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Strangewood [Mass Market Paperback]

Christopher Golden
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 6 1999
Strangewood is the name of the fantasy world that made "T.J. Randall" a bestselling children's writer. But sometimes his imagination goes too far. Sometimes the story is too dark. Sometimes the creatures are too real. And now, they've taken away Randall's son...

"A notable achievement... Christopher Golden has written a beautiful and wildly inventive hymn to imagination."--Peter Straub

"Strangewood is what Oz might have been if Frank L. Baum had grown up on a steady diet of Stephen King...a daring and thoroughly engrossing blend of wonder and adventure, terror and tenderness."--F. Paul Wilson

"A tour de force...truly frightening and inspiring."--Nancy Holder

"If Clive Barker had gone Through the Looking Glass, he might have come up with something as imaginative and compelling as Strangewood."--Kevin J. Anderson*

"Wonderfully strange and new."--Craig Shaw Gardner

"A treat."--Greg RuckaSales Points

* Christopher Golden is the bestselling author of Berkley's X-Men Mutant Empire trilogy and the Shadow saga

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There was no fanfare to announce the moment when Thomas Randall's life began to change. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars More dark fantasy than horror June 5 2004
By Igor
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The plot reads like a mix between The Neverending Story and a Barker-like rendition of Winnie The Pooh. Although this particular brand of tale has been told a jillion times, golden does add his, albeit unusual, touch to it. With a comic book feel to it, Golden often strays from the plot and delves a little too close for comfort into the often distracted parents. The pace in the book is rambunctious and disorderly. The introduction is painfully slow to only pick up speed just after the beginning of chapter four. Afterwards the pace maintains a rapid flow only to fizzle out at the climax.

The atmosphere is constantly changing and morphing into another mood entirely. It would have even worked if the transitioning had been a little smoother and a lot less obvious. The style of writing is Golden's most endearing and lasting talent. The man can weave a sentence with untouchable finesse. He writes as if he were talking directly to you without presumption or arrogance.

Okay now here is where Golden completely lost me, the characters. The parents come off as self-involved adults who spend more time in their own heads and less focusing on their immediate concern- their son. The characters in Strangeland reminded me so much of Cap'n Crunch, Puff the Magic Dragon and Beauty and The Beast that I spent half the time laughing. The only authentic player in the story was the boy. Although Golden does seem to have trouble writing adults, he can put on the skin of a child with skillful ease.

My rating? I give it a 2 . Next time you're at the library, pick this book up. If nothing else, you'll get a kick out of re-visiting old childhood pals.
-Bloodymary
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2.0 out of 5 stars Great plot, HORRIBLE characters Feb. 6 2002
By Tigger
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have to agree with the review posted by "sarahphin". While the episodes that take place in the world of Strangewood itself are wonderful, I truly DESPISED the characters of Emily and Thomas, so much so that I found myself skimming over those parts of the book, only reading the minimum amount I needed to keep up with the story. Their constant "agonizing" over their son's plight, the "guilt" over the divorce, the ridiculous romance between Emily and her unrealistically understanding sex slave professor, etc. was WAY overdone. It almost completely ruined what could have been a pleasurable reading experience.
Mr. Golden has great promise, but needs to learn one of the finer points of writing a good book - SHOW, don't TELL (most of us can safely assume that parents love their children; we do not need to have it hammered into our heads like that. It was almost as if the characters were trying to convince THEMSELVES) (hint: read Graham Joyce, a master of "less is more" storytelling).
I will continue to look for Mr. Golden's work in the future, and hope to see him evolve as a writer. I think he has great potential.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is one of those books that must be read to be explained, it's that good. Part Horror, part Dark Fantasy Strangewood is the story of a writer's creation come to disturbing, very real life. When Thomas Randall's son falls prey to an inexplicable coma he finds that his son has been taken (well, in spirit, I guess) to the "fictional" world of Strangewood. A world that is supposed to be a figment of Thomas Randall's imagination. But Strangewood is real. Strangewood is at war. Strangewood is dying. And only Randall can save this world from collapse. Only Randall can save his son from a fate worse than death.
The idea of a writer having to face the very reality of his/her creation has been done before, but in Strangewood the story is so expertly crafted, the characters so startling in their vibrancy that you forget the idea that the plot has been done before. Because in this case it hasn't. The world of Strangewood (and its inhabitants) would itself make a very entertaining fantasy series (and in case you haven't heard of Harry Potter there is a market for this). Christopher Golden's talent is excruciatingly apparent in this novel and while I read this I kept thinking to myself "man, this is a fun read" which it was. Probably one of the most memorable and enjoyable reads of 1999 and a book I can't recommend enough. For fans of Horror or Dark Fantasy this is a book for you!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Distinctive Sept. 20 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It took me a while to get into this book about a child's fantasy land gone bad, and I never did develop much fondness for the real life characters. Thomas Randall's 'divorced father angst' was reiterated until it got tiresome, and Emily's sexual neediness seemed over-emphasized and out of place, which had the effect of making her mind-numbingly boring. The fantasy land characters were far more interesting and better delineated. Some of the conflict at times became comic book-like, which may please you or not, depending on whether you like your action fast and snappy or descriptive and complex. The plot is imaginative and the story does eventually redeem itself and overcomes some of the weak points. Given the poor quality of the horror genre at the moment, this is one of the better books of its type that I've read recently, and it's nice to see an author trying for creativity rather than another 'formula' story.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Rocks!
I figure I'll just copy basically what I posted to Chris about his fabulous book (edited for nonsensicalness):
OK, so I just finished reading Strangewood. Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2000 by Vanessa
5.0 out of 5 stars great stuff
haunting, whimsical fun, with realistic characters - the interaction between Golden's characters was over half the fun...
Published on July 7 2000 by frenchy
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Engrossing!
This was the most original book I've read in years. Golden created characters so real that you feel like you know them, and easily empathize with them. Read more
Published on June 28 2000 by Vicki
5.0 out of 5 stars great story, extraordinary originality
I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book quite so much, mainly because of the original nature of the story. It's just plain fun. Read more
Published on March 2 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully twisted, but wanted more
Awesome piece of fiction, but its a little sketchy in parts, however some very memorable characters! Pick this one up. It really should have been hardcover.. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2000 by Bookman
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Fantasy rarely gets this good
Christopher Golden's Strangewood is a book that stays with you. At times lyrical, funny, tragic, thrilling, the novel touches the reader on a number of levels. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2000 by Mark Hammermeister
5.0 out of 5 stars Run, don't walk, to get this book!
An incredible book, one which will stay with you for a long time after you put it down! Strangewood has one of the most imaginative premises ever conceived of in any genre, but... Read more
Published on Dec 12 1999 by Wendy Schapiro
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe not true horror..but a fascinating tale just the same
I would nitpick and say this book was more dark fantasy than horror. However, a visit to the world of Strangewood is fascinating and worth the time spent reading it. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 1999 by Ann Linder
5.0 out of 5 stars The best novel I've ever read!
Golden has surpassed himself with "Strangewood". It is an all-too-realistic tale of human drama, perfectly mixed with a fantasy plot that speaks of incredible yet... Read more
Published on Oct. 22 1999
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