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Finished Bag of Bones...

 
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:36 pm    Post subject: Finished Bag of Bones... Reply with quote

My Goodreads review: 3 Stars out of 5
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1400756419

Quote:

As I was reading the first half of Bag of Bones, two thoughts continued to surface: "King sure likes to tell me what's going to happen later," and "this would be a much more interesting story if it weren't for all the ghosts."

Reading the second half, these thoughts became "I'm glad he's stopped telling me what's going to happen, and started telling me what's happening," and "the ghosts are much more interesting now."

Having read only a half dozen of King's works, I find that I am drawn to him mainly for his ability to write about characters' internal struggles while focusing on a major theme. Salem's Lot, for instance, dealt with characters' reactions to fear more than the source of that fear itself. Pet Semetary focused mainly on how people deal with and react to death. Bag of Bones, being written in the main character's voice as he looks back over events, is filled with his own internal conflict but lacks that overarching premise that ties it all together.

Ultimately, like Rose Red, it's just an excuse for King to throw a bunch of creepy situations at us without rhyme or reason. While the second half was certainly more enjoyable than the first, I can tell already that it's a book I'll have forgotten in a month.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know I read it, and I cannot remember a thing. So: spot on. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mostly agree. I like King when he handles characters well (e.g. It, Dark Tower, Gerald's Game), rather than using them as props to talk about supernatural stuff (e.g. Needful Things) or a meandering plot (e.g. The Stand). The ghosts annoyed me in this story at first, but then I found their own stories interesting, especially Sara's. Her rape scene was unforgettable. I read this a year ago on my journey toward the DT, and it's still with me. Mostly I remember the main character's pain and the community where the story happens, the people who had this dark secret they didn't want outsiders knowing. I like how King makes a community come to life with its inhabitants and their history. It feels "lived in." He does this well in It, too.

I disagree with your last line about this book merely being an excuse to have creepy situations. I enjoyed how King let this story breathe, how he was in no hurry for the first 100 pages or so, just exploring the main character. The ghost stuff was just a metaphor for his loss of his wife and how that, well, haunted him. I think it was much less gimmicky than the vampires in Salem's Lot, for instance. Once the vampires started doing their thing, Salem's Lot lost its appeal for me. It was like when Dusk til Dawn becomes a vampire movie and stops being a story about characters. This book was just the opposite, making the ghosts seem more interesting and vital to the plot as the book progressed, rather than jumping the shark (or "gangbanging the 11 year old girl in a sewer," if we want to use an exclusively King reference ... See It).
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I like how King makes a community come to life with its inhabitants and their history. It feels "lived in." He does this well in It, too.


I thought he did it well in Needful Things too. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NT had a broad cast of characters, but the sense of geography and history in It was deeper. Derry itself felt like another character in It. Not only do we get to see the town from the perspective of children who return as adults, but also in the historical passages between sections. BoB also had this sense of history that NT didn't have (though I believe there were other books set in the same town that I hadn't read).
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
(though I believe there were other books set in the same town that I hadn't read).


Ah, there's the problem. 4 novels, 2 novellas and 4 short stories are set there, with NT being among the last of them. Having read them all, that made Castle Rock quite a living place for me.

Also 24 of his other books refer to it, including It and BoB.

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