Sunday, January 31, 2010
Title: The Somnambulist
Author: Jonathan Barnes
Genre: Sci Fi / Historical Fiction / Mystery
Rating: 3 out of 5 clever narrators
The Somnambulist, written by Jonathan Barnes, focuses on the exploits of an ex-stage magician and his loyal companion as they attempt to solve a murder mystery and protect London from destruction.
My review of The Somnambulist is going to end up being in two parts, because I felt very polar emotions while reading it. In terms of writing style, Barnes is an excellent narrator. However, I feel that his story as a whole suffers from lack of organization and clarity. First, the good:
From the very first paragraph of the book, Barnes draws the reader in. He utilizes narration not simply as a way to tell the story, but as a way to get the reader to relate more closely to the author. The narrator is a living being, not simply an omniscient observer. Barnes has a lot of fun with his narration, injecting humor and anecdotes into the story. This really keeps the reader coming back for more, because it makes The Somnambulist read more like a dialogue between author and reader, which is a lot of fun. However (in my opinion, of course), underneath the creative storytelling, The Somnambulist is an unpolished mystery tale.
A major flaw I see in this story is that Barnes tends to leave his audience in the dark when it comes to details. One expects a small amount of this due to the "mystery" genre, but Barnes goes on to mention past events and character relationships that he never really fleshes out or describes for the reader. This made me feel as though the author and the characters were always sharing inside jokes and stories that I was not invited to partake in. This was very frustrating at times, and serves to undermine the relationship that Barnes forges with his quirky narration. Ultimately, The Somnambulist feels like a sub-par sequel. I found myself not caring about what was currently happening. Rather, I wanted to learn more about the characters' pasts - something that Barnes teases with, but never delivers.
Another problem I have with The Somnambulist is that it feels very disjointed. The first three quarters of the book deals with the murder mystery that the main character attempts to solve, and then all of a sudden, a major plot development happens that basically throws the first part of the book into the trash and makes it irrelevant. Even the character that the book shares its name with seems inconsequential and pointless.
To be honest, I was very disappointed with The Somnambulist. It began as a very unique story and held a great amount of promise. However, it ultimately falls short.
3 out of 5 clever narrators.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thanks Haley! As a condition to getting this award, you need to tell 7 things about yourself, and pass it on to 7 other kreativ bloggers.
1. I recently drove 15 hours (and back!) to Indiana for a vet school interview.
2. I have a cat, named Khia.
3. I can play the bass guitar (sort of).
4. In third grade, I got a third degree burn on my back for leaning up against a hot radiator.
5. I'm the slowest reader I know.
6. Heather, at The Maiden's Court, is my girlfriend.
7. I share my last name with a popular canned-soup company.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Now, down to business. The winner of the first giveaway at Lions and Men, a paperback copy of Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, is...
Congratulations, and for everyone else: better luck next time!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Kingdom Hospital is a 13 episode miniseries that originally aired on ABC on March 3rd, 2004. It is based on Lars Von Trier's Sweedish series, The Kingdom.
Kingdom Hospital follows the lives of the patients and staff of a large emergency hospital based in Lewiston, Maine. With every episode, new critical patients arrive, and we find out more about all of the characters. We also begin to learn that the hospital has a dark side, haunted by angry spirits. The hospital, it seems, was built on top of the ruins of a disasterous fire where hundreds of children died. The staff eventually learn of the building's catastrophic fate, and rush to right the wrongs of generations gone by in order to save the lives of everyone in the hospital.
Check out the trailer below (sorry for the bad quality):
Kingdom Hospital is a lot of fun to watch. There is humor, horror, and a few scares to go around. The story also has a good moral at the end. The hospital is inhabited by tons of colorful characters, both living and dead. It also features the song Red Dragon Tatoo, by Fountains of Wayne, one of the most catchy songs ever.
It is not every day that the master of horror creates a television milestone. I remember watching every episode when they originally aired, and I can't believe that was six years ago! Did you miss it? If so, don't worry. You can buy the set of DVDs that contain the entire series, or you can watch it here for FREE.
5 out of 5!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Hi folks! I just wanted to share an interesting book trailer with you all. It is for a book of dark poetry called From the Shadows, written by E. J. Stevens. It sounds right up my alley!
You can also check out Stevens' blog here.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
It gives me great honor to announce my first GIVEAWAY. The book is a new paperback copy of Wicked, written by Gregory Maguire.
The following is taken from the author's official website:
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?This giveaway will run for two weeks (officially ends Saturday, January 23rd, and the winner will be announced on the 24th).
This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents - sorry!
Here are the rules for entering:
+1 Entry - Leave a comment on this post, including your e-mail address
+1 Entry - Become a follower, or tell me if you already are
+2 Entries - Refer someone who becomes a follower (they need to tell me you referred him/her)
+2 Entries - Do a blog post, sidebar post, or tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post (make sure you leave the link in your comment)
Friday, January 8, 2010
The volume is packaged in a rugged cardboard box with a beautiful illustration on the front. The volume itself is sturdily bound, has a solid spine, and has a convenient ribbon for marking your page. The pages are thick and durable, and the illustrations are beautifully colored. I have not seen other versions of the comic, but I have read that The Absolute Sandman contains remastered and enhanced illustrations. Beautiful (and sometimes creepy) illustrations are found at the beginning of each issue.
What are your thoughts? I say the MLA can go take a hike. Especially here, in a place where books and movies based on the book often share a title, this may get very confusing (for example, Stardust the book and Stardust the movie - not cool, MLA). Rest assured, here at Lions and Men, book titles will always be underlined.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Here are my first impressions of Neverwhere, written by Neil Gaiman.
At first, I wasn't sure about this book. The first few pages read like a generic drama, and although I could sense Gaiman's hand in the works, it felt too dissimilar from his other stories. However, as the pages started turning, I quickly began to realize that there is much more going on in Neverwhere than originally meets the eye.
A girl gets attacked by two devious men, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, and narrowly escapes to be rescued by the protagonist Richard Mayhew. This sets a chain of events in motion that sees Richard falling through the proverbial rabbit hole and literally scaling buildings above the streets of London. At the end of my First Impressions read, Richard has gone back to the life he knew only to realize that no one notices him anymore - and those that do, do not recognize who he is.
Neverwhere is quickly grabbing my attention, and I find that I can not put it down (although I should, as I have a full time job and school on my plate!). Something tells me the rest of the story will fly by as I continue to follow Richard deep into the shadowed regions of London's underground.