Man. I like to read. A lot. But these last two books…I get to the end and my primary thought is, “what on earth did I just read?” x_x
But…I don’t know if I can get rid of the first of the two books. Don’t get me wrong, I did not enjoy Brian Lumley’s Necroscope…but there was a total of one character that was interesting enough to make me think I might read it again someday.
I have so many complaints though. So. Many. Complaints. Let me tell you about them. Because that’s always fun for me. 😀
(Oh, and there are spoilers, so look out for that.)
The plot was sluggish, but in a deceptive way that kept me from really noticing until I was 3/4 through the book and realized no primary conflict (as such) had been established…but mostly I could not bear the characters.
The story’s “hero” is…the worst? Not the “worst” as in he’s a “bad guy”. He’s just…nothing. Almost literally. He doesn’t possess any interesting qualities until he starts to channel the dead and have access to their knowledge and skills. And even then, he often can’t do useful things without the dead acting through him. So…useless much? It was like reading Twilight, and suffering again through the character of Bella Swan…average and uninteresting to a fault. Until something supernatural takes an interest in her and proves once and for all that even a supernatural, fictional death must get boring because you resort to being interested in the most boring of mortals.
The vampire? (Yes, it was a book with a vampire character.) He was nothing special, as far as vampires go. Although the type of vampire in this book is interesting enough–I have not seen it described this way in anything else I’ve read–there are a lot of vampires I’ve read about who are more evil more cunning more compelling more neurotic more outrageous…more of all the things vampire characters tend to be.
I had a lot of trouble determining a reason for the amount of text devoted to each of the three primary characters–the “hero”, the vampire, and the antihero. The writing about the vampire character was scant, aside from scenes relating to his scheming with (or against) the antihero…and the sections about the “hero” were…just bland. I’d think they were going somewhere, and then it would be disappointing or dull or both.
Conventional horror writing would tell me I should be interested in the monster. But there just isn’t a lot to go on with him. And in a story about good and evil, you are supposed to want to be interested in the side that is depicted as being the “good guys”, but there’s nothing to get interested about there either.
So that leaves the antihero, who occupies most of the compelling sections of the story, and who is more clearly depicted than either of the other characters that one would typically be interested in. Which is probably why I am convinced–without actually checking page numbers–that most of the book is about him. But…when you could have used either your villain or your traditional hero, why why would you make your story about neither of them? How are your readers supposed to know who to side with in this situation?
I would be less frustrated with Lumley for giving us this antihero, who is far more interesting in his attempt to shed his pathetic qualities and make something (evil) of himself than the hero was with his blatant thieving of skills and traits from dead people–but this traditional hero is the one who wins in the end of the book, and the one that gets to keep the series going!
In addition to that vexing plot twist, these books were a good deal more political than stuff I usually read. I admit they had to be since they start off with psychic spy agencies in rival countries dealing, using the supernatural against each other and not noticing actual evil monsters.
Still. Of course the only interesting character also has questionable political aspirations…can’t just dream typical villain dreams about becoming a vampire and using his vampire powers to take over the world for himself…nope…has to be about him becoming a monster and using his powers to further the interests of his country………a fascist vampire? wth.
I don’t even know what to make of that. Is that why he ultimately wound up losing? No idea who I am supposed to be rooting for at all. And there are sixteen novels in this series? Unbelievable.
I’m glad the second one left off in a way that doesn’t make me feel like there are loose ends that need pursuing. I mean…it’s obvious that I was supposed to feel that way, but…no. Just no.
And also, I wouldn’t usually describe myself as being terribly concerned with the portrayal of women in writing…but…I’ve also read very few books like this where the women were portrayed as being so incredibly helpless and insignificant…all the most basic female stereotypes were in the books–whores and moms and adoring girlfriends and unattractive teachers/secretaries…old ladies–but none of them were characters that mattered. Just placeholders for when there was a scene requiring someone to be helpless or blissfully unaware of danger. Or for sex.
Here is a thought I had about this book, which I have never thought before while reading, despite the probability that it is true of other things I’ve read –> “Wow, this is awfully misogynistic.”
I also want to note that there was an instance where a situation was clarified as having “nothing homosexual about it” in the narration. Not in dialogue, but because the narrator had to tell us. Because without a woman there, how would we know for sure if the narrator didn’t clear that up? *facepalm* At least in the second book it was less clumsily addressed through dialogue…but…still…it was bad enough that the character who was being asked was also like, “wtf does this have to do with anything?” If you are writing, you should probably pay attention to those moments when your characters look at you with such incredulity.
I am concerned that this book is being made into a film.
But, man…if I had read this back in college, I could have written some fairly decent papers about it!