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Showing 1-10 of 26 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on October 4, 2003
This was the first McCammon book I've read years agom and it got me hooked. The story starts out with a nuclear attack on the U.S. What a way to hook readers. In post apolocolyptic America servral bands of survivors struggle to rebuild if not the country at least their own lives amd reconstruct some kind of community. At the heart of the GOOD group is a little girl ( who the readers are, as long as they have a heart, very much rooting for and enjoying watching her grow in the novel.) The forces of evil hunt her because she has power to restore life to the damaged dead earth which supplies the tension and suspense of this incredibly touching, novel.
McCammon writes his story beuatifully, with almost lyrical prose a he describes post-apocolyptic America and I bet most readers are with me about genuinely caring what happens to the characters. However my one critique (other than length which is non-issue because it really doesn't seem that long.) is the (not another comparison haha) fact that the themes and plot almost too closely mirror the Stand which I believe is not only King's best novel but the best novel in the genre. So I had to give this excellent dark fantasy/horror tale 4 instead of 5 stars due to that. However slight lack of originality doesn't diminish one's overall enjoyment of this excellent book.
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on April 18, 2001
I'm very suspicious of books with cover blurbs shrieking it's "a stunning tale of sheer fright and terror", and usually my suspicions are justified and result in very negative reviews of such "masterpieces". But as it was some time since I've read a horror flick, I decided to give the book a try. The opening 60 pages of tale how the nuclear holocaust was unleashed aggravated my suspicion of stumbling at another old-fashioned book using concept of cold wars and slogan "Wipe them Ivans off the map!". How passé!
But flicking through the pages I trudged on. And it happened: after some 80+ pages it got me hooked! I did put down this book several times, for a normal person with sound psyche can withstand only a certain number of macabre imprints of destroyed and poisoned world, of people gone low worse than animals, piles of corpses and all horrible deaths galore. Images that the book has produced even gave me a bad dream once (!).
The plot is has been described by other reviewers in details: not many survive the Bang, but all clutch to survival as best as they can: some help preserve crumbles of life and light (and Swan is one of them, the girl with the gift of bringing back life), some get to established their own "Neu Ordnung" by means well described in "Mein Kampf" (the Man with Red Eye is the Biggest Baddie of them, but to my mind, Roland, the boy King Knight gone berserk with blood lust and Colonel Macklin, eternal soldier haunted by war ghosts are even worse, for they are of human tribe). However, Swan seems not to be the person no 1 in the Book, without other human helpers (Sister, Josh, Robin) she would never make it to the end of the book. Some scenes touched me in unusual way - right to the heart, I felt such compassion to the characters. It is a rare thing in books like that. Several final chapters spun quick action movie-like sequences that somehow lessened the effect of doomed civilization and tragism created before. But the author had to end the book somehow, didn't he?
It's not a bedtime story: I have not read the Stand, but its TV adaptation is kids' babble in comparison with Swan Song's creating an ugly, violent, depressing and morbid picture. But still this book is better than many of King's inflated creations.
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on April 16, 2001
Despite being 956 pages long, I read through this book very quickly. The epic story of nuclear holocaust and the hope brought to the human race brought by a young girl named Swan is fast paced, exciting and yet, very sad too. The relationship between Swan and her protectors help you identify strongly with them.
I downgrade Swan Song one star beacuse I thought the Man with the Scarlet Eye was a bit weak as an evil character. Also, the author didn't give much about this character's origins, which I would've liked to know more about. Also, I found the post-nuclear U.S. to not be quite credible. I realize it is just a fantasy, but I don't the think the U.S. government would've completely disappeared the way it did in the book. It is also wrong to blame "Star Wars" defense for a nuclear war. Too bad the author didn't wait a couple of years to write the book. He would've seen the "Star Wars" helped end the Cold War, not heat it up.
Still, this is an entertaining book and readers will not be bored.
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on October 25, 2000
We have the Planet Earth devestated by disease, comets, and now The Bomb. This offering by Robert R. McCammon differs from the 'Supernovels' of Niven/Pournell and King in that this scenario is a man-made (man-preventable) killing field. RRM has presented a story horrifying because it is more to the heart of the darkside of the Human race than Events Beyond Our Control. The scare is not in the happening itself or the aftermath, but in the loss of reason the Powers-That-Be exibit in the opening of SWAN SONG. I like the way RRM presents his storyline and the way he develops his characters. There is as a required villian, some kind of supernatural 'walkin'dude' type, but it is not the focus of the tale. I don't fault the book for miracle scenes, because the act of surviving this horror is a miracle in itself. As I stated, the characters are well developed, with no one persona becoming too overpowering. I like the way the work keeps its level of suspense steady, with no filler-type dialogue leaving the reader to wonder 'what was that?' Read SWAN SONG. Add it to the Apocalypse Collection...You'll be glad you did.
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on April 21, 2000
..but it comes pretty close. Sure, we don't know every detail of everyone's personality. Some of the minor characters seem sketched in without a lot of detail (but that's inevitable.. don't we all think of some people that way?). Some of the parts seemed to follow obvious formulas. But it was easy for me to look past those few flaws: this is after all, a work of science FICTION. Does anyone really believe God has some hand in the effects of nuclear radiation that will give everyone a different face? God isn't even mentoined or dwelled on too much, something I and any fellow agnostics find refreshing in such an epic book. But I digress.
Basically, you'll love Swan Song if you don't have the wrong expectations. It's an apocalyptic thriller, it's an action/adventure story, it's got some human drama, and there's some supernatural horror. I haven't read very many books that made me imagine so vividly what it would be like to be there.
By the way: this is in no way a ripoff of "The Stand." Are some people so devoid of imagination that they label all apocalypse-themed books as the same regardless of all their differences? Unlike "The Stand," this book has character growth, a real villain (a competent one, no less), and a real conflict at the end. And unlike King, McCammon doesn't rely on a (literal) Deus ex Machina ending to save his story. Pick up Swan Song if you're looking for a good read.. but be warned, it's hard to put down.
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on April 3, 2000
This book was my introduction to the works of McCammon and, I must say, my first reaction was to find more! Swan Song starts as many post-apocalyptic stories do; with a nuclear holocaust, and, while the similarities between this book and The Stand are quite obvious, they are in general theme only. The characters are rich and complex, the storyline well-written and peppered with sub-plots enough to keep things interesting without overwhelming the reader. Swan Song also introduces a concept which I, personally, found very appealing. Not long after the Bombs have hit many people discover growths on their heads or faces. Thinking that they are caused by radiation sickness most people are scared and many of the unafflicted begin to ostrasize its victims. As the story continues however, this caul begins to seem less as cancerous growth and more as some kind of mutation. The day the cauls come off is a day of revelation for many.
Swan, when the bombs hit, is a five year old girl. As she matures, begins to show an ability like no other. She has the gift of life and may be the only one capable of healing the earth of her wounds. With the help of the friends she has made through her travels, Swan has the power to create a rebirth for the planet and her people, if she survives long enough. For, you see, the very forces of evil, itself, are bent on destroying her and all that she's worked to rebuild.
Definitely a must-read for fans of post-apocalyptic sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.
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on March 28, 2004
This is wonderful book for probably 3 quarters of the way through. I loved the characters espically Sister, Swan and Robin. The setup was great and the conflict between an army led by an insane ex-military man and an army led by an ex-televangelist was parturlarly interesting(it was even funny in a morbid sort of way).
The destruction was sceans were great and you really do eventually start to care weather or not these people live or die. Suddenly at the end of the book the plot line just runs of steam like the author got tired or writing. It is still overall an enjoyable read despite its flaws.
The book had me totally hooked until the "Job Mask" started breaking and people's "true souls" appeared in their face(????). Also the fact that the "Satanic" character in this book is so comical as to border on the asinine.
Overall-You will like the vast majority of the book some parts may be a bit bumpy
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on January 26, 1999
I'd never heard of Robert R. McCammon when I picked up Swan Song at a discount book store. But, I love Dean Koontz who had something good to say on the cover. I was interested after one page; I stayed up until 3 a.m. after the first chapter. A few things kept this from being a 5 star read: the "never explained" (why the growths on only certain people's faces? why did he point out that the circle of glass protected Swan - but never use it to protect her), the extreme violence against children (I know it happens, but as a mother, it makes a book very unappealing to read), and the way he built and built the story, but the end was definitely anti-climatic. But don't let any of this stop you from reading this book - especially if you loved The Stand (however I've reread The Stand 5 times; I'll probably never reread this one).
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on July 17, 2002
In terms of sheer volume, SWAN SONG is one weighty tome. Bad puns aside, this epic tale of post-Apocalyptic misery and hope is also a great popcorn novel. It could use a better editor's pass, but the characters are vivid and human, even if the dialogue is B-movie. What gives the book its high readability factor are the intricacies of its plot and its rich set pieces of action, drama and imaginative telling of a post-nuclear world. That divine magic could be found on Fifth Avenue near the Tiffany and Steuben shops is genius -- all carried in a Gucci bag. A bag lady Carrie Bradshaw as Prophet is unexpected, as are much of the plot twists in this novel. I'm not the market for this type of read, but I enjoyed it more than any recent Stephen King novel. It is not THE STAND, but something that succeeds on its own merits. A great summer read.
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on August 1, 2001
The first time I read this book was about 10 years ago. A co-worker suggested it to me as I was growing bored of Clancy novels. I read the book cover to cover in 4 weeks. Mornings, lunch breaks, before going to bed, whenever I could read it I did. I loved the story so much that I recommended it to my brother, a hard to please reader. He loved it! As a matter of fact, he read it faster than I as he was in Europe at the time on business. I've actually purchased the book 4 times as there were times that I loaned out the book after reading it to "Friends" never to get it back after the reader was done. I just hope that the book was passed on to another reader to spread wonder of the story.
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