Mini Reviews: Extremities by David Lubar, Doors by Daniel Drako, and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

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Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Young adult, Anthology, Horror
Release Date: July 23, 2013 by Tor Teen
Number of pages: 208
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Goodreads | Amazon

Master of the macabre David Lubar turns his attention to dark and twisted tales for teens with Extremities: Stories of Death, Murder, and Revenge

A group of high school girls takes revenge on their sadistic gym teacher in the most fitting way possible. Two stowaways find themselves on a ship for the dead. An ancient predator stalks the wrong victim. Here are thirteen tales of death, murder, and revenge from the fertile and febrile imagination of master storyteller David Lubar—his first story collection for the teen audience.

REVIEW

Disclaimer: An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my thoughts in any way.

I love reading horror. Ever since I was a wee kid, I’ve been watching Japanese horror films like The Grudge, The Ring, and One Miss Call. Asian films of this genre scare the shit crap out of me, and I relish the feeling! This love was strengthened even more when I read R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books, encountering monsters, paranormal creatures, and creepy circumstances that have never once crossed my imagination. So there’s really no wonder why I quickly pushed the REQUEST button when I saw EXTREMITIES. Stories of Death, Murder and Revenge? Dude, count me in!

So, I just finished this. Verdict? Enjoyable. I’m a bit torn between 3.5 and 4, so let’s leave it at that. Even though the stories are very, very short — some of them only 3 pages long — they pack a lot of punch. I really appreciate that not all of them end in a gore-y and tragic manner, in which the hero finds himself a victim of his own curiosity, as quite a good number of them have a happy and satisfying end after a gruesome adventure with the unknown. I’d definitely read more from the author. His straightforward way of narrating is pretty neat and effective in setting up a looming atmosphere.

This book reminds me of the manga called Screaming Lessons. They’re episodic, too, and each chapter tells of a creepy story, but most of the time, the hero/heroine ends up not having the last laugh.

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Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Adult, Psychological, Fantasy
Release Date: June 1st, 2013 by Macmillan
Number of pages: 162
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Goodreads | Amazon

David Druas is a successful psychologist, with a thriving practice. When he encounters Hans Werner, a client who sees imaginary doors, life takes a dark and unexpected turn.

After trying to unravel the delusion, David also notices mysterious doors. Scattered throughout the city, they lead to beautiful, terrifying and dangerous new worlds. But are they real?

When Hans Werner is murdered, the evidence identifies David as the killer. Forced to become a fugitive, he struggles to escape the deepening nightmare that threatens to overwhelm him.

As the police close in, it becomes apparent that the doors are concealing a dark and tangled truth. The question is: can David unlock their secrets before his time and sanity run out?

REVIEW

Doors captivated me with its intriguing synopsis. Doors magically appearing, and are gateways to other worlds and planets in the entire universe? That sounds like a neat idea and provides a lot of room for creativity. And stories with psychologists often are fun — in a dark way — and I was totally pumped up with excitement to read this. What resulted was a pretty mediocre read.

So here we have Dr. David Druas who finds himself one day able to see and transport himself to other worlds through doors. One thing led to another, and the next thing we knew, he was a fugitive on the run, and the doors serve as his sanctuary.

To be honest, I don’t really remember much from this novel… I think it was a bit too short and rushed. I loved the strange and eerie atmosphere that was present at first. I loved the new worlds that was provided, the worlds that were explored — the way they were described was vivid enough for me to imagine them, and I really liked picturing the crystal world. Everything else? Pretty mediocre.

I think it would have had a lot more depth if it stuck to certain 1-2 viewpoints only. The multiple POVs felt too over the place and I think it failed in giving a broad view of the story. I didn’t feel connected enough with the characters, and their personalities were just flat. Certain deaths left me feeling empty, and even the plot with all the running around and framing felt superficial. It’s really too bad that the worlds weren’t given much exposure because it could’ve been interesting exploring all the possibilities. :/

Overall, I’m not really sure what to feel towards this novel. It was okay, not bad, but not good, either.

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Rating: 2 stars
Genres: Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure, Action
Release Date: March 1, 2011 by Daw Books
Number of pages: 994
Source: Kindle Edition from Amazon
Goodreads | Amazon

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in a storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

My name is Kvothe.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in.I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view–a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in THE WISE MAN’S FEAR, Day Two of the Kingkiller Chronicle, an escalating rivalry with a powerful member of the nobility forces Kvothe to leave the University and seek his fortune abroad. Adrift, penniless, and alone, he travels to Vintas, where he quickly becomes entangled in the politics of courtly society. While attempting to curry favor with a powerful noble, Kvothe uncovers an assassination attempt, comes into conflict with a rival arcanist, and leads a group of mercenaries into the wild, in an attempt to solve the mystery of who (or what) is waylaying travelers on the King’s Road.

All the while, Kvothe searches for answers, attempting to uncover the truth about the mysterious Amyr, the Chandrian, and the death of his parents. Along the way, Kvothe is put on trial by the legendary Adem mercenaries, is forced to reclaim the honor of the Edema Ruh, and travels into the FAe realm. There he meets Felurian, the faerie woman no man can resist, and who no man has ever survived…until Kvothe.

In THE WISE MAN’SFEAR, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.

REVIEW

Good lord, this was okay, but it was bad at the same time. The first book was written way, way, way better. This one was just unnecessarily long and full of filler chapters that provide no substance to the overall story. Many “arcs” were dragging, like his time with Felurian (the scene with the all-knowing tree was cool, though) and his time training the art of Ketan. It dragged so much and I skipped a lot of pointless training scenes, and I didn’t even miss anything substantial. I really need an abridged version of this because it was just too much.

Also, for someone so intelligent and clever, I detested how Kvothe made a lot of stupid decisions that left me utterly flabbergasted. They were so out-of-character that I question whether or not they were just put into there to “force” the events to happen. Let me put it into layman’s terms. You’re in a relationship. You think that nothing is really happening, that things have been absolutely uneventful, and you want something to spice it up. SO, you convince someone to flirt with you to make your boyfriend/girlfriend feel jealous. OR, you make fake accounts on the internet and have them flirt with you online to make your loved one angry. Sure, it’s wrong, but it made things happen in your life, and that’s what’s important. It felt like that here. Many events felt so forced, so out-of-character for Kvothe that I just couldn’t understand why it was put there. Like the time he tried to get the ring back from Ambrose by getting into his room, without a good plan. He’s clever? Really? I expected much more than that.

AND NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS! I FUCKING SWEAR – ALMOST A THOUSAND PAGES AND NOTHING REALLY HAPPENS! My god, thinking about it, this whole book was a filler. So he goes to university, is poor, filler, filler, he gets a term off, filler, filler, meets Denna again, filler, plays court intrigue with Alveron Maer, filler, fought with Denna, filler, went to a forest to catch bandits, filler, filler, filler, filler, had hot sex with a thousand year old fairy, 100x filler, learned the ways of the Ademre, 250x filler, came back to the university, is now rich, filler, filler, meets Denna again and they’re okay now.

WHUUUUUUUUUUUT.

And what’s even more annoying is how the interesting parts were left out. You see, Kvothe was arrested for calling the name of the wind in his confrontation with Ambrose. There was a trial that was so controversial that it aroused the interest of everyone! That everyone’s talking about it! But do we see the trial according to Kvothe’s eyes? NO! Because apparently, the narrator found it convenient to just skip it! Because it was a boring part of his life! WHAT THE FUCK. If it was so boring, why was it deemed scandalous? If it was so boring, why were people so amazed that you were able to convince you were innocent by using a few tricks? I don’t get it. I really don’t. Then on his way to Vintas, the ship he was on got pillaged by pirates, he drowned, he begged in the streets of Junpei, etc. etc. BUT OF COURSE IT WAS CONVENIENTLY SKIPPED, ONLY LAST A PARAGRAPH OR TWO AND NEXT THING WE KNOW HE’S AT THE GATE OF SEVEREN.

*FACEPALM*

And now all I’m thinking is – I WASTED FOUR DAYS OF READING FOR THIS??????

So many hours I’ll never have again :(

P.S. There’s too much sex. Too much unnecessary sex.

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. says

    What is that movie with Matt Damon about doors too? I don’t remember the title but i did not like it, so my journey through doors has been forever ruined.
    I’m going to buy the macabre first book because my son (whom I suspect will grow up to be a psychopath) loves that kind of horror.

    P.s. so damn hard to type on a phone!