Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall

I have no excuse. After these reviews I thought I was done with these books. I think it was watching the television show that made me venture back into the preposterous town of Fell's Church.
Elena is back. She's no longer dead, she's no longer a vampire, but she's not quite a human either. What is she? Adult-baby-mythical-fairy would be an accurate description, with magical powers. She's unable to speak and only recognizes people by kissing them, Stefan, Bonnie, Meredith, Caroline, Matt, they all get some kissin' from Elena (prairie dogs do this, according to the author, yeah prairie dogs are always making out with each other, the sluts). She also floats in the air, at one point Stefan tethers her floating body to the back of his car as he drives through the forest. She then wakes up one day all better and able to speak, but of course she gets to keep the magic powers.
Smith also found it necessary to retell us repeatedly that Elena is beautiful with "golden hair and eyes as blue as "lapis lazuli". Mentioning once that she is an attractive blonde with blue eyes would have sufficed. She also tells us repeatedly how angelic and kind and wonderful Elena is, and how EVERYONE loves her. Guess what? We read the first four books, Elena's a self obsessed spoiled brat. We didn't forget. Oh, but now her blood makes her irresistible to all vampires (fans of Charlaine Harris find this sounds rather familiar). Yeah, we needed another reason all men love her, vampire or otherwise.
And on to Stefan and Damon. Stefan isn't really around much and when he is he's simply calling Elena his "lovely love" over and over and flying around in the trees with her (since when can he fly? Oh, that's right since L.J Smith saw "Twilight"). Yes he's more bland and boring then before, but it's not that noticeable. Now Damon however is another story. Remember how I said he turned into a suddenly helpful robot in the last book? That was better then whatever the hell he was here. All snarky comments and sense of humor gone.

Spoilers ahead:

To keep this review from getting way too long I'll just list of some of the more bizarre occurrences:

-Attacks by ambulatory trees, with poisonous sap, and some with exposed male genitalia.
-Elena sprouting different sets of wing or different occasions ("redemption" wings, "purity" wings, etc.)
-A set of Japanese incestuous twins. About as believable as a poorly written cartoon a 12 year old wrote.
-Teen girls, while possessed, strip off all their clothes and throw themselves at ANY male they see, even their fathers and brothers. One 15 year old girl superglues a homemade stripper outfit onto herself.
-Also while possessed (by a Japanese fox demon, I might add), Damon tries to get Matt and Elena to make a sex tape.
-Caroline becomes pregnant and accused Matt of raping her (it's not even his kid).

I can say that if the goal was to read nonsense just to see how bad it'll get, then this book was worth the drive to the library. I'm glad I didn't pay money for it, which was twice as long as the other four at around 600 pages.

As terrible as the first four books were, they were never boring, and weren't completely nonsensical (stupid, maybe). Towards the end, the book made so little sense that I was rereading parts to make sure I wasn't losing my mind. Nope, I've still got mine, can't say the same for L.J. Smith.

Bottom line: Read my previous reviews of the first four books, then think to yourself "do i like nonsense that's so ridiculous it literally sucks the intelligence right out of your brain? If the answer is "yes", this is the book for you.

And keep an eye out for my review of TVD The Return: Shadow Souls and we'll see just how far Smith will go in her obvious decent into madness.

*On a side note, doesn't the chick on the cover look like "Quinn" from "Glee"?

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

Summary from the back of the book:
"West Virginia, 1966. For thirteen months the town of Point Pleasant is gripped by a real-life nightmare that culminates in a tragedy that makes headlines around the world. Strange occurrences and sightings, including a bizarre winged apparition that becomes known as the Mothman, trouble this ordinary American community. Mysterious lights are seen moving across the sky. Domestic animals are found slaughtered and mutilated. And journalist John Keel, arriving to investigate the freakish events, soon finds himself an integral part of an eerie and unfathomable mystery..."

"The Mothman Prophecies" is journalist and author John Keel's accounts of unidentified flying objects, "men in black", "ultraterrestrials", and a red eyed, gray winged creature called the "Mothman". Most in our book club chose not to read the book either out of lack of interest in a non-fiction book on the paranormal or the fear that the book would scare them, of the people who did read it, the general idea was that while it was difficult to believe, it was an interesting study, and interesting theories. It definitely gave us all something to think about. Below is my personal review:

As a life long fan of science fiction and fantasy, reading real people's accounts of strange beings and flying objects was fascinating. Keel does a great job of remaining objective and not inserting his opinion or interpretation into the accounts, he tells them as he heard them, as fact. Whether or not you as the reader believe everything in the book as fact is another story. Either way though, for anyone who likes this kind of stuff I'd highly recommend this book. Without it we wouldn't have "The X Files" or the "Men in Black" movies (a term Keel himself coined) or many other scifi books and movies. It's the foundation of many popular culture "norms" about UFOs and extraterrestrials. While at times the book can feel a bit disjointed and the names of the different "contactees" are difficult to keep straight, Keel really tells a compelling story and makes the reader want to know more. Plus, many of the accounts are so outlandish and absurd sounding that you can't stop reading. From stories of a red eyed, winged creature that may or may not eat dead dogs, to the "cosmic clap", to visitors knocking on the door in the middle of the night as asking for a bag of salt, the stories never get boring. I'll leave you all with one of my favorite quotes. When discussing how the mothman likes to visit couples while they're parked out on deserted roads, Keel writes:
"Young love has to run in to enough hazards without the fear of a hair weirdo hammering on the windshield."

Bottom Line: For anyone who has any interest in UFOs, MIBs, or EMFs this book is a must-read.