Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “dark fantasy”

The Scruffy Rube’s #CBR4 Review #16 Something Wicked this Way Comes

This entry marks step one in my search for books that would fit my students request for “stuff with more DRAMA” (emphasis theirs)

At first I thought that DRAMA meant intense danger, especially when a grand, unwieldy spectacle threatened the heroes way of life (I figured the longevity of I am Legend and Armageddon among my students would relate here). The more that things were out of control, the more things were likely to blow up in the protagonist’s face, the better. Which is why I brought home a candidate for my curriculum by Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked this Way Comes.

book cover of Something Wicked this Way Comes  (Greentown)byRay Bradbury

Few people can master the art of rising tension and imperiled heroes like Bradbury can. The packs of students who are annually assigned Fahrenheit 451 can attest to that. And Something Wicked this Way Comes delivers a similar sense of danger as the boyish heroes Will and Jim confront evil amid the creepy calliope sounds of Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, a carnival that comes to their sleepy little town just before Halloween. The carnies promise to fulfill anyone’s deepest desire…for a price.

That’s where the moral drama comes into play in Bradbury’s work. While he revels in the details of sideshow illusion made real: living corpses, ice maidens, ant-sized adults, his real passion shines in the life or death, salvation or damnation questions that percolate behind the eyes of both the boys and the lost souls around their town.

Though the themes are captivating, the language is a special Bradbury blend of philosophy and his own 1930’s childhood slang. As such, it does not quite communicate the themes to a modern audience, and even I found my attention wandering. Dark and grim, with a smattering of spectacle it’s an intriguing book and certainly set the standard for copycats from Steven King to RL Stine, a standard unmet by anyone I’ve read. After all,  there are few who can match Bradbury in the sheer audacity of his scenarios and dramatic terror in his climaxes.

As much as I can admire Bradbury’s work, I don’t think it’s actually the kind of book my students are asking for. Intense danger and life threatening situations are exciting no matter how old you are, but they aren’t dramatic with a capital DRAMA for my teenage students.


CommanderStrikeher’s #CBR 4 Review #20: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Back to Fillory, and boy is it dark.  Like a lot of other reviewers, I liked this better than the first book, The Magicians, and I really liked The Magicians.  I heard that Grossman is writing a third and final book, and I can’t wait for more.

The Magician King continues the adventures of Quentin Coldwater, the douchiest douchebag to ever enter the multi-verse.  He’s slightly less whiny in this installment, and half of the book is focused on Julia, so that already makes it better than the first book.  Quentin, Julia, and the two other characters whose names I can’t remember are the Kings and Queens of Fillory.  Hey, just like Narnia!  Adventures ensue.  Seriously, I don’t like recapping an entire book.  I always feel like I’m either giving too much away or not doing it proper justice.

If you like epic fantasy turned on it’s side and made disturbingly dark, then this is the book for you.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

4/5 Stars

Teresaelectro’s CBR4 Review #2 – Saint City Sinners by Lilith Saintcrow

I’ve been steadily researching the paranormal romance/mystery genre for some time as I plot my post-MA writing endeavor. I breezed through Charlaine Harris’ True Blood oeuvre (yes, Deadlocked is in fact winging its way to my door this second) last year. In attempt to cleanse my literary supernatural palette, I delved into Working for the Devil, the first book in the Danny Valentine series by Lilith Saintcrow.Fast forward 6 months and I’m neck deep into the fourth book!

Ms. Valentine is a necromancer, bounty hunter and assassin if the money is right. She speaks to the dead to catch killers by hearing the story from the ghost horse’s mouth. She is also handy with a sword ala’ Black Mamba in Kill Bill.

Read rest of my review at:  Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict

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