Monday, 11 March 2013

Book Review January / February 2013

I decided to tackle some of the classics of the horror genre these last couple of months. 

I'm sure we all think we know these stories but unless you actually read the original, then all you know is an adaptation which in many cases contain just a fraction of what the original author imagined.

Wordsworth Editions - Classics
By Mary Shelley
ISBN: 9781853260230

We're all familiar with the square headed, lumbering and mono-symbolic monster of the Hollywood films, but the creature originally created by Mary Shelly bears no resemblance to this image. At times he is very articulate and despite being the perpetrator of several murders the reader has to accept a degree of sympathy for him, and the real villain of the piece is the monster's creator Dr Frankenstein. The story is not so much a horror story, having been polished and tweaked by Mary Shelly since its initial concept that wet week spent in Geneva, but is a love story and travel journal of the scientist who gave life to his created cadaver.

Wordsworth Editions - 
Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural
The Phantom of the Opera
By Gaston Leroux
ISBN: 9781840220735

if this was published today no doubt it would find itself on the 'Dark Romance' shelf, for the mysterious phantom is besotted with the opera singer Christine Daaé. When he finds that he cannot have her by fair means then foul will have to do. Again this is another story that has had many variations turned into stage and film, but how many actually capture the true feeling of the original? Presented as a report of an investigation to add further weight to the mysterious detective story.

Wordsworth Editions - 
Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural
Dracula and Dracula’s Guest & Other Stories
by Bram Stoker
ISBN: 978-1-84022-627-0

This is a double volume, Dracula and then a short story collection Dracula’s Guest & Other Stories. For the moment I've just read Dracula, the other volume in this book will come later in the year. This is another one those stories you think you know because of the many films and uses of the character, but it's one that I'm ashamed to say I had not got round to reading. For those of you who haven't read it either I suggest you grab a copy or download to your ekindy-pad-dodar-wotsit of choice.

Presented as collection of documents written by several of the main characters of the book, the collected works tell of Mr Harker's initial visit to Count Dracula as he arranges to come and live in England. Obviously not a good advertisement for immigration. The Count arrives and brings with him his dark cloud of vampirism, and soon sets about spreading himself across London. There are points in the book, maybe because we're more familiar with the old vamps these days that you want to take the characters and shake them but remind yourself this is one that set the bar in the first place.

And finally for something a little more modern.

Titan Books
Supernatural: Rite of Passage 
by John Passarella
ISBN: 978-1-78116-111-1

The boys are back! It seems like an age since I last read a book based on the TV series Supernatural. It was great to get into an old banger alongside Sam & Dean with Bobby in toe for an adventure set during series 7.

An Oni is in town, here to cause disaster and death to the local population by manipulating bad luck and disasters waiting to happen so that where ever he goes a trail of devastation follows. But this isn't his first visit, and he's back for a reason...

With Sam having moments of madness and chatting to his old bunk buddy Lucifer, Dean has a lot more to keep his eyes on. The book captures the mood of series 7 well, and provides a nice stop gap between episodes to help any withdrawal symptoms.

For more info on these books: