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K. van Oosten "Chameleon" (Leiden, Holland)

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The House of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel (Sherlock Holmes Novel 1)
The House of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel (Sherlock Holmes Novel 1)
by Anthony Horowitz
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars The dynamic due in a dynamic tale, 17 Feb 2012
It's been a while since I last read a Sherlock Holmes novel, since the A. C. Doyle fever struck me at about 15 and then sort of petered out until the Sherlock Holmes movie and the BBC series in 2010. My memory of the original stories and books may therefore be a bit compromised, but The House of Silk read like one of the classics, only without the endless backgrounds of the people Holmes and Watson are helping.

The House of Silk isn't an adaption, like the movies, which are rather spiced up, parodied to some extent and, while entertaining, pretty much stark nonsense; nor like the series, which have utterly transformed the idea and the characters while staying stunningly true to some parts of it. The book is an account of Watson's, and it has just the right tone and pacing to have that drawn-out quality Doyle used in his stories, while never being boring. The last part of the story is a rush of excitement, and while the conclusion was not as mind-shattering as Watson maintains it is, it was very fulfilling.

So is The House of Silk required reading? If you like the originals and can appreciate an hommage that does justice to the classics, is fun and entertaining, renewing without changing everything you actually like...yes. It's a pleasant little read and really takes you back to the A.C. Doyle stories, and if you dislike the movies and the series for what they've done to the characters, don't fear to pick up this book because you'll find nothing of the sort in Horowitz's case (pun intended).


Under the Dome
Under the Dome
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor people in Maine..., 10 July 2011
This review is from: Under the Dome (Paperback)
According to Stephen King, all the small towns in Maine are rotten little societies, filled with evil crooks, junkies, sexually challenged sadists, rapists, whores, drunks, and mainly plain simpletons. Perhaps 10% is moderately intelligent, and 10% of this is your average friendly normal person, the rest are SMART criminals. I feel sorry for America.

Most of King's books fill me with pleasant dread. Not this one. It's long, boring, and I did feel something, but that was mainly disbelief and rage. I could not read this book for more than an hour before tossing it away in disgust. I finished it, because I DID want to know how it ended and what it was all about, but it took a lot of effort, something I usually don't need with King's books. Bits of it didn't even feel like a book, like the stupid Corgi-view parts--that belonged in a tv series and were nothing but annoying in the book.

The end was grim and gruesome, and not unsatisfying, but the metaplot, the whole 'why' of the story, and the way they solved it...ugh. Very, very bad. I got this book cheap at the second hand bookstore, and I'll take it back so they can sell it even cheaper to someone else. I would not recommend it. Give me the Dark Tower anytime!

***SPOILER!!!! Don't read if you haven't read the book yet.****
Some specific things I really detested.
Especially the sheer epic, boundless and frankly unbelievable evil that was Jim Rennie, and the things he got away with, and the people he surrounded himself with...Just, no. Like the movie Changeling, no. I am willing to invest and to suspense my disbelief, but not this much.
So many characters. I read Robert Jordan, I can deal. But so many COMPLETELY UNINTERESTING characters? And almost all of them insane, insanely dumb or criminally insane? No.
Are there ANY decent young men in that town? Like, young men who DON'T want to rape and torture people?
Also, if you get information you can use to bring down the biggest threat in your world, what is the logical thing to do? a) Make copies, spread the word, and use all media available to publish the secret. b)Keep the papers to yourself so you can confront your enemy while he's surrounded by his cronies --and make sure no one knows what you're up to! Poor Maine. Nothing but idiots.
Alien children? I mean, REALLY???? For God's sake!
SPOILER END*****


The Plucker: An Illustrated Novel: An Illustrated Novel by Brom
The Plucker: An Illustrated Novel: An Illustrated Novel by Brom
by Gerald Brom
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.50

3.0 out of 5 stars Great art, story somehow lacks, 15 Jun 2011
This is the second book I read by Brom, the first being The Child Thief, which is a revisualized Peter Pan story. I liked it; it was sick and violent and fantastic, but just like the Child Thief, The Plucker just falls short of being GOOD.

I think I can claim that Brom is a great artist. His paintings, whether digital or with pencil or paint, are wonderfully dark, detailed and vivid. There is nothing I can say with regard to his art work but 'it's beautiful'. I wish I could say the same of his writing.

The problem with Brom's stories is that the whole of the tale may be nice, but there are too many little things that don't make sense. In the Child Thief it was, amongst other things, the main character, who was a good for nothing moron. I think he died, but I can't even remember because I couldn't care a fig. In The Plucker, Jack, the main character, is nice enough, but he swears. Am I a prude? No. But why on earth would a Jack-in-the-box say things like 'what the hell' and 'Jesus'? The book explains that the toys have the personality their owner gives them, but that still doesn't make any sense. What's worse, is that the African Idol, who has been locked up for hundreds of years and is a malevolent heathen spirit, also swears using Christian cursings. Again, I don't mind swearing, not even in a children's book. I do mind that those using said profanities have no reason to use them or should be unfamiliar with them.

Another problem I had, was the Aliveness of the dolls. One moment they are toys. The other moment they are alive. As in, they have flesh and blood. Later, the book specifies that at night, the toys take on the shape as Thomas, their owner, sees them, and when they die they revert back to their original plastic, stuffing and rags state. But the story is very inconsistent on this part. A Hula doll is said to have 'a soft belly'. As far as I know Hula dolls are made of hard plastic and don't have stuffing. Also, later on, Jack bleeds, and the Plucker is surprised he's made of flesh and blood. So what is it, Brom? Are they totally Toy Story and are made of plastic but with feelings, or do they actually turn into flesh and blood beings when the hour of magic has come?

Finally, Brom still hasn't been cured of his 'it's cool to kill things' vibe. Without spoiling too much I can say that a lot of folks, dolls and people, die. Violently, painfully, messily and graphically, and you know, I actually think the book would have been better if there'd been a bit more moderation. Just because you are the author and you want to write a horror story for kids or young adults, doesn't mean that it gets better the more you slaughter.

So as a whole, the Plucker is an OK book. It's entertaining, quite exciting and the art is gorgeous. But this is NOT for kids under 10, and if you are nitpicky like me, you'll be bothered by the inconsistencies and the unending, sordid and unnecessary violence.


The Bonehunters: Malazan Book Of Fallen 6 (The Malazan Book Of The Fallen)
The Bonehunters: Malazan Book Of Fallen 6 (The Malazan Book Of The Fallen)
by Steven Erikson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars High standards, gripping story, 1 Jun 2011
Steven Erikson is a genius. Ok, sometimes a bit of a longwinded genius, but he puts about half of the current fantasy writers to shame with his epic tales of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. If you like fantasy but have had your fill of damsels in distress, dwarves, ogres, elves and dragons a la Weiss and Hickman (aka your standard fantasy cast), and would like to read fantasy written as if it is a Vietnam war account, Erikson is your author.

The Bonehunters is a horrible tale, filled with fire, pain, war, conflict and strife, but it has loads of humour too, if you like your fun dark and somewhat sadistic. I highly recommend this book, and the entire series, actually.

Just be prepared to invest. These stories are neither for the faint of heart nor the lazy. Each book counts roughly 1000 pages, the timeline jumps back and forth, and there are over 100 characters that return again and again. Rest assured, this is no Robert Jordan. The characters are interesting and as real as a punch in the gut. But reading this series is hard work, both because of sheer volume, complicated storyline and characters that live forever and therefore occur both in 'old' and 'modern' stories. But if you persevere, man, you get about 10 times your money's worth!


Ottoline at Sea
Ottoline at Sea
by Chris Riddell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, 27 Dec 2010
This review is from: Ottoline at Sea (Hardcover)
While I am now just over thirty, I still eagerly await and pounce on each new Ottoline book. No, make that anything by Chris Riddell's hand. Funny and quirky, his drawings are a joy to the eye of everyone between 2 and 99. There is so much detail in his drawings, and so much character that I read and reread his books time and again.

Where Riddell's illustrations are often delightfully cruel and frightening in the Edge Chronicles, the Ottoline drawings are all lovely without being sickeningly sweet. A marvel for young children, but very nice for grownups as well! And yes, the bog goggle puzzles do add even more fun to this particular booklet.


The Lazarus Vault
The Lazarus Vault
by Tom Harper
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.06

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining...but somehow little more, 11 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Lazarus Vault (Paperback)
As it says on the back of the book, The Lazarus Vault is very much a book in the tradition of Dan Brown. That means that you are in for an exciting ride, with lots of plot twists, some fantastic history, and a competitive search for...well, I won't tell you.

This book has everything to be great, but somehow I never was more than entertained at best. Perhaps because the protagonist, Ellie, is a boring, unlikely and sometimes downright unsympathetic person, and all the other charachters, apart from her boyfriend Doug and the 12th century Knight, are about as fleshed out as a carton box.

The novel is divided between Ellie's story in 2009, and a nameless Knight (well, he gets a name towards the end) writing a diary in the 12th century. Ellie's story is third person past. The knight's first person present. the transitions are sometimes jarring, and more than once I was irritated when Ellie was finally doing something interesting, and the Knight took over the narrative.

All in all a nice book, but I'll put it with my Dan Brown instead of with my Abercombie. It's solid, but just not extraordinary at all.


Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book: 10 and 3 quarter Anniversary Edition (Bonus DVD)
Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book: 10 and 3 quarter Anniversary Edition (Bonus DVD)
by Terry Jones
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smashed faeries lol, 31 May 2010
I bought this issue for a friend. It is a true and comical work of art. The idea alone: a young girl literally 'printing' faeries by smashing them between the pages of her book, is wonderful, original and very funny.

I highly recommend this work.


Barnaby Grimes: Phantom of Blood Alley
Barnaby Grimes: Phantom of Blood Alley
by Paul Stewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.28

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun as always, 11 Mar 2010
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell form an amazing author-illustrator team, and every book they produce is a joy to read. This is the fourth Barnaby Grimes novel, telling yet another adventure of the intrepid tick-tock lad in a looks-like-London during the might-be-20s.

Like the previous Barnaby Grimes mysteries, this one is set up very simple; you know almost right from the beginning who did it, only not exactly how and why. It is, after all, a children's book. But the clever cruelty of the situation, the detailed drawings and the vividness of both the characters and the city, which is almost a character in its own, keep the reader absorbed till the very end.

Like any Roald Dahl book, the horrific situation described in Phantom of Blood Alley will appeal to every child who has so far only read books that shelter the fragile child's mind--after all, children aren't all that fragile, and they do enjoy a bit of horror from time to time.

I can heartily recommend this book, and all of the Barnaby Grimes series.


Superman/Batman Vs Aliens/Predator
Superman/Batman Vs Aliens/Predator
by Mark Schultz
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little plot, smooth style, 19 May 2009
Giving a summary of this graphic novel doesn't give much away in manner of spoilers. Suffice to say that it turns out that Predators have been living under the surface on earth for some time, and a vulcanic eruption flushes them out. To train their youth, the Predators held Aliens and they, as well, have been set loose.

Enter Superman, Lois and Batman. Batman realizes the danger to humanity, but Superman doesn't want to kill any living creatures, even if they can singlehandedly wipe out mankind.

His solution: Put them all in the Fortress of Solitude, fix their broken spacecraft and send them home. Unfortunately neither the Predators nor the Aliens are exactly polite guests, and the army isn't happy with the situation either.

The story isn't very deep, but it's enjoyable enough. I have NO clue why Schultz thought he should bring in Lois--she's been a kidnapping/threatened by bad guys victim so often I'd leave her safely home if I were Superman--but she wasn't overly annoying either.

I'm still in doubt about Olivetti's art. It looks nice, slick and smooth, but precisely that smoothness feels out of place. The Predators look waxed, and the Aliens only drool a little but have none of the Gigeresque scaliness that made them so grossly engaging in the movies.

All in all an enjoyable read, nothing life-changing, something nice to browse through on a Sunday afternoon.


The Darkness: Levels (Darkness (Image Comics))
The Darkness: Levels (Darkness (Image Comics))
by Paul Jenkins
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice book, but the game was cooler, 6 May 2009
When the description reads 'by stjepan Sejic et al' I somehow get the idea that most of the book is drawn by him. Levels only boasts one part drawn by Sejic, and while the rest of the art is pleasant-looking enough, it pales next to Sejic's.

The story is good enough, but I missed the four riders of the Apocalypse on the nightmare/suicide plane. Especially Pestilence is great, and while he is shown in the concept art, he was completely written out of the comic (and those riders were the only reason I wanted the whole thing, so I'm somewhat disappointed).

Anyway, a solid piece of work, very enjoyable, but leaving out large parts of the horrific suicide plane is unforgivable.


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