Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Analysis of Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Anne Rice has been and will continue to be my absolute favorite writer of all time.  She is the reason I have begun writing novels and is the only writer besides Edgar Allen Poe I find myself reading over and over again.  Interview with the Vampire is Anne Rice's first book in The Vampire Chronicles.  This is not my favorite book of hers, but is still one of the best novels that I have read.

I think the biggest factor which separates this novel from others is the delivery of the story.  It is actually quite hard to explain since there are a couple of narrators.  Louis is the vampire being interviewed, but there is a boy who is recording the interview and plays a crucial role to the dialog within the novel.  Rice is forced to play a story out through characters telling the story.  Throughout the book she will switch back and forth from the main story to the dialogue between the boy and Louis.

The main plot centers around the history of Louis.  He is the shining star within this book and everything is seen through his eyes.  He begins his tale from the 1800's in New Orleans well before he was turned into a vampire by Lestat.  Rice really goes in depth when creating this character Louis.  From the very beginning I found myself in his corner.  He is one of the few vampires who actually has a distaste of taking human life and sees it as immoral even after hundreds of years.  Louis is also ridiculed by Lestat for spending time reading and learning rather than killing and partying.

I would guess that Rice had a special connection with Louis.  Writers have a fascination with reading and learning.  The way in which they improve their craft is by reading and therefore usually pick up quite a romantic depiction of literature.  After Lestat turns Louis into a vampire after many years Lestat decides to increase their little group by adding a small child.  The only reason he turns the child is so Louis will not leave him.  Louis being the moral and emotional of the two decides to stay with Lestat helping him financially and being his companion because of the child vampire.

The story continues to develop with Louis continuing to grow and Lestat staying the same.  A time comes when the child grows and decides to kill Lestat.  Both the child and Louis have no idea what they are doing since Lestat did not explain how to kill a vampire and muck the entire plan up.  I found especially in these parts that the author does an amazing job at describing the scene.  Her depictions are extremely gruesome, but leave plenty to the imagination.

From what I took out of the text the writing delivers in metaphor a fight between individuality and conformity.  The child is certain she wants all the restrictions lifted and is the main pursuer of freedom from Lestat.  Louis on the other hand was quite comfortable with the life the three of them shared and was willing to give up nearly everything in the attempt to keep everything the same.  When the child makes the move to kill Lestat, Louis is placed on a crossroad and even though it is extremely difficult to throw off the burdens and embrace major change he struggles greatly.

If you are a reader who enjoys wonderful descriptions, in depth characters, and overall great writing this is the book for you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Novel Death Has Fallen is Published

Just letting you guys know that my novel is now on Amazon for sale.  I would love to hear any comments if you read the book.  This book is only for kindle if you don't own one check the sidebar for a link.

Review of Bad Billy by Jimmy Pudge

Rating: 6/10
Value: Free for Kindle
Readers: I recommend only those over 18 because of content.

When I picked this book up I found the beginning interesting.  It starts off setting the scene in the deep south with backwards people.  An Uncle finds a brother and sister in bed whom when confronted see nothing wrong with the idea of incest.  The sister has a child who was severely deformed.  She decided to keep the child, but lock him down in the basement.  While in the basement for years Billy turns from a child to monster unable to perform the most basic tasks.  Since he was in the basement his family would feed him human and animal corpses which changed him drastically so he would seek flesh.

The plot and story itself is solid.  I found it very interesting, but the writing seemed lacking.  This is an extremely violent book which I usually enjoy, but the writer lacks the ability to hide certain points to let the reader come to their own conclusions.  He lays out every gory scene with the details of exactly what happened, how it happened, and exactly where the story is going.  The reason people read books is to use their imagination.  They want the writer to place them in a position to develop scenes, characters, and even aspects of the plot for themselves.  

The other issue I had a problem with was the ending.  Through the entire story Pudge sticks with a real life situation without supernatural or paranormal instance.  In the ending he throws out a turn which did not fit at all.  I would explain more about this, but I prefer not to give endings away.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review of The Giver by Lois Lowry

Rating: 10/10

Value: It is around $5.00 for both paperback as well as the kindle version.  I highly recommend getting this book in the paperback version for your personal library.

Readers: I believe someone with at least a middle school reading level would not struggle with this book.  The writing is simple and is intended for young adults. 

Summary: The Giver is a book about the evolution of society with a communistic government and social system.  The society brought forth in Lowry’s book is one in which everything for everyone is decided for.  The elders pick the peoples job’s, mate’s, and children.  The community supplies the food, medical necessities, and everything else required to live.  The goal of this society was to stomp out any differences and individuality creating what the book refers to as “Sameness”.  The main character is a boy named Jonas who for the first half of this book lives in this world attempting to follow the thousands of rules imposed.  When he is twelve he gets the job of The Receiver.  The job entails receiving all past experiences, emotions, and memories which the community has decided to no longer deal with.   

Positive:  There is so much going for this book.  First and most importantly is how Lowry develops a successful communism.  On the outside the society seems extremely happy and even perfect.  If everyone follows the rules then it eliminates all negative experience.  Lowry does a brilliant job creating this world in which it would seem to be a pleasure to live in, but then through depth of character shows the reader that losing all individuality and ability to choose would be impossible to bear. This is a very short book, but the length of the book matters little as Lowry packs in a story with everything explained.  In many cases this may seem like an extreme world and one never dreamed up before, but if you look at many different governments around the world it has been attempted multiple times.  I believe that Lowry does a wonderful job showing both the lure and flaw of this system of societal structure.

Negative:  It has been a very long time since I was unable to put a book down.  I read every day and usually over 20k words.  This book I was unable to put down and I place it in my highest esteem.  There is absolutely nothing about this book I would change it is one of the best books I have ever read.

Characters: The depth of character was simple yet extremely deep.  There are only seven characters within the book which hold crucial supports to the storyline.  Jonas of course is done amazingly well.  He is someone easy to identify with and understand.  The Giver who is his boss is another character I found just done perfectly.  These two people within the society have all of the thoughts of the society for hundreds upon hundreds of years.  This could have been the biggest flaw of the book giving characters such intense knowledge.  The author did it in a way in which I believed these two characters had all the generations of knowledge.  The most difficult thing to do as an author is create something which you are not.  There is no one with knowledge of the ages, but Lowry really stepped up to the plate creating these two and making us as readers believe they hold all this within.

Writing:  Like I said earlier the writing is extremely simplistic.  You will not find any difficult to read prose within the book.  That being said it is difficult to wrap your mind around the society the author creates here.  Even the use of simple language does not diminish the amount of wisdom the author stuffs into so few pages.

Quote: “It's the choosing that's important, isn't it?” Lois Lowry

Final Thought: This book is of course categorized as fiction, but I think it blows most philosophical literature out of the water.  Just because this world does not exist does not mean it won’t.  Time and time again to reach an easier life people have given up everything.  Even here in our United States we give up our privacy and choice for increased safety.  I really felt that Lowry in this book brought forth the consequences of such weakness.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Review of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Rating: 9/10

Value: Free at the library, around a dollar on the kindle, and a couple dollars for a paperback.
Readers:  Talented writer in the 1800’s requires those who have a good grasp of reading.  The language is not overly complicated allowing someone with a 10th or 11th grade reading level to be able to enjoy the text.

Summary:  The book itself is quite small.  The story hovers around the love of Hester Prynne and Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale.  These two made love and Hester became pregnant.  Because of the times and highly intolerant religious leaders the punishment for adultery was extremely harsh.  Hester was married to a man when she had the child with her lover.  She is sentenced to a lifetime of having the scarlet letter on her breast which is a red A which she had to have at all times on her shirt.  This of course forces Hester to live as an outcast.  Dimmesdale who was her pastor at the time does not admit to being the father of Hester’s child therefore forcing Hester to suffer the punishment alone.

Positive: The characters in this book are believable.  You walk every day with Hester and feel the pain of the punishment which she feels.  Since the characters are enjoyable you also get to enjoy the life changing alterations which Hester and the other characters go through in the book.  From the very beginning you feel sorry for the protagonist.  She will suffer in the first chapter more than the majority of people in their lifetime.  Not only is she forced to suffer social humiliation, but her new born child is forced to suffer as well.  The antagonist which is Hester’s husband also goes through a massive change.  You will first see him as a victim of Hester, but as you see how easily hate and vengeance can occupy someone’s entire being the pity for him fades and loathing is filled in its place.  Overall this book is a masterpiece of 1800’s society in America.  I found it interesting that Hawthorne’s grandfather was a magistrate on the Witchcraft trials in Salem.

Negative:  There is very little wrong in this book.  From start to finish you are sucked in.  The main issue I had with this book is the length.  The book is just over 200 pages and for such an in depth story could have filled many more pages which would have been wonderful.  The ending in particular could have been expanded greatly.

Writing:  Hawthorne’s writing should be looked to when an author is attempting to find their voice.  He paints wonderful pictures and has such a grasp of the human mind you will be left in awe.  One thing I find that authors do is over complicate their writing intending on forcing the reader to slow.  Hawthorne did not do this once.  With his writing you won’t get lost or have no idea what had happened.

Quote: “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

Final Thought:  The majority of these old books I read simply because the authors are praised by our literary society and I want to see for myself what they bring to the table.  Most of the time the writing is good, but not nearly as good as people have made them out to be.  I found Nathaniel Hawthorne to be one of the most interesting authors I have ever experienced.  He lived in such an interesting period in America’s history and gives the reader such insight to the times.  If you have not read this book then I recommend getting out there and buying it for your collection.

My Novel Update:  I must say that I am very excited.  I have just finished proofreading my novel and I am now in the editing phase.  I will of course let you know on this blog when my book goes on amazon for sale.  Right now I am thinking of only charging $0.99.  It is a full novel pushing well over 50k words.