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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I never liked anyone and I'm afraid of people"
The old gang from "Less Than Zero" are revisited in a sort of sequel, "Imperial Bedrooms". They were wasted as teenagers and they're wasted in middle age. Trent Burroughs is married to Blair, Julian Wells is around, Rip Millar is creepier than the last time, while Clay is as vapid and self-absorbed as ever.

The story begins with a film Clay wrote and is helping...
Published on 6 July 2010 by Sam Quixote

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The mixed reviews are understandable
'Less Than Zero' was given to me as a gift and I've never read anything like it before. The minimalist style, the lack of chapters (making events flow in some kind of relentless monotony), the story itself - I would reccomend it to anyone. Knowing there was a sequel I decided it may be worth checking out. Despite seeing a number of mixed reviews I bought it, knowing that...
Published 21 months ago by EricCotton


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I never liked anyone and I'm afraid of people", 6 July 2010
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Hardcover)
The old gang from "Less Than Zero" are revisited in a sort of sequel, "Imperial Bedrooms". They were wasted as teenagers and they're wasted in middle age. Trent Burroughs is married to Blair, Julian Wells is around, Rip Millar is creepier than the last time, while Clay is as vapid and self-absorbed as ever.

The story begins with a film Clay wrote and is helping produce, "The Listeners", where he meets a desperate and beautiful actress, Rain Turner, who will do anything for a starring role. Clay and Rain become involved but then the murders start happening and Clay doesn't realise what he's gotten himself into nor who Rain really is. Mysterious texts follow sackings of his flat and blue/green BMWs stalking Clay wherever he goes. Somehow his "friends" are all tied into this and Clay has to decide who to trust...

If not for the characters' names this could easily be a standalone book rather than a sequel. Besides finding out that our heroes of "Less" turn out to be older and still behave like they did 25 years ago, it's not exactly a revelatory update. But that's fine because the book is more than the better for it. It launches straight into the story. The story seems very The Hills/The OC in style; it's all about who slept with who, what their game is, jilted love, revenge, etc. except for several horrific scenes. I'm thinking of what Clay does to the two hookers at the end and the grotesque murder (all detailed) of one of the main characters by another. Also, while this is a Hollywood novel, Ellis doesn't do what most Hollywood novels do and inject satire or parody into the story. It's a straightfoward serious story that plays off of perceived Hollywood stereotypes to construct something original.

Ellis specialises in 1st person narration and Clay's voice is as cold and dispassionate as it was in the '80s and the familiar scenes of drug abuse and sexual exploitation are told with all the emotional resonance of a shopping list. We see the story through Clay's eyes and his lack of interest in his friends from "Less Than Zero" heighten their characters' level of interest in the reader. Rip in particular is a menacing figure who seems to be somehow omnipotent but because Clay shields himself from finding out about Rip's life, we never know more about him, making Rip even more terrifying. Clay's a great character who evolves throughout the story from being emotionally detached to become totally changed, finally ending on the words "I never liked anyone and I'm afraid of people".

"1985-2010" follow the final sentence and makes me wonder if Ellis is giving up novel writing or maybe he's giving up writing the type of novel he's famous for. I hope that's not the case. Even if some will look at this and dislike aspects of it (and if you've read Ellis before and didn't like him, this book won't change your opinion), Ellis is still by far one of the finest novelists around at the moment. It was never going to be the groundbreaking book "Less Than Zero" was but it has the virtue of being more interesting than almost any novel published this year. "Imperial Bedrooms" is overall a well written and worthwhile read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lying In The Dark, 25 Mar 2013
By 
Warren Stalley (Bradford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Kindle Edition)
Less Than Zero is one of my favourite books so I was wary of reading Imperial Bedrooms in case it failed to repeat the magic of that first novel. Bret Easton Ellis as a writer has gone on a long journey with his novels, growing more confident and extravagant with each book. After Glamorama he stripped his writing style down to the bone to produce the soul searching Lunar Park. Now he returns with a sequel to his debut novel Less Than Zero. We return to find the previous characters older but still floundering in their own narcissism. There are no heroes here only rich creatures who suffer from the same old alienation and paranoia that haunted them in Less Than Zero. This time round the protagonist Clay is more like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, with a much darker side to his personality. To summarise if you like Bret Easton Ellis you'll love this story where he writes with his usual fantastic and unique style. It's not always easy reading but it's worth every minute of your time. Disappear here and enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Am I the only one who enjoyed this more then Less Than Zero?, 28 Feb 2013
This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Paperback)
Overall, I enjoyed this more than Less Than Zero because whilst it is written in the same detatched, minimal style, the plot is more linear and eventful. It's written in the typical Easton-Ellis style but more conventional in the drive of its narrative - you usually have the sense something is happening or is going to happen unlike in Less Than Zero, where nothing seems to be happening for much of the novel. However, whilst I found Less Than Zero more challenging, it is a quick read and as it contains the same characters but is set earlier it is by no means essential but is recommended that you read that first.

This is one of those books which shows you that you can have an interesting and entertaining story even when none of the main characters are at all likable. This is what happened to the kids who had lots of money but no love in Less Than Zero. They've grown up and they're still not happy (unsurprisingly). It's not pretty but it is compelling. A study in power, corruption and emptiness - this bleak tale is actually smooth reading thanks to Easton-Ellis' slick, distinctive style. Judging by other critical response to this I have read, in my opinion this is underrated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I never liked anyone and I'm afraid of people", 18 July 2011
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Paperback)
The old gang from "Less Than Zero" are revisited in a sort of sequel, "Imperial Bedrooms". They were wasted as teenagers and they're wasted in middle age. Trent Burroughs is married to Blair, Julian Wells is around, Rip Millar is creepier than the last time, while Clay is as vapid and self-absorbed as ever.

The story begins with a film Clay wrote and is helping produce, "The Listeners", where he meets a desperate and beautiful actress, Rain Turner, who will do anything for a starring role. Clay and Rain become involved but then the murders start happening and Clay doesn't realise what he's gotten himself into nor who Rain really is. Mysterious texts follow sackings of his flat and blue/green BMWs stalking Clay wherever he goes. Somehow his "friends" are all tied into this and Clay has to decide who to trust...

If not for the characters' names this could easily be a standalone book rather than a sequel. Besides finding out that our heroes of "Less" turn out to be older and still behave like they did 25 years ago, it's not exactly a revelatory update. But that's fine because the book is more than the better for it. It launches straight into the story. The story seems very The Hills/The OC in style; it's all about who slept with who, what their game is, jilted love, revenge, etc. except for several horrific scenes. I'm thinking of what Clay does to the two hookers at the end and the grotesque murder (all detailed) of one of the main characters by another. Also, while this is a Hollywood novel, Ellis doesn't do what most Hollywood novels do and inject satire or parody into the story. It's a straightfoward serious story that plays off of perceived Hollywood stereotypes to construct something original.

Ellis specialises in 1st person narration and Clay's voice is as cold and dispassionate as it was in the '80s and the familiar scenes of drug abuse and sexual exploitation are told with all the emotional resonance of a shopping list. We see the story through Clay's eyes and his lack of interest in his friends from "Less Than Zero" heighten their characters' level of interest in the reader. Rip in particular is a menacing figure who seems to be somehow omnipotent but because Clay shields himself from finding out about Rip's life, we never know more about him, making Rip even more terrifying. Clay's a great character who evolves throughout the story from being emotionally detached to become totally changed, finally ending on the words "I never liked anyone and I'm afraid of people".

"1985-2010" follow the final sentence and makes me wonder if Ellis is giving up novel writing or maybe he's giving up writing the type of novel he's famous for. I hope that's not the case. Even if some will look at this and dislike aspects of it (and if you've read Ellis before and didn't like him, this book won't change your opinion), Ellis is still by far one of the finest novelists around at the moment. It was never going to be the groundbreaking book "Less Than Zero" was but it has the virtue of being more interesting than almost any novel published this year. "Imperial Bedrooms" is overall a well written and worthwhile read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not so hot mess!, 18 April 2014
By 
Nifi Seti (Berlin, Germany) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Hardcover)
I suspect this book makes sense inside BEE's head - he simply forgot to convey it clearly to the reader. I got nothing from it - 20 pages into the plot I didn't even know who was who. Characters are muddily outlined and passages whizz by unnoticed - while the book floats further and further away from the reader's grasp like a boat disappearing into the horizon.

Humour is absent. Wit is a mirage. I spent years defending BEE's prose to friends - he was my favourite living writer. I never thought mediocrity would slap me in the face like it did with Imperial Bedrooms.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel to Less Than Zero, 20 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Kindle Edition)
Well put together; in my opinion another beauty.
The characters, i.e Clay, Rip, Blair and Trent are older and more shady now.
They drive high into the mountain tops, to ensure their conversations are not overheard and are all successful adults, either married or dating young models, call girls etc.
Set by the sea, Imperial Bedrooms has a far more laid back vibe than American Psycho, however in contrast to the seeming innocence and beauty of the characters and scenery, in a way the crimes seem even more disturbing.
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2.0 out of 5 stars not his best, 31 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Kindle Edition)
Maybe it was because I am looking at a writer from the perspectives of his cult classics, but I feel that this novel really didn't show the development and maturity that the years between less than zero and this one offered. Instead, the style suggests someone was trying too hard to revisit old mechanisms. For me, it was a tired attempt to recapture the magic of his former artistic glory, as an episodic style barely suited the storyline that went nowhere for characters I cared little about.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Silly, 9 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Hardcover)
It tries to be provocative, but ends up seeming like an adolescent fantasy. I enjoyed Less Than Zero (admittedly when I was an adolescent), so perhaps this is just Brett Easton Ellis in a nutshell.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bad boy is back, 9 April 2013
By 
M. Woischneck (Köln) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Hardcover)
Mr E is back - and he is more wicked than ever - a worthy descendant of LESS THAN ZERO, a brother of AMERICAN PSYCHO - really loved it
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3.0 out of 5 stars The mixed reviews are understandable, 17 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Imperial Bedrooms (Kindle Edition)
'Less Than Zero' was given to me as a gift and I've never read anything like it before. The minimalist style, the lack of chapters (making events flow in some kind of relentless monotony), the story itself - I would reccomend it to anyone. Knowing there was a sequel I decided it may be worth checking out. Despite seeing a number of mixed reviews I bought it, knowing that sometimes the reviews don't do the books justice.
Having read it, I unfortunately must admit that I understand why 'Imperial Bedrooms' wasn't received too warmly. It starts off alright, with the 'real' Clay reflecting on how his life was "hijacked" by a mysterious author, but events quickly become rather boring. The film meetings and parties just aren't that interesting, though this may have something to do with the ages of the characters (they aren't as lively in their forties). Things get slightly more interesting as Clay's flawed relationship with Rain develops, but even then there is little excitement and it remains between somewhere between boring and exciting for the rest of the book.
Clay and Rain's relationship flags up another problem. Anyone who's read "Less Than Zero" will know that Clay had his flaws in that book - the complete lack of emotion, the addiction, etc. Ellis tries to show how much more flawed an adult Clay is when it comes to relationships, but in my opinion he overdoes it and as a consequence he makes Clay completely unlikeable. You could sometimes sympathise with the young Clay, but here it's almost impossible. His attitude towards women (they're basically just there to fill his sleazy desires) and his friends (he betrays them with little care) is quite disgusting. This is most likely deliberate - after all, it is stated at the beginning of the book that this is a different Clay. Still, I preferred the one that I could understand, even if he was constantly coked-up and incapable of emotion.
The only other issue I can think of right now is the mess of subplots. 'Imperial Bedrooms' adopts slightly more convential story-telling techniques, with one storyline split into sections instead of multiple events filling the book. To make things more interesting, Ellis adds a story involving Clay's friends and a number of murder victims, but this becomes hard to keep track of. Characters hint at others' involvement and try to talk about what's going on vaguely, leading to it all becoming a bit of a mess.
You can see that with 'Imperial Bedrooms', Ellis was trying to show this new Clay's deeper problems in a more convential format (with typical murder mystery storylines thrown in to spice things up). However, reading it just made me feel rather disappointed that this is what came after the great book that 'Less Than Zero' was. The surface storyline (Clay's life in film and his relationship with Rain) alternates between being boring, slightly interesting and sickening, and the murder subplots just become confusing. It may benefit from some re-reading, but otherwise I would tell any fans of 'Less Than Zero' who are curious about this to give it a miss.
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Imperial Bedrooms
Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis (Paperback - 1 April 2011)
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