Monthly Archives: December 2014

Book Review: Revival By Stephen King

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Goodreads Description:

A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs — including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties — addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate — Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe

My Thoughts:

***5 stars***

 

Stephen King has a repertoire of bestsellers under his belt, so it’s no surprise that Revival is another winner. The book is narrated by Jamie Morton, and begins when 6 year old Jamie meets Reverend Charles Jacobs, a charming young clergyman that arrives in Maine and injects electricity into formerly drab youth fellowship meetings. The Reverend and Jamie bond almost instantly. One mundane midweek morning, tragedy strikes. A terrible sermon later and Reverend Charles Jacobs must leave the church. Fast forward 30 years, Jamie Morton is a musician addicted to drugs, Jacobs helps Jamie get his life back on track, but something happened.

Now Jamie owes Jacobs. What does he want in return? When will he collect? And who is Charles Daniel Jacobs, really? Charles Daniel Jacobs is a reverend, a performer, a scientist, a saviour… a mad man?

Jamie tells the story of a preacher man, who loses his way. Or is it a story of a former reverend who comes to his senses? Whatever your beliefs, this is a riveting read. Stephen King’s mind takes you on a journey. Much like Jamie Morton; although there are clues along the way, you won’t guess your destination… Until you’ve arrived and then it’s too late. Revival explores the relationship between science and religion, the power of grief and the danger of curiosity. What makes Revival an amazing horror story for me, isn’t the questions it asks, it’s the answers it provides. King does not leave the afterlife to your imagination, he delivers it, and it’s bleak. This novel is unnerving because we’re all searching for something, but what happens when we find it?

Written for Buzz Magazine

Book review: If I stay by Gayle Forman

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Goodreads description:

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

My Thoughts:

*** 3.5 stars***

 Mia and her family have been in a crash, the car is a wreck. “You wouldn’t expect the radio to work afterwards. But it does.” This line made me so sad, it just highlighted how random life can be sometimes. Of all the things to keep going, not a human heart, not a lung, not a kidney, a radio.

It took me up till 10:12 am (chapter 4) to actually notice that I got into the book straight away! There was no initial lull, that I get with some books as the scene is being set. Right from the beginning I felt like I was halfway into the story! I don’t know how the author achieved that. But kudos.

Now, I got into it really well… but then it lulled and I just kept putting it down. It got a bit slow in the middle as there were too many flashbacks, which is understandable since it’s a book about a near death experience but I did struggle. There are areas of ‘If I Stay’ that are ridiculously cheesy and borderline cringe-worthy (Not for everyone but I enjoyed them).

This was another book with weird style adults… The parents seemed like teenagers themselves. Almost like a kid in a western high school who’d just been grounded, described what their perfect parent would be like. Then a fairy godmother appeared and made it happen.

This book started well in my opinion, got a bit tedious in the middle, then was OK again at the end. Although it gets an above average rating from me because of how it made me feel. It made me think about the people in my life, and all the reasons I would stay. Mia got to decide whether or not to let go, perhaps at the end, for everyone no matter the circumstances, there is a choice. I feel optimistic, maybe so many choose to let go, because there is something truly great on the other side.