March 18th, 2007

Books

"The Pact" by Jodi Picoult

Emily and Chris have known one another all their lives - literally (Chris, aged 3 months, was in the delivery room when Emily was born). They lived next door to one another and their two families did just about everything together, so no one was surprised or disappointed (just the opposite, in fact) when the two of them began dating as teenagers. Surely, they knew one another - and loved one another - as much as two people possibly could. So when Emily dies of a gunshot wound, and Chris was the only other person at the scene, both families are shattered. Chris says he and Emily agreed to a suicide pact, but how could two such well-adjusted teens feel a need to do something so horrible? Of course the alternative - that Chris murdered the girl he'd grown up loving - is even more horrible.

~The rest of this review contains MAJOR SPOILERS~

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Still, a fascinating read, and definitely worth the time spent reading it. 7.5 stars/10
Reading to Dragon

"Sandman #1: Sleep of the Just," by Neil Gaiman

I've been interested in reading the Sandman series for a while, so when a friend of mine offered to loan me the first several issues in the series, I took them home happily. I'd started the series before, a few years ago, but put it down again pretty quickly. I wasn't yet comfortable with the graphic novel format (I never read comics when I was a kid), but I've read a few since then (mostly thanks to the encouragement of syrinxkat; thanks, K!), and wanted to give this series another try, since I've loved everything else I've read by Gaiman.

(I suppose I should warn that the following paragraph is mildly spoilerish)

So, I started the series again with this one, last night. In 1916, a ceremonial magician, Roderick Burgess, uses an ancient grimoire to attempt to summon and capture Death. He doesn't succeed in this, but does manage to capture Dream, instead. He keeps Dream prisoner in the hopes that Dream will bestow upon him some benefits (eternal youth, or other special powers). Unsurprisingly, Dream is not cooperative. The capture of Dream causes some strange things to happen in the world - a number of people are afflicted with what is called the "sleepy sickness," staying asleep all the time, or unable to function in their waking lives. As the years pass, Dream remains captive, forced to wait, and plan his revenge . . .

I really enjoyed this (even stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it last night). The story is captivating, and I'm enjoying the artwork, although it's not as gorgeous as some I've seen. I suspect I will come to really like Dream, although it looks like he'll be something of an anti-hero (not that this is usually a problem for me; some of my favorite fictional characters fall into this category). It did take me a few pages to get used to the pacing - I found my eyes moving too quickly over the illustrations, and I had to remind myself to slow down and really take in the nuances. (There are a lot of little details when you take the time to look, and I found myself missing out on important stuff when I went too fast). I'm definitely looking forward to reading more.


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