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4.4 out of 5 stars
Summer of Night
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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(1 star)show all reviews
on December 25, 2002
I mourn the loss of real editors in the publishing world. Dan Simmons could have had an effective story if only he'd had an editor to make revision suggestions (or if he'd read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers).
This book is fraught with imprecise, repetitive, and--dare I say it--boring language. The story moves so slowly that I am not sure it is scientifically accurate to call it movement at all. Simmons takes advantage of every opportunity (sometimes four times a chapter) to derail his story just as it starts to get interesting by clif-hanging one character to move on to another. The book is bloated with descriptions that sidetrack the story to give the reader meaningless little glimpses into the time period. What's worse, it isn't scary. Not one bit, not at all.
Summer of Night reeks of a first novel (was it Dan's first?) from an author with potentially good ideas who lacks an editor to see him and the work through revisions to a publishable state.
One reviewer compared Summer of Night to Robert McCammon's Boys Life. That is like comparing the song your cat played as she pranced across the piano keys with the symphonies of Mozart.
Time is scarce these days, and if you're like me, you don't have enough of it to waste on poorly written books. So if you're looking for a well-written, nostalgic horror story, Summer of Night is not it. Maybe Boys Life is. Check it out. Decide for yourself.
Those interested in what an editor could have done with this book are encouraged to read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. It is clear that Dan Simmons hasn't read it, and he should have.
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on October 8, 1999
First of all I have to admitt that the 'fanatastic' reviews the amazon readers gave this book really cranked up my expectations of 'Summerof Night'. I was subsequently disappointed. Having skimmed through the majority of the reviews for an overall feel of what to expect, I began to read the book apprehensively with the prospect of reading something new and refreshing. I chugged my way through the first 100 pages and found myself sighing ; firstly because I was getting bored and secondly did it no way match up to the hype engendered to it by not only the amazon reviewers but also Stephen King. ( A great friend doing an even greater favour for a second rate writer).But still I decided to carry on, thinking there must be something in here that caused a stir in the horror reader camp. Page 200, a few things have happened, I am slightly more engaged in the plot now but still cant help listing in my mind other books of the same nature which are far better. Still I feel now that since I paid £6 for the book, the bloody thing has got to be read. Page 300, At last incidents thats are grabbing my attention, I saver these as I suspect things will relent soon. They do. There are around 120 pages that are remotley engaging out of 650. Worth it, NOT!The Characters as they become brazened to the horror start to swear more, they are only 8-13 in age, it becomes so bad it reads like a bunch of little swartchaneggers running round shooting zombies with stupid noses.(Comedy?).The end is just like yeah,yeah,yeah, well done boys you stopped the rot and lost your innocence for ever bla,bla,bla. This is IT done badly. People keep saying if this book had Stephens Kings name on it it would sell millions, they are right it would, but it would stop at around 2 million as word from the fans got round saying that it was his worst and most non engaging book ever. If you want horror that bites stick the following writers, Straub, Brite, Liggoti, Herbet and Koontz. Oh!, and a recommendation for a book like IT but better than Summer of Night,'Joe Donnely's 'The Dark Valley', read that and weep. If that had Stephen Kings name on it.........well, who knows?
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on October 29, 2003
I gave this novel a try and regretted it. It was quite a chore to finish its 600 pages.
An ancient evil is overtaking a small town (don't worry about its origin, you'll travel through the painstaking history) and it's up to a group of kids to thwart it. There's your plotline. Now it's up to the novelist to create a compelling tale to go along with it. He doesn't. We have giant earth-digging eels, gooey zombies; but most of all, we have a silly, tedious, windbag of a story.
Simmons is continually detouring onto tangent, side stories, which are not only uninteresting, but lose momentum that the main theme should be gathering. Instead of a concise, gripping narrative, he gives us a rambling yarn that seems to go on forever, and loses steam with every page.
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on April 30, 2002
How could the man who wrote the Hyperion books pen this terrible, mindnumbing, unfinishable novel? It takes an awful mess to make me dislike a book so strongly that I am unable to read it through to the end, but sadly, Dan Simmons' work, outside of Hyperion, consistently disappoints. This plot is so tired- preadolescent kids lose their innocence whilst battling against a sinister force in a small town- and has been done a thousand times better by Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, to name a few. Arrgh. Save your money, or spend it on Hyperion and its' sequels.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2004
I will admit that the book had some decent suspense until about the halfway mark, and a couple of real hair raising situations, but I knew I was in trouble when those holes in the ground started to pop up. And then the description, comparing the sides of the mysterious holes to a "section of human gut, red and raw." Huh. Or how about that dead guy's face morphing into something like a lamprey and gonna try to eat somebody. Nice. I kept wondering when Sigourney Weaver was gonna show up.
That's nowhere close to scary, no matter how often you have such silliness creeping out of the dark. I mean, where else is it gonna creep out of?
Oh ya, there's an absolutely ridiculous Aleister Crowley tie-in that is downright offensive to anyone who knows anything of Thelema, and a big monster referred to as The Master with some kinda pink tentacles and an egg sack that "sizzles". Yawn.
And what else are you gonna do with such a monster but burn it down? Pump the gas to it, light it up hunny.
And this is supposed to be "good" or "powerful horror"? I think it makes great kindling. I wish someone had so simply told me and other readers what we were in for.
Simmons gets a star for a few nice scenes and some interesting ideas that unfortunately worked themselves out into, well, The Master. I was expecting some sort of twisted Osiris cult, and all I got was a big, pink, stinky monster.
If this is what the horror genre is about, I'm backing out now and going back to fantasy.
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