Fifty Shades of Disappointment

August 21, 2012 at 9:44 PM | Posted in Book Reviews, Books | Leave a comment
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I never intended to read the Fifty Shades trilogy books even though I’ve heard so much about it. But a friend of mine offered to send me the electronic versions of it so I thought why not? There has been so much talk about these books that I might as well try reading them and see what’s all the fuss about.

Disappointment quickly came to me after reading a few chapters of Fifty Shades of Grey. Reading it felt like I was back in high school again, flipping through the pages of a Mills and Boon book. The style of writing and the basic plot is so Mills and Boon: a blushing female virgin captivated by a young male billionaire. How cliche can you get.

Image courtesy of vanityfair.com

I know I shouldn’t have expected much from an erotic novel but since this book became a bestseller I was expecting more substance. On the contrary.

I kept rolling my eyes while reading through them – the gullibility of the female character, Anastasia Steele and her swooning over Christian Grey, the young billionaire. I almost laughed out loud when I got to the part where Christian showed the Red Room of Pain to Anastasia. It wasn’t erotic at all. But perhaps that’s mainly because I don’t like S & M. I never understand why some people are into it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude. I don’t mind reading erotica as long as it’s well-written. But this book just isn’t. And I just don’t see the romance in it – not when there’s a non-disclosure agreement involved. But the book is probably romantic for people who want to be whipped, flogged, or caned.

To be fair, I didn’t get to finish the book because I was just bored with it. After Chapter 16, I decided I’m done with the book. It didn’t help that according to reports, the author E.L. James, got her inspiration from the vomit-inducing Twilight series.

Fifty Shades of Grey is just an adult version of Mills and Boon with lots of kinky sex in it, nothing more. I would probably finish this book just to give it a fair review. But I can tell that my complete review wouldn’t be that much different.

In the meantime, where is that Dan Brown novel I’ve been meaning to read…

The Search for Truth About Dracula

September 17, 2007 at 7:46 PM | Posted in Book Reviews, Books | Leave a comment

For many years, young and old people alike are captivated by the legendary story of Dracula. The story of this frightening vampire became so widespread throughout the world that is it has become a source of inspiration for horror movies, TV, and even books. From many of those Dracula-inspired books comes another chilling tale of this infamous vampire. A certified bestseller among horror fiction, The Historian written by Elizabeth Kostova offers a fresh and different take on the legend of Dracula.

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Set in the near future of 2008, the book is a narrative story of a female historian who tells about her extraordinary experiences when she was a young woman. She particularly narrates about her quest for truth about Vlad the Impaler, or infamously known as Dracula. Her quest starts when she, a girl of sixteen in the early 1970s, accidentally discovers an old letter and book that belong to her historian father.

Her curiosity piqued, she asks her father to tell her about the strange book and intriguing letter. She soon finds out that the two items are linked to the one who holds the darkest power in the world. By her father’s revelation, she comes to know that other historians before her father have tried digging into this dark creature’s terrifying reign risking their reputation, their sanity, and even their lives just to know the truth. More mystery unravels as her father reveals his own dangerous search for the truth about what really happened to Dracula.

As she grows older, she finds herself continuing her father’s work digging for clues and learning more about what happened in the past. Danger follows her in every corner as she tries to discover more, searching in archives, monasteries, and other exotic places. As the truth slowly emerges, she realizes that this horrific creature may still be in existence and others who serve him are killing innocent people to protect his secret.

The story is alternately narrated by its two main characters — the female historian and her father. As the female historian learns more from her father’s accounts, she forms her own story and conducts her own research. The result is a smooth blending of an old story with a new one.

Not for the faint of heart, The Historian presents a scary story replete with curiously simple but disturbing images. Kostova successfully weaves a tale of horror that leaves you with a sense of dark foreboding. Readers who are not used to horror or suspense fiction may find this off-putting. However, the story is not really filled with blood and gore. The story itself is more of suspense rather than horror. Suspenseful scenes are presented amidst descriptions of historical places and impressive architecture. History and architecture buffs can find great delight in these descriptions.

The author is incredibly talented in presenting vivid images of far off places that it makes you want to travel to those places yourself and explore a different world. The book captures the readers’ attention and keeps them captivated as the story unfolds. As a first-time author, Kostova’s work of fiction is impressive. And it’s not surprising that she won the Novel-in-Progress award for this book.

Though the story is not purely of a horror tale, it still manages to inject enough scariness in it that would make some readers toss and turn in their bed at night. A fusion of horror and history, The Historian is a great, satisfying read for those who have a thing for history and scary stories.

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