5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun, Horror/Dark Fantasy that should be a Series!
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...
Published on Nov. 11 2000 by Ryan Costantino
3.0 out of 5 stars Distinctive
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...
Published on Sept. 20 2000 by Allie Kat
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2.0 out of 5 stars More dark fantasy than horror,
This review is from: Strangewood (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.
2.0 out of 5 stars Great plot, HORRIBLE characters,
This review is from: Strangewood (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fun, Horror/Dark Fantasy that should be a Series!,
This review is from: Strangewood (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!
3.0 out of 5 stars Distinctive,
This review is from: Strangewood (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Rocks!,
This review is from: Strangewood (Mass Market Paperback)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. Can I just say that it rocked? And so twisted and evil.
Some books have compelling plots but marginal prose, and other books have wonderful prose but lackluster plots...but this book....so much the compelling plot that I walked around the house reading it as to not put it down. And prose that I need to go back and re-read now that I'm not racing through it to see what happens next.
Many books disappoint me in their ending. Sometimes really great books don't have an ending that lives up to the earlier parts. But Strangewood's ending remains true to the rest of the book and not only did not disappoint, but exceeded expectations.
I'm encouraging everyone I know to read this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars great stuff,
This review is from: Strangewood (Mass Market Paperback)haunting, whimsical fun, with realistic characters - the interaction between Golden's characters was over half the fun...
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and Engrossing!,
This review is from: Strangewood (Mass Market Paperback)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. The land of Strangewood is what dreams and nightmares are made of. The book reminded me of my childhood with its imagination, yet proved itself worthy of the dark fantasy/horror genre by making me think twice about that noise in the hallway, or the shadow in the window. Great work!
5.0 out of 5 stars great story, extraordinary originality,
By A Customer
This review is from: Strangewood (Mass Market Paperback)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. Much like the author's vampire books-- Saints and Shadows etc-- excellent work. Nitpicking-- I could do without the distracting and irrelevant "love" story between the ex and the prof. Found it damned depressing actually , and it prevented me from caring much about the ex-wife character. Also, I thought there was a pretty big hole in the set-up: The protagonist knows that Strangewood is "real", used to "go" there as a boy, and then he somehow forgot about this? Even after he starts "hallucinating" he fails to recall that this stuff was real? How, exactly, does something like this slip your mind? Something's not quite right there, but nonetheless the book is great fun.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully twisted, but wanted more,
This review is from: Strangewood (Mass Market Paperback)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..I look for more from Mr. Golden, maybe he, Rollins, and the writer of "Descent"and Laymon can revive the soft horror market of the past 10 years!
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Fantasy rarely gets this good,
This review is from: Strangewood (Mass Market Paperback)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. The characters are well-drawn and I'm especially happy with what has to be one of the best written descriptions of a divorced couple that I have ever read. My only real complaint is that I really wish the book had been longer. At times the jumps between scenes happen so rapid-fire I couldn't help but think how much more time I wanted to spend with these characters. Overall, though, a really wonderful book.
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Strangewood by Christopher Golden (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 6 1999)
Used & New from: CDN$ 1.80