Thursday Quotables: Guts: The Anatomy of The Walking Dead

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Welcome to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!
A little programming note: While I’m mostly back to weekly postings, I find I’m not at 100% yet! I’ll continue to post Thursday Quotables most weeks. If I happen to skip a week when you have a post to share, feel free to link up to whichever TQ post here is most recent. Many thanks!
Onward with this week’s Thursday Quotable:
Guts: The Anatomy of The Walking Dead by Paul Vigna
(published 2017)

I’m actually very late to the party when it comes to The Walking Dead and its fandom. I only started watching the series this past spring, but after some marathon binges, I’m all caught up and completely hooked. Naturally, I couldn’t resist this new release. Please excuse me for fangirling out over Guts!

For my Quotables this week, first, something I just thought was funny:

The Walking Dead’s zombies are mostly “live,” which means they are actors under makeup playing out their horror in real time, though for certain shots the crew will add computer-generated effects (they did not, for instance, cut the actress Melissa Cowan in half for her role as Bicycle Girl).

Sorry about the sick humor. This makes me laugh.

And here’s a paragraph that helps to explain why so many of us love this show so, so much:

That deeper level is something that comes after special effects, after jump scares and exploding bodies. It’s something that can be explored not through the dead, but only through the living. What makes The Walking Dead work is that it shows people who are broken, afraid, courageous, insane, upright, duplicitous, noble, foolhardy, and just plain hardy as all hell. In a word, it explores what’s in a person’s heart.

And finally, the author quotes a writer for a TWD fansite:

“A show like The Walking Dead tells us that no matter what happens, if you are loyal to the people you love, […] you can conquer anything.”

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Add your Thursday Quotables post link in the comments section below… and I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week too.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

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Shelf Control #93: Great Expectations

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! Fore more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
Published: 1860
Length: 571 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

When Philip Pirrip–nicknamed Pip–is forced by an escaped convict to steal food and supplies from his meager home, he doesn’t know that this event will transform his life. One of Dickens’s most popular novels, Great Expectations follows the orphaned Pip as he grows from poverty into a gentleman, becoming entangled with the strange Miss Havisham and her beautiful but coldhearted ward, Estella, and coming into a fortune from an unknown benefactor. This engrossing work, which recently celebrated its 150th birthday, remains one of Dickens’s best.

How and when I got it:

I treated myself to this book, plus two others in the Classic Lines series from Splinter, in 2015.

Why I want to read it:

I feel like Great Expectations is one of those glaring holes in my reading career. I’ve only read one Dickens novel (A Tale of Two Cities), and have always intended to read more. A few years ago, while browsing in our local used book store, I saw the Classic Lines editions of Great Expectations, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice on the remainder table, and they were all just so pretty that I had to have them! Besides my hard copy of GE, I have a free Kindle edition, and I’ve also toyed with the idea of reading it via Serial Reader. So many options! Now I just have to buckle down and actually start.

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten unique book titles (a week ahead of time!)

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***Right after posting, I realized that I’m a week ahead on TTT topics! Oh well, better early than never, right? Leaving this right here…***

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Unique Book Titles. I did a similar post back in 2013 (here), so I had to work pretty hard to come up with a new batch of awesome book titles.

Here are my top ten, in no particular order:

1) Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire: I love how the title so perfectly captures the spooky, ghoulish feel of the book.

2) Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day (review): Another by Seanan McGuire — I just really like the sound of all those “D” words in the title, and the way that the title signals that something unusual and otherworldly is about to happen.

3) Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello (review): Author Ausiello is a TV critic, and it’s just so perfect that he’s used TV jargon for the title of his very personal and sad memoir.

4) Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon: You didn’t think I’d get through a whole top 10 list without mentioning Outlander, did you? Book #9 isn’t out yet, and doesn’t even have a release date… but it does have a title, and the title is pretty cool.

5) The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Shumer: Ha, I love her spin on the title. It’s perfect, really.

6) The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsburg: The book was okay, but the title really rocks.

7) My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix (review): The title says it all!

8) William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher: This book was such a delicious surprise. The re-writing of Star Wars as Shakespearean verse is a must for literary-minded fangirls and fanboys. Here’s a little sample.

9) Intro to Alien Invasion by Owen King: An awesome graphic novel about an alien invasion on a college campus. I loved that the title captures the feel of a required course.

10) You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day (review): Geeks, unite! If Felicia Day says we’re never weird, then it must be true.

What book titles made your list this week? Share your link, please, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I host a Book Blog Meme Directory, and I’m always looking for new additions! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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The Monday Check-In ~ 10/16/2017

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Like everyone else in San Francisco, I’ve been focused all week on the terrible wildfires raging throughout the regions just north of us. So terribly upsetting, and it’s not over yet. We’re all looking for ways to donate, help, and offer support to those suffering, as well as the brave folks out there fighting the fires.

What did I read last week?

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King: I finished this last Sunday, and posted my thoughts a few days later. Check out my review, here.

LaRose by Louise Erdrich: My book group’s discussion book for October, finished just in the nick of time! My thoughts are here.

I also wrapped up my return visit to the world of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. I finished the audiobook of The Amber Spyglass (so beautiful!), and re-read both Lyra’s Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North as well. I’m so excited for the new book, The Book of Dust, to arrive this week!

Outlander !!

Outlander is on break this week, with the next new episode (the print shop!!) coming October 22nd. Meanwhile, myy reaction post for the 5th episode is here. And in other Outlander news, there was an exciting casting announcement for season 4 — find out more here.

Other TV:

Check out my post about what I’m watching this fall, here.

Fresh Catch:

I mentioned last week that I went on an EBay spree and ordered a bunch of Georgette Heyer books. Five more arrived this week… whee!

And there are still a few more yet to come!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 

Guts: The Anatomy of The Walking Dead by Paul Vigna: Don’t judge me! I just got this book from the library, and I’m VERY INTO IT.

Now playing via audiobook:

Indexing by Seanan McGuire: Just getting started, but it’s cute so far. I mean, c’mon — it’s by Seanan McGuire! It just has to be good, right?

Ongoing reads:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: My book group’s classic read! We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week.

Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon: Outlander Book Club is doing a Lord John readalong — we’ll be reading all of the Lord John novels and stories in story chronology. Let me know if you’d like to participate! All are welcome.

So many books, so little time…

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Take A Peek Book Review: LaRose by Louise Erdrich

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.

Synopsis:

(via Goodreads)

In this literary masterwork, Louise Erdrich, the bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning The Round House and the Pulitzer Prize nominee The Plague of Doves wields her breathtaking narrative magic in an emotionally haunting contemporary tale of a tragic accident, a demand for justice, and a profound act of atonement with ancient roots in Native American culture.

North Dakota, late summer, 1999. Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence—but when the buck springs away, Landreaux realizes he’s hit something else, a blur he saw as he squeezed the trigger. When he staggers closer, he realizes he has killed his neighbor’s five-year-old son, Dusty Ravich.

The youngest child of his friend and neighbor, Peter Ravich, Dusty was best friends with Landreaux’s five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have always been close, sharing food, clothing, and rides into town; their children played together despite going to different schools; and Landreaux’s wife, Emmaline, is half sister to Dusty’s mother, Nola. Horrified at what he’s done, the recovered alcoholic turns to an Ojibwe tribe tradition—the sweat lodge—for guidance, and finds a way forward. Following an ancient means of retribution, he and Emmaline will give LaRose to the grieving Peter and Nola. “Our son will be your son now,” they tell them.

LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Plagued by thoughts of suicide, Nola dotes on him, keeping her darkness at bay. His fierce, rebellious new “sister,” Maggie, welcomes him as a co-conspirator who can ease her volatile mother’s terrifying moods. Gradually he’s allowed shared visits with his birth family, whose sorrow mirrors the Raviches’ own. As the years pass, LaRose becomes the linchpin linking the Irons and the Raviches, and eventually their mutual pain begins to heal.

But when a vengeful man with a long-standing grudge against Landreaux begins raising trouble, hurling accusations of a cover-up the day Dusty died, he threatens the tenuous peace that has kept these two fragile families whole.

Inspiring and affecting, LaRose is a powerful exploration of loss, justice, and the reparation of the human heart, and an unforgettable, dazzling tour de force from one of America’s most distinguished literary masters.

My Thoughts:

A beautiful, complicated, stunning book by the masterful Louise Erdrich! What a powerful follow-up to her award-winning The Round House (review).

LaRose is a story about family, loss, retribution, and atonement. It shows the complex connections between parents and children, and the unusual ways in which new families can be formed and held together. LaRose also demonstrates the power of old wounds, never fully healed, to affect people’s actions and emotions years after the fact.

The author weaves in the story of earlier generations in the family, each with its own LaRose, showing the challenges of growing up in the reservation and boarding school systems, and the lasting impact of tradition on people being forced to assimilate.

The characters in LaRose are well-drawn and unforgettable. There’s Landreaux’s family, with his smart, loving daughters who take in Maggie and declare her their sister too. And there’s LaRose himself, a good, loving boy who is put in an impossible situation — and, impossibly, grows, thrives, and gives his two families what they need, while also forging his own strong connection to the spirit world. Myriad other characters flesh out the community and give life to the ties that bind the various characters together.

LaRose is unusual and beautifully written. Highly recommended.

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The details:

Title: LaRose
Author: Louise Erdrich
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication date: May 10, 2016
Length: 400 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: PurchasedSave

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TV Time: What’s Lisa watching?

It’s fall TV season! So much goodness. So much to watch. So few hours in the day.

I thought I’d do a quick round-up of what I’m loving right now:

Outlander. Obviously. In case you couldn’t guess from my approximately 5 billion previous mentions, I’m a fan, and I’m in heaven now that we’re “in season”. Except for the fact that there’s no new episode this week, but that will make next week’s super-sized episode even sweeter, right?

 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is back! Season 3 started this past Friday night. If you ever need something to make you giggle in all sorts of slightly inappropriate ways, here’s a show for you. Here’s one of the two new musical numbers from this week’s episode:

 

In sadder news, one of the hidden gems of cable TV is saying good-bye this weekend after four hilarious, touching, and on-point seasons. Farewell, Survivor’s Remorse! A show that’s been consistently funny, often uncomfortable, with a mix of humor and food for thought that’s never lazy, and certainly never fails to entertain.

 

And then we have a show all about people riding horses fast along seaside cliffs. Kidding, kind of. Poldark! It’s season 3, and the story is still totally engrossing, and the scenery and people are as gorgeous as ever.

 

Can’t forget about my most recent obsession, the show that has me counting the days until season 8 premieres on October 22nd. The Walking Dead returns… and it’s time for All Out War.

 

And finally, there’s The Good Place, which is just consistently funny and surprising and utterly enjoyable. The 2nd season is off to a great start!

 

Yes, there are a bunch of other shows I have a more casual relationship with — I watch, I enjoy, but they don’t rule my waking thoughts the way my favorites do. Other stuff I’m enjoying right now:

  • Speechless
  • Will & Grace (kind of — fun so far, but verging on feeling a little tired)
  • Adam Ruins Everything — something to enjoy with my son (I wrote about it last year, here)
  • Blackish — I haven’t watched consistently from the beginning, so I’m working on catching up
  • Grace & Frankie — in my free moments, I’ve been trying to pick up episodes here and there. I like! Just haven’t had time to truly binge.

**Updated to add: As soon as I hit “publish”, I realized that I left out This Is Us, which I love and which continues to be excellent. My bad.**

What are you watching this fall? What are you most excited for?

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Thursday Quotables: Marine Biology

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Welcome to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!
A little programming note: While I’m mostly back to weekly postings, I find I’m not at 100% yet! I’ll continue to post Thursday Quotables most weeks. If I happen to skip a week when you have a post to share, feel free to link up to whichever TQ post here is most recent. Many thanks!
Onward with this week’s Thursday Quotable:

 

Marine Biology by Gail Carriger
(published 2010)

When there’s too much seriousness in my life, I know I can reach for a Gail Carriger story to lift my spirits. I originally read Marine Biology when it came out, but as there’s now a related novel, The Sumage Solution, I figured this was a good time to read it again. Marine Biology is a cute, sweet, supernatural story — set in the modern world, not Carriger’s trademark steampunk Victorian society, but full of her wit and cleverness.

Here’s the opening paragraph, which makes more sense if you keep in mind that the main character is a gay werewolf scientist:

The problem, Alec thought gloomily, swishing a test-tube full of seawater, is that I’m unexpectedly alive. To be unexpectedly dead would be pleasingly simplistic. After all, he made up the statistic on the spot so that he would sound more learned in his own head, half of all deaths are unexpected. One is, to a certain degree, prepared to die unexpectedly. But when one expects to die at eighteen and instead finds oneself unexpectedly alive at twenty-four, there’s nothing for it but to be confused about everything.

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Add your Thursday Quotables post link in the comments section below… and I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week too.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

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Outlander casting news – season 4!

It’s never too early to get excited about future Outlander seasons, and here’s proof:

Multiple entertainment sites have share an announcement from Starz about key casting for season 4:

From TVLine.com:

Outlander has recruited two familiar TV faces — Orphan Black‘s Maria Doyle Kennedy and Downton Abbey‘s Ed Speleers — to take on a pair of key Season 4 roles, TVLine has learned.

Kennedy will play Jamie’s strong-willed Aunt Jocasta, whose plantation Jamie and Claire arrive at early in Drums of Autumn, the fourth of eight books in Diana Gabaldon’s international best-selling series (and the one on which Season 4 is based). Speleers, meanwhile, will portray Irishman Stephen Bonnet, a pirate and smuggler who [SPOILER ALERT] becomes very integral to the series moving forward, particularly in the lives of Brianna and Roger.

Kennedy is coming off of a five-season run playing Mrs. S. on Orphan Black. In addition to his role as footman Jimmy Kent on Downton Abbey, Speleers co-starred in Wolf Hall.

Outlander ‘s current third season will conclude in early December. Production on Season 4 got underway this week in Scotland.

Maria Doyle Kennedy is so talented, and Aunt Jocasta is a fantastic role — she’s tough, she’s shrewd (after all, she’s Dougal and Colum’s sister), and she’s deeply invested in Jamie’s well-being. As for Stephen Bonnet — it’s hard to picture someone going from playing a rather proper butler to the nasty piece of work that Bonnet is, but I suppose that’s the magic of good acting!

Season 3 is simply wonderful, and I’m so excited to see that season 4 will be introducing terrific actors as key characters.

This show. Love, love, love.

Shelf Control #92: Locke & Key, volume 6: Alpha & Omega

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! Fore more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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My Shelf Control pick this week is:

Title: Locke & Key, volume 6: Alpha & Omega
Author: Joe Hill
Published: 2014
Length: 192 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

The shadows have never been darker and the end has never been closer. Turn the key and open the last door; it’s time to say goodbye.

The final arc of New York Times bestselling Locke & Key comes to a thundrous and compelling conclusion.

An event not to be missed!

And about the series:

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

How and when I got it:

I preordered this baby and got it on release day, January of 2014.

Why I want to read it:

This is so ridiculous. I read the first five volumes of the Locke & Key series as they were released — well, devoured them, really. And then some time went by, and then volume 6 was released, and I thought to myself that it would be a great idea to start the series again from the beginning so I could be totally in the moment and really savor the series finale. And of course, that never happened. It was a stupid vicious cycle — I was dying to read the conclusion, but wanted to reread the whole series, but didn’t have time to start again, but didn’t want to read #6 without starting again. On and on, until today! I’ve made finishing this series a New Year’s resolution a couple of times now. Maybe in 2018? For realzies this time.

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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

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Book Review: Sleeping Beauties

In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain? Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is wildly provocative and gloriously absorbing.

 

Sleeping Beauties has one simple message:

Men bad. Women good.

It takes 702 pages to get there, but that does seem to be the point. Not that it’s not fun along the way, but subtle, this book ain’t.

In the town of Dooling, somewhere in the Appalachias, the women’s prison is the main local employer. Between the town and the prison, we meet a heap of characters — so many characters, in fact, that the book opens with a four-page listing of characters and their descriptions — which, believe me, is necessary if you want to make it through this massive book with any shred of sanity remaining intact. The vast cast of characters includes the sheriff and her husband (the prison psychiatrist), sheriff’s deputies, prison guards, prisoners, high school bullies, and all sorts of other townsfolk.

The onset of the Aurora plague (named for Sleeping Beauty in the fairy tales) is pretty fascinating stuff. Worldwide, women are falling asleep, and once they do, they become encased in a filmy cocoon. They sleep, seemingly permanently, in these cocoons unless someone foolish (usually a man) decides to try to get them out, in which case they awaken with homicidal intent, murder whoever disturbed them, and then fall back to sleep as the cocoon reestablishes itself around the sleepers.

Major freak-outs ensue. What’s causing this, and what can be done? While some women give in to the inevitable, others become determined not to sleep at all, turning to all sorts of legal and illegal stimulants to stay awake, from super-powered coffee to crystal meth. As the days wear on, regular life all but disappears, and the men who are left behind turn to violence and chaos.

Small town dynamics suddenly take on huge significance. Sides are drawn up, and to a certain extent, the law of the jungle takes over. Those who are strong, survive. The physically or mentally weaker of the men are pushed aside, and as power is extended to those who should never, ever have it, we can feel the threat-level creep up into the danger zone.

I can’t say I was ever bored while reading this book, but really, it’s much too big for its own good. “Overstuffed” is the word that came to mind, especially as I neared the halfway point and realized that the amount left would be equivalent to reading yet another full novel. I don’t think we need quite so many backstories for quite so many characters. Not all of it is important, and a more honed narrative might have helped the narrative feel sharper and more focused.

I’m not sure that the end makes a whole lot of sense, but I often feel that way with Stephen King books (and yes, I’m a big fan). There are many unanswered questions about the why and how of the Aurora plague. Why do we get the resolution that we get? Because we do. Why is this the answer to Aurora? Because it is.

Still, Sleeping Beauties is filled with small and big moments of adrenaline-pumping suspense, with everyday scenes carrying extraordinary hints of menace and violence. As is typical of King novels, the huge number of characters comes together to give us the flavor of the community — although I’ll be honest and admit that I stopped bothering to distinguish between handfuls of the more minor characters as the story progressed.

Overall, I enjoyed Sleeping Beauties, but don’t think it’s Stephen King’s best work by a long shot. The message, as I mentioned at the top of the review, is really pretty basic and obvious, and at times I felt like I was being beaten over the head by the senseless need for violence exhibited by men in crisis, especially as contrasted by the peace and cooperation shown on the women’s side of the equation.

For a look at how Stephen King and Owen King worked together on Sleeping Beauties, check out this piece in a recent Entertainment Weekly.

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The details:

Title: Sleeping Beauties
Author: Stephen King and Owen King
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: September 26, 2017
Length: 702 pages
Genre: Horror/fantasy
Source: Purchased

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