it’s weird transformation from an intro to the ruin reviews category to a rant about how i don’t find reviews useful? ah well. got to promote some critiques i like.**

I understand there are individuals who spend much of their time writing masterful previews, and post them to their websites and other platforms online. Popular opinion tells me reviews are for the potential consumer. I agree with the statement, in spirit, but the reality is foggier than we care to admit.

Previews are shoveled copy, glorified copy, from people who received free copies or otherwise have a personal or professional connection to the author. (Wait ‘til he hears about blurbs!)

I can complain goodreads reviews suck, and you as a reviewer can – rightly – say what I’m reading is far from an actual review. But these are what’s available to me or the average person when we’re thinking over a purchase offline or online.

Popular opinion is that spoilers are bad. Again, I’ll agree with the spirit. Problem is: spoilers require context, or they’re not spoilers.

I can tell you a dog dies in I Am Legend, but that won’t prepare you for the gut punch. SpOiLeR wArNiNg it’s the best example of Shoot The Dog I’ve ever witnessed, and truth be told, I don’t care to see a better one because I’ll need those tears when a loved one eventually dies.

The proof is in the pudding, er, the proof is in the execution. *Something Happens* could only pique my interest. Relating to other media in other mediums can only demonstrate your eye for art.

Consider this a critique of reviews. I don’t like what I see and I have an idea about how to express my thoughts on the media I consume. It’s going to be amateur; It’s going to referential; It’s going to be what I wish I saw as the top review somewhere.

//

If you’ve read this far, yes, I understand I’ve complained about reviews like a big dumb. When the mood strikes I write playful ire directed at whatever. Reviews, or previews, are fine. They are a necessary evil and I deeply appreciate anyone who bothers to write one.

Obviously I prefer critique over reviews for purchase decisions and the post coital dysphoria-like feel after I finish a book/show/movie/game.

Here are three of my favorite critiques.

DigiBro – The Asterisk War
Explanation Point – Sword Art Online Abridged
Folding Ideas – Suicide Squad

Those blank 5⭐-putting people? I’m watching them with both eyes. Somethin’s wrong with them folk.

The Shack (2007) Scraps

After reading The Shack by WM. Paul Young I flew into a word frenzy. Not everything made it into the main post or even the highlights. There were too many angles!

Luckily I’m the kind of person who doesn’t delete anything and instead separates whatever doesn’t fit into it’s own document. Here’s a couple of what I call “scraps”.

Meta Notes

The Top Controversy of this book? You can boil it down to “God is a black woman?” Of course, anyone upset by this is missing the point: God isn’t human, you big dumb.

Yeah. I’m not even gonna lob the racist angle at them.

You can tell anyone who complains about this hasn’t read the book. I’ll paraphrase:

Mack says “Real talk, I always figured god looked like Gandalf.”

And then God returns “I know. I purposely chose this form to betray your expectations, because dressing as Gandalf isn’t going to shock you into the spiritual healing you’re due for after your daughter was abducted and murdered by a serial killer.”

And Mack responds “That makes sense.”

Apparently people have enough to say about this book there were books in response. They took issue with his aforementioned representation of God. Then the publisher made a The Shack Study Guide?

Understand, I’m not a religious person, but I lean towards the opinion religion – your connection to God or some force greater than yourself – ought to be individual.

Because otherwise, when you publish a book about a communion with God (a black woman called Papa, a hebrew man named Jesus, and an asian woman known as the Holy Spirit, simultaneously) and how you learn to forgive your daughter’s murderer through unconditional love, you get called a heretic by your local pastor.

The Shack: Strike Edition

As I said in this post, there’s a couple… Questionable things God says in The Shack. I took the liberty of having my way with WM. Paul Young’s prose for my own satisfaction. Er, horror.

“Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t even assume that my using something means I caused it or that I needed it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend[s] on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”

Oh dear. Ugh. I’m horrified by my own strikes. If you remove the negative phrasing and a couple spares, it all takes such a dark turn.

I don’t have to edit this next one much.

“… My love is a lot bigger than your stupidity.” Papa [God] said with a wink. “I used your choices to work perfectly into my purposes. There are many folk like you… Who end up locking themselves into a very small place with a monster that will ultimately betray them, that will not fill or deliver what they thought it would. Imprisoned with such a terror, they once again have the opportunity to return to me.”

“So you use pain to force people back to you?” It was obvious Mack didn’t approve.

That’s a yikes if I ever read one. I don’t know how God thought she was winning any of her arguments with Mack.

Too Critical?

I recently read a book, The Shack (2007) by WM. Paul Young, and I had some choice words for it. The beginning was great, but it quickly fell apart once the main character, Mack, left reality.

You have to understand that I am not a real author. I’m an accidental one at best and I’ve never published anything. I’ve always been a writer in the sense of writing gifts for my children and for my friends, but it never crossed my mind when I was writing this story for my children it would be published. So the first run and the only intended run of The Shack was 15 copies after Christmas 2005.

— WM. Paul Young

Because of the above quote from the author I wondered if I was being too critical. I bought the book in a bulk sale determined by weight; I finished it within 24 hours; The writer is an amateur. Are my thoughts invalidated due to his inexperience or my general agnostic tendencies?

At the end of this small project, I know the answer is “No.” Nothing is exempt from criticism. Nothing is exempt from comparison to other media and my kaleidoscope method of review has value.

// end.

The Shack (2007) Highlights

Recently I’d done a review (sorta?) of The Shack by WM. Paul Young. If you’ve read that much larger post, you’d understand I have a lot of thoughts about the book, and thus highlights. The early chapters had many paragraph-long sweet spots. After chapter five these disappear, sadly.

Below will be examples of the good, the fun, and the bad.

The Good

I’ll applaud his thoughtful observation on snow day culture, because here in Ohio, we just ended the snowy season ourselves. The moral latitude he lays – don’t harm children – is one we should all agree with. Humbling yourself is a concept new to me. There’s a couple good reminders that responsibility is power and that it shouldn’t be abused. Topped of with a libertarian’s nightmare – no rules?

There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sign rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry.

Even commonplace activities become extraordinary. Routine choices become adventures and are often experienced with a sense of heightened clarity.

It seemed that all who spoke, regardless of their point of view, were deeply affected by the situation. Something in the hearts of most human beings simply cannot abide pain inflicted on the innocent, especially children. Even broken men serving in the worst correctional facilities will often first take out their own rage on those who have caused suffering to children. Even in such a world of relative morality, causing harm to a child is still considered absolutely wrong.

You don’t play a game or color a picture with a child to show your superiority. Rather, you choose to limit yourself so as to facilitate and honor that relationship.

Relationships are never about power, and one way to avoid the will to hold power over another is to choose to limit yourself – to serve.

Lies are a little fortress; inside them, you can feel safe and powerful. Through your little fortress of lies you try to run your life and manipulate others. But the fortress needs walls, so you build some. These are just justifications for your lies. … Whatever works, just so you feel okay about the lies.

Paradigms power perception and perception power emotions. Most emotions are responses to perception – what you think is true about a given situation. If your perception is false, then your emotional response to it will be false too. So check your perceptions, and beyond that check the truthfulness if your paradigms – what you believe. Just because you believe something firmly doesn’t make it true. Be willing to reexamine what you believe. The more you live in the truth, the more your emotions will help you see clearly.

[Law] grants you the power to judge others and feel superior to them. You believe you are living to a higher standard than those you judge. Enforcing rules, especially in more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. … Rules cannot bring freedom; they have only the power to accuse.

The Fun

Every so often the The Shack likes to have a fun poke at itself. God “borrowing” a recipe from the main character’s dead relative and feeding it him is a strange mixture of levity and macabre. From left field, he focuses on something else which gave me a laugh.

And although I’ve never smoked, the stoner logic of “if anything is important then everything is important.” is not lost on me.

“It’s a recipe I borrowed from your own great-great-grandma. Made it from scratch too.” She grinned.

Mack wasn’t sure what “made it from scratch” might mean when God was saying it and decided to leave well enough alone.

If anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important.

The Bad

Eye roll inducing; everything is all so very convenient. It’s a story, yes, but it doesn’t have to be a badly told one. These next sections ought to have been left out for having sewn the seeds of doubt in this/the reader by giving the main character metanarrative-sight far too late into the book. Kind of a mood killer.

“Obviously you know about my daughter’s fascination with waterfalls and especially the legend of the Multnomah princess.”

Papa [God] nodded.

“Is that what this is about? Did she have to die so you could change me?”

“Whoa there, Mack.” Papa leaned forward. “That’s not how I do things.”

“But she loved that story so much.”

“Of course she did. That’s how she came to appreciate what Jesus did for her and the whole race. Stories about a person willing to exchange his or her life for another’s are a golden thread in your world, revealing both your need and my heart.”

“But if she hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be here right now…”

“Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t even assume that my using something means I caused it or that I needed it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”

“Actually that’s a relief. I couldn’t bear to think that my pain might have cut her life short.”

“… My love is a lot bigger than your stupidity.” Papa [God] said with a wink. “I used your choices to work perfectly into my purposes. There are many folk like you… Who end up locking themselves into a very small place with a monster that will ultimately betray them, that will not fill or deliver what they thought it would. Imprisoned with such a terror, they once again have the opportunity to return to me.” …

“So you use pain to force people back to you?” It was obvious Mack didn’t approve.

Afterthoughts

These highlights weren’t necessarily intended to make you want to read the book yourself. There’s very little to find here. But what was, is gold.

GameStop Stop!

I would have left the house to take a picture of my local GameStop but there is a sickness in the air.

Today [02/12/20] I’m reading GameInformer’s October 2019 issue. The note from the editor is interesting, for once, in the way you rubberneck at a carcrash. That’s because there were massive layoffs. Q2 2019 GameStop (GameInformer’s publisher) reported a 14+% loss and vowed to close 200 stores worldwide.

And that’s a big deal because GameStop is — especially in the United States — the chain. They bought out most chains and slapped on a GameStop logo years ago; the total transformation of videogame retail has been over for a decade.

I remember specifically 7 writers of a total of 120 employees were let go.
But back to the issue. —

This issue, at first touch, felt like it had been printed in a hurry with lower quality material. Colors ran; paragraphs weren’t justified correctly.

The feature articles are the bulk of the thin magazine. Pay no attention to how fighters have moved on from Street Fighter after two bad entries; or the “Tackling Infinite Expectations” interview with Sean Murray of No Man’s Sky infamy. Because we’re here for the footwear and jeans and college ads.

(The December 2019 issue has ads for cellphone plans, alcohol — not rated by the ESRB, and a naked baby with a full back tattoo and mohawk?)Speaking of small complaints, here’s a much bigger one: I dug for info about GameStop and I found their average wage is $8.35 per hour. That’s their average. The federal minimum wage is $7.35 per hour. For the sake of math, that’s only $1 above the federal minimum. $0.20 lower than Ohio’s minimum at $8.55. And that’s… really not a lot.

Got me thinking: paying someone minimum wage… isn’t minimum wage if you don’t give them full time hours. GameStop is infamous for attracting younger high school kids who can’t work full time and promising them a fast ladder to management. And even if you’re a manager you don’t get paid a lot; there’s only room for one manager per store.
If you do some thinking yourself, GameStop pushing their used games sales is what forced publishers to go digital.

GameStop led the Gold Rush on used copies. 100% of each sale on a used copy is pure profit because unlike a new sale you don’t have to pay per-copy licensing fees. (Or simply, you don’t have to order more copies.) It’s public knowledge that after a game’s release, if you take a mint copy off the shelf they will take a used copy out of their cabinets, slap in on the counter and say “it’s cheaper.” and they can afford to do so.

Go figure, after years of the biggest retailer cutting publishers at the ankles they would attempt to cut GameStop out of the loop entirely.

Years ago we would say things like “Where would we go for games if the biggest chain goes out of business?” and “What will happen to videogames if the biggest physical retailer shuts down?” but I’m beginning to think the rest of the games industry wants this.
The console producers’ marketplaces are set up; all the major developers have their own stores; it’s not like the indies were going to be able to afford physical copies or pay extra for shelf space at a GameStop in the first place.

Hold on! GameStops are closing because of their abuse to not only their employees but to the industry. Oh. See, when you frame it like that GameStop makes it difficult to care if they vanish in smoke.

At the time of writing this rant, I’m only halfway through the magazine. I’ve hit the part about Ghost Recon Breakpoint and my eyes are drooping.

An Anti-Retro Take on Final Fantasy 7 Remake

#RETROGAMERS are booing the new Final Fantasy 7 Remake and they should be celebrating it instead. It’s a chance to retell one of their favorite videogames with Modern Graphics, Gameplay, and Storytelling.

That’s the order of importance as well!

I support Square / Enix / Squaresoft / Square Enix games, as both developer and publisher. If you see the list they’ve had hands on, you’ll be wowed by the big-hitters you see.

And if you want to support Sqeenix and projects like ground-up Remakes of your favorites from 20+ years ago when games were objectively not as good, you should Pre-Order Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

This will confirm your interest in this project and projects like it. Understand, businesses are symbiotic macro-organisms that feed on Cash as feedback. Your Purchase assures them this is something you are willing to trade you Money for.

By now, Square Enix doesn’t need to be reminded we all love Sequals. But Remakes are a blossoming new territory for them. They want to see support by way of Pre-Orders and Day One Sales because it shows you care.

As I’ve said, you should Pre-Order FF7R. Yes, and in addition to that, if you’re a #RETROGAMER, don’t play it. You’ll grind your teeth and struggle with the new format of game called A-RPG. They’re relatively new. Think Playstation 2, and try not to wince.

Don’t play it, and instead watch your favorite Streamer handle the complicated controls. Even better: watch someone who has never played Final Fantasy 7 OG. You can relive the Story you once loved vicariously, and still grind your teeth and say “The book was better.”

Because that’s what passed for a game back in the 1990s. Turn-Based Role Playing Games? You mean reading a book. Nowadays we have a new name for those: Light Novels, or Visual Novels.

And it’s okay if things are different than what you remembered. My hope is with all that Polish left over, they may be able to write in some character development.

Learn to love again: Buy Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

Before I go, I have a knock knock joke for you.

Me: Knock. Knock.
You: Who’s –
Me: No one wanted to play Red XIII.

The Shack (2007)

My initial impression “this must be a popular book.” was based on the number of blurbs on the back cover, the front cover, and the first three pages following the cover. And “THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER” along with “OVER 20 MILLION COPIES SOLD”. However, I suspected The Shack was not going to be a fun read.

Here’s the first paragraph of the back cover.

Mackenzie Allen Philips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Yes, while digging through the bins of my local Goodwill Outlet, that paragraph stuck out enough for me to buy. (One of four I bought that day.)

No, I didn’t enjoy the first five chapters of The Shack, but for a reason you may not expect: Mack’s The Great Sadness twisted my stomach, made me feel uneasy. It was such a deep hurt. His hollowness is the sort that artificially ages a soul by decades.

Perhaps because I didn’t pick this book off the shelf of a library or a bookshop I didn’t anticipate the harsh 90° turn into religious fantasy. I couldn’t help but feel “Oh, we’re doing this now? Oh-kay.”

And technically, I had the exact same reaction to the Children of the Corn (movie, 1984) when the corn slightly parted to allow Burt through. The transition from reality to a new reality was so much punchier.

In the context of a horror movie the juxtaposition of what’s happening and what ought be possible is the scare. The kind of environmental transformation in Chapter 4 – snow melting from grass in seconds and animals gathering – doesn’t happen in real life. I don’t think the writer considered this because of his own religiosity.

Even worse, if a few key events in The Shack were rearranged, you could pull a Final Fantasy 8-esque fan theory: Maybe after Mack slips in the driveway and cracks his head in Chapter 1?; Or maybe after the car crash on his way home from the shack in Chapter 17? Instead, he falls asleep. As it stands, The Shack is a religious fantasy with only a soft out, at best.

A weird criticism: there’s too much winking. I’m not going to go back and read it a second time to count, but if someone has a digital copy, could you get a count for me? On second thought, I’ll save you the time: Too many. That’s how many.

And it’s done by God, mostly. Usually to soften a verbal lash to Mack. Here’s an example. –

“… My love is a lot bigger than your stupidity.” Papa [God] said with a wink.

There’s tons of that! – Little stings to break up the dialogue. The length is ~78K words because God convinces Mack of every metaphor-ladden latitude first try. Given Mack’s attitude in the early chapters this a total surprise. He transforms from …

“So where are you? I thought you wanted to meet me here. Well, I’m here, God. And you? You’re nowhere to be found! You’ve never been around when I’ve needed you – not when I was a little boy, not when I lost Missy. Not now! Some ‘Papa’ you are.”

… To …

Mack settled back in his chair, surveying the view from the porch. “I feel so full!”

[Says God:] “Well, you’ve eaten most of the scones.”

“That’s not what I meant.” He laughed. “And you know it. The world just looks a thousand times brighter and I feel a thousand times lighter.”

… And I can tell you after reading, yes, this character change is as jarring as it reads.

Stranger still, that second passage is before God leads Mack to Missy’s hidden grave and berates him into forgiving his child’s murderer. Unconditional love wins out against homicide of your loved ones? – another weird turn I wasn’t sure belonged. I was afraid in that moment: “Is Mack not going to lead the police to the grave when he gets back to reality?” (He does.)

Ooooo, but there’s a hidden spice throughout the story. Did the writer truly intend to give Mack these sick fourth wall knocks? They ought to have been deleted, because immediately after my eyeballs crossed them I was skeptical of everything God said for a couple pages each time.

“But if she hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be here right now…”

“Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t even assume that my using something means I caused it or that I needed it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”

“Actually that’s a relief. I couldn’t bear to think that my pain might have cut her life short.”

Brief aside – Did you know you can break a hammer with a nail? Tempered steel tools are great because you can hit things really hard provided there’s a wide surface area. The head of a nail works great with this. However, if you smash the tip of the nail, the head of the hammer could explode because the force is concentrated in such little area.

Mack was so on point he smashes the hammer. It stunned me. Because, yes, in terms of meta-narrative, “… If she hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be here right now…” is, yeah, that’s why you’re here at all. I think you’re supposed to leave the snark in the drafts? (He says without a trace of self-awareness.)

Once Mack gets to the shack, dialogue takes over and we don’t get many of his thoughts without the omniscient God 1 (capital-G God or “Papa”), God 2 (Jesus), or God 3 (Holy Spirit) stepping in. In short bursts early on there are entire paragraphs of quality observation. Below is an example.

There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sign rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry.

Even commonplace activities become extraordinary. Routine choices become adventures and are often experienced with a sense of heightened clarity.

I want the entire book to sing to me in this way. But alack and alas, it’s not so.

(If you want more good/fun/bad examples, read this post.)

Several hours into the book there are two almost twist endings that I did not appreciate. After the Dragon Ball Z hyperbolic time chamber style nap, Mack is on his way home. He is brutally t-boned by a drunk driver running a red light.

If the book were formatted better (i.e. having employed a masterful blank page so I wouldn’t know the outcome immediately?) perhaps this would have been heart-stopping? But it wasn’t, and I was annoyed the character was almost assassinated after a weekend with God.

The second almost twist, he wakes up, and fears he has lost his memory. Of course he was fine after a couple days in the hospital. But don’t fuck with me like that! He alone had been gifted, if nothing else, the whereabouts of his daughter’s grave.

Pardon me if I’m overreaching in my critique, but there is no justification for a double tragedy fake-out in this book. In fact, The Shack will be going on my list of Stop at Episode X for this stunt. Read until the end of Chapter 5 and close the book.

Dammit, I was hooked by the premise; I wanted God’s conversation with Mack to be the how’s and why’s of his daughter’s murder to end The Great Sadness. A poor example of a Come To Jesus Moment was not on the itinerary.

The Shack gave me plenty of questions to ask myself to discover more about my lack of religiosity, but the book’s conclusions were in no way any help. All of this writing and most of my pondering was done after the book was closed.

And as I close the book I notice the ladybug on the front cover has two dots on it’s wings, not five.

The Vampire Chronicles Progress 03/01/20

I have some thoughts about The Queen of the Damned (Book 3). I’m not enjoying it as much as Interview with the Vampire (Book 1) or The Vampire Lestat (Book 2) for some pointed reasons related to their POVs.

Interview with the Vampire

The first book is third person limited. Imagine a camera with a microphone in a room with two people in view: an interviewer and a vampire. The only information you are given is what’s observed by this camera, and what either of them say. The interviewer, if I recall correctly, is unnamed in this book. (He is given a name in Book 3, and that’s a point I’ll use against him later on.) Louis is who talks most, by far. He’s the vampire and subject of the interview.

Louis (lew-E) is a captivating personality. Being a vampire is a moral struggle for him, and as far as wikipedia and youtube essays have informed me, that’s a unique humanizing angle that didn’t exist before. It’s a treat to listen to him writhe uncomfortably about his religiosity over the course of centuries, hungry for redemption despite thinking maybe he doesn’t deserve it for feeding on blood from humans to sustain himself.

His frustration with Lestat – his vampire creator – and his lack of answers about the nature of vampires and their position in the hell / heaven dichotomy sends him down spirals of introspection. One thing I want to mention: Louis is religious and I am not; that didn’t stop his “god must be dead” toil from being both heartbreaking and compelling to read.

The Vampire Lestat

The second book? Wow. I have such conflicted feelings. Before reading, I would have swore to you Interview with The Vampire was as far as you needed to read in this series. It felt so self-contained. And so you know, that’s how I prefer things: for open doors to shut; for endings to be the end. Sure, leave some stuff for the fanfic people to explore between themselves, but the story within the scope of the book/show/movie must finish.

But Lestat de Lioncourt of The Vampire Lestat blew me away. Anne Rule had to have known we readers had questions about Lestat from the first book; we were thirsty for the deets.

Of course, I didn’t quite understand how thirsty I was until I read the preamble to Lestat’s *in-universe* response. Oh yeah, that’s right. He read Louis’s side of the story, and he has some clarifying bullet points, as well as a long-spun story of how he was human once.

And fuck me, that’s cool! I’m rapidly falling in love with the format of in-universe storytelling. (More on this in another post?) The book begins with a hook and sinks a couple more in you by the end. Sucks to suck if you were a Day 1 release reader and you were stuck agonizing, waiting for Book 3… Right?

The Queen of the Damned

While I can’t call The Vampire Lestat a roller coaster ride, given the 180,000-some word / 550-some page girth, it was exciting and the storytelling wasn’t patchwork like The Queen of the Damned.

Yes, I know why the perspective is changing to different vampires all over the world for the sake of worldbuilding: to show the ability set and power scaling of vampires. I’ll thumbs up the distinction of each character and how their perspectives and objectives are different. But I’m 25% through the book and the cliff-jumper at the end of Book 2 hasn’t been addressed by Lestat.

World-wide every vampire can feel the return of an “original” vampire. Everyone mentions their fear of a person able and willing to combust them with a thought. I’m getting this strong sense of “Shit’s happening! … Over there.” and what is interesting is not what I am reading.

I’ll admit both Book 1 and Book 2 are heavy on fluff, but you can blame on that on Louie and Lestat and their propensity for verbosity. I could even wager 25% is fluff – that’s novels in general. But the chance that all 25% is frontloaded for this one and I won’t have to deal with more afterwards…?

Ending Thoughts

1. The interviewer in Book 1 earns a name in Book 3. His name is Daniel. Armand (another vampire from from Book 1) makes Daniel a vampire after refusing for several chapters and that’s the kind of audience-insert nonsense I’ve learned to love and hate over the years. *sigh* It’s also important because it demonstrates Armand is a salty bitch and possessive of anything related to Lestat, even via Louie. So it gets to stay.

2. Book 2 is technically a prequel and a sequel. The prequel end of it is one of few I’ve enjoyed. Most leave a bad taste.

Questions:

Have you read this book and do you remember if it was worth it? I’m now 28% in and I’m grinding my teeth. HMU @casserlysnotes on twitter with your response.