If I missed out on horror books last month, this month more than made up for it. Sure I took some detours like re-reading Princess Diaries (I will never get tired of that book), and falling in love with The Martian, but I finished off Insomnia, and managed to read the Asylum series.
- The Princess Diaries (Meg Cabot; re-read still 5 stars)
- Insomnia (Stephen King; four stars)
- Asylum (Madeleine Roux; re-read still 5 stars)
- Sanctum (Madeline Roux; 4.5 stars)
- Catacomb (Madeline Roux; 3 stars)
- The Asylum Novellas (Madeline Roux; 3.5 stars)
- The Martian (Andy Weir; 5 stars; review live April 4th)
I got a lot of reading done for the Cornerfolds Horror Challenge which is great, because heaven knows I was quite behind, not having read any horror in January or February. Obviously Asylum doesn’t count as I read and reviewed it last year, so my grand total read for the challenge is 4 books. Which isn’t bad.
The Princess Diaries is an old favorite, and I re-read it pretty quickly. The book is falling apart thanks to how many times I’ve read it. It’s some of the best first person pov writing I’ve ever read, has wonderful humor and for such an outlandish plot (I mean come on, it’s a girl finding out she’s a princess in modern day NYC), it’s incredibly realistic. I totally recommend this, especially if you’re looking for something light and fun to read.
Insomnia confused me a bit at the end until I started screaming thanks to that massive Dark Tower reference. My friend read me the argument of the second book and then EVERYTHING about Insomnia clicked. It’s almost like Insomnia is a prequel to the Dark Tower series which is really cool. I knew King did that, but to see how he pulled it off was incredible. That pretty much sealed my fate. The book was fantastic for a number of reasons, even if it was lacking in diversity and some parts just moved too slow. I wouldn’t consider this book horror, although I get why many would call it that. This is weird fiction more than anything, but it’s considered a horror book and weird fiction is a small niche The characters were lovable, and King played around with some really old concepts but did something fresh with them. It’s a tome, and my first King book, but I highly recommend it to newcomers and to die hard King fans.
Now onto the whole point of this month reading wise. The Asylum series!
I feel like every time I try to talk about Asylum I get a little better at it, and my fan-girling becomes more coherent which is good, cause I’m about to talk about it again. Re-reading Asylum was a blast. What I loved about it, the mounting tension, the genuine moments of terror, the realistic portrayal of mental illnesses including anxiety was all there and I picked up details about all of those elements that I had missed the the first time. Asylum is a book that is meant to be re-read. Not only did I pick up on things I missed the first time, I picked up on things that are impossible to pick up on if you just read it once. They’re things that when you read the book the first time they add to the ambiance. But when you read the book the second time, you realize there was foreshadowing on page two. Little things like that just kept piling up and really added not only to the mood of the story but the mystery as well. It’s so subtle which goes to show how great of a writer Roux is.
Sanctum had high standards to meet and just about met them all. The writing was better than in Asylum but this book was almost too much for me. There were some horribly brutal (although not necessarily gory) parts in this, and I had to put the book down for a bit. This book (and the series) is not for the faint of heart by any means. But where Asylum delivered on the genuine fear, Sanctum didn’t quite make it. Sure, it got in the eerie and unsettling, but I couldn’t fully give it 5 stars because of that. Asylum made me sleep with the lights on and dart down my dark hallway in fear of the Warden. Sanctum didn’t do that for me. Sanctum did give us a brilliant ending though, and I literally looked for the rest of the book because how could you end a book like that? It wasn’t even a real cliff hanger! Either way, brilliant ending.
Catacomb….ooooh boy did I have issues with this one. I appreciate what the book was trying to do, but the strength of the series clearly lies with Brookline. Once Dan and his friends take a road trip and are away from Brookline their encounters start reading a lot less like horror and more like a legal thriller with less law and a lot of eerie but not necessarily paranormal things thrown in. I was pretty disappointed. It was good writing, the mood was strong and pretty consistent with the previous books, but the story just didn’t fit with the rest of the series and the ending felt more like a cop out than anything. Not the ending I was expecting or looking for, for the series. I have hope though, when I go back and re-read the series (which is very likely) I’ll probably enjoy this book more on the second read. We’ll just have to see if that’s because it was brilliant writing like in Asylum or if it’s because I know to expect less.
The Asylum Novellas were a mixed bag for me. I adored The Scarlets and The Warden but I could have done without The Bone Artists. The Scarlets and The Warden both really added to the series over all and both were very well written, though I never got any real scares from them. The mood and the build up was there but there was no payout. The Bone Artists on the other hand…that one was a mess. Just ignore that one. Even after reading Catacomb I still didn’t feel like it was needed or really added anything to the series.
Finally I read The Martian. A couple of my friends on tumblr had screamed their praises about this book and I adored the movie. I was rather terrified to read it because I heard that it was very math/science based but I shouldn’t have worried. Mark does a great job explaining everything even for the most math incompetent of us (aka me). It’s funny, it’s intense, it’s an adventure and survival story all in one. This is a must read for anyone who liked the movie, science, or space. Honestly, I adore this book. Stop reading this and go read The Martian.
Over all it was a very good book month. I got to read a lot and I wound up really liking the majority of what I read. Best book month so far!