2016 Reading Challenge: The Strain

Guys, I’ve held off with my reading challenge update because it’s going to come down to the wire! I know no one really cares if I complete it or not, but I came up with it. I want to finish! So I won’t tell you how close I am just yet.

My latest read was The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The story is eerily similar to that of I Am Legend. A virus tears across NYC and causes people to morph into vampires. Only in this story they are all controlled and connected to one another via The Master. A vampire hundreds of years old who can move from one host body to another whenever the need arises. An old pawnbroker, two epidemiologists, an exterminator, and a not-so-hardened criminal lead the fight against the vampire outbreak. But their most difficult opponent may very well be a wealthy businessman who has assisted The Master in exchange for eternal life.

First, I’m a big fan of the TV show based on this trilogy of books. So I did not go into this blind like I imagine readers before me did. But I still had some problems with it. The difference between this book and the other two vampire novels I’ve read (Dracula and I Am Legend) is that it goes from unbelievable to acceptance very quickly. The basis of the spread of the virus is a plane that arrives in NYC full of dead people. All but four people on board appear dead, except they’ve only been turned and not actually killed for good. It was only a night or two after this that the main characters of the story accepted that vampires were overrunning the city.

While reading this book I never felt invested in any of the characters. Which is saying something because it took me nearly 11 hours to finish! I didn’t like how chapters jumped from one perspective to another without any warning. I usually don’t mind if it’s done in different chapters rather than the same one. There was at least one 75 page chapter that I found ridiculous. 75 pages!

You’re reading this thinking I hated the book. I didn’t. I enjoyed it. The vampires are different from just about any I’ve ever imagined, which I already knew from the TV show. They had to be my favorite part of the book. Their brutality and gruesomeness is awesome, but so is the manner in which they’re killed. You have this old guy who walks around with a cane that isn’t really a cane. It’s a sword he uses to decapitate the vampires. He has an armory of weapons and devices he’s put together over the years as he waited for the war to begin.

I applaud the authors for their modern take on the vampire, but it did feel more like a copy than an original. The Count is still the greatest evil I’ve ever read in any book and Robert Neville fought the good fight ON HIS OWN. Those two books are simply on a different level from this one. This book wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t great. Maybe the other two books in the trilogy will be improvements. Overall I’d rate it about a 3.8 or 3.9 out of 5.

This book satisfied the requirement to read a book that’s your favorite color of my 2016 reading challenge.

What’s your favorite vampire novel!?

Advertisements

2016 Reading Challenge Book #6: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

*Contains spoilers*

I also read this book weeks ago and failed to write a post or make a video about it.

I’m sure you know the basic premise of the story by now. The book is decades old. There’s an outbreak of a virus that turns people into what appear to be vampires. Dr. Robert Neville essentially makes it his life’s work to find a cure.

First, the book is NOT like the movie starring Will Smith. The stories are actually quite different and should be evaluated on their own individual merits.

The movie has a relatively happy ending. Dr. Neville sacrifices himself for the cure he finally finds. The book does not. There is no cure. Dr. Neville is taken from his home after he refuses to leave everything behind when a mysterious woman warns him of what’s to come. Then it becomes apparent that he’s now become an outsider to this new group of people. He’s different because he’s not infected. And he must be killed.

The book is exceptional. There’s no other way to say it. And it’s short, so you don’t have dozens of pages of filler. The writing is superb and Dr. Neville is a character you can easily relate to. Each night the loneliness he feels is nearly unbearable.

When I finished the book I immediately thought of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He gave birth to the modern vampire. And his classic is nothing short of a masterpiece. But I Am Legend is nearly as brilliant.

I haven’t read too many vampire stories, but I imagine the two I’ve mentioned today are many steps above just about everything else out there.

Have you read either of these classic vampire tales?

This book satisfied the requirement from my reading challenge to read a book with a movie tie-in cover.

Books I Will NEVER Read

Photo Credit: Book Snobbery

I’m not a fan of bashing authors, but I’m not bashing authors really, I’m bashing their books. There’s a difference!

Okay, so I know most avid readers like myself have a number of books that will not ever be read for any reason. Not even if there’s a zombie apocalypse taking place and I’m the lone survivor with just the one book thrown on the floor in front of me. They are to remain off-limits forever and a day. Let me just give you the list.

1. Fifty Shades of anything

If you’re a fan of EL James, great. I’m not and never will be. I’ve known the very basic concept of the book for a long time now, but I just read a little of the Wikipedia page that made me want to slap someone. The first book sounds absolutely horrible. I mean, if you want to read about that stuff then partake in it yourself. Or go watch a movie. Or find a website. Do something. Don’t read about it. Makes me think you’re kind of gross. Don’t get angry at me for saying that. It’s my blog.

2. Twilight

I know Stephenie Meyer has been heavily criticized for her writing skills and the way she portrays Bella. Those are pretty much the two reasons why I won’t be reading any of the books in the series. Let me be clear, though, I would read this entire series 100 times before ever reading the first book from the above mentioned series. My reasoning for not reading these books is mostly because they don’t seem like they’d be interesting reads to me. Sure the writing may not be great and Bella isn’t the most memorable literary character of all-time, but the only book I’ve ever read about vampires was Dracula. Yes, I loved it.

3. Divergent

I think some of you may be thinking how I’m putting this series of books in with the other two. What I’ve read and heard about this series of books has mostly been that the first two books were pretty good and the last one was disappointing. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’ve read. Those have nothing to do with my decision not to read this series. There’s only one reason why I won’t read these books. It’s going to sound crazy, but oh well. I won’t read them because of all the comparisons they get to The Hunger Games. THG is my adult obsession. I LOVE those books. LOVE them. You’ll recall that I named the trilogy my favorite series ever in a previous post. Well, it’s because of the very slim off chance that I like Divergent more than THG that I won’t read them. I’m in love with Jennifer Lawrence and Katniss and Effie and Prim. I don’t want that to be overshadowed by Veronica Roth.

4. Anything written by a celebrity

I fully realize that most celebrities who ‘write’ books don’t actually write them. They have the help of a journalist or author or someone who actually writes the book for them. It’s not that I think the books are poorly written, it’s that the books are generally bad. For instance, I don’t have any interest reading about the whole rags to riches stories that so many athletes claim. It’s great that you went from food stamps when you were little to millions of dollars a year in salary, truly, BUT you won’t find me reading about it. I’m not including former presidents in this group. I think their books would be rather interesting to read. I look forward to reading George W. Bush’s book at some point. Not necessarily because I’m a supporter of his, but because his presidency was the first of my life that I actually understood a little about what was going on.

5. Anything with seductive people on the cover

I mean, come on. What’s the point? I work in a store that carries a very selective section of books. You’ll pretty much only find the major bestselling authors there. The ones I can name off the top of my head who I can recall seeing this past weekend are James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, and Stephen King. BUT half of the books that I don’t recognize the author names have half-naked people on the front. It’s annoying. Won’t ever be reading those books. Not a one.

This would be my reaction to reading any book on the list.

Photo Credit: BuzzFeed

Okay, so I know my list wasn’t exactly a list of particular books so much as it was a list of types of books I won’t read. But that’s it. Do you have any books that you’ll never find yourself reading? Tell me why.

In other news, I just passed 500 WordPress followers less than a month after reaching 200! You guys seriously make me happy.