Thursday, November 01, 2007
RIP II Wrap-Up
RIP II Wrap-Up time! Oh, boy, did I have fun. I don't know what it is about spooky and atmospheric books in the fall, but once I got into the mindset (it didn't feel quite right, at first, since it was still very hot outside), I really had a blast. Huge thanks to Carl for hosting the RIP, again! It's my favorite challenge.
I chose Peril the First, but I decided in advance to be flexible and read anything that I felt qualified for the challenge; and, as always, I did stray from the original stacks a bit. After reading four full-length novels, I was still in the mood for more and ended up reading a total of 8 books - 7 novels, 1 book of short stories. Full reviews can be read by clicking on the links. Here's what I read for the RIP II:
1. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank - An classic apocalyptic tale. A riveting tale of survival and also a fascinating look into the 1950's, as the story was set during the time period during which it was written.
2. Ghost Walk by Heather Graham - A man and a woman who talk to ghosts, a couple of murders, and a few plot holes. Entertaining, but not great writing.
3. Ghost Eye by Marion Dane Bauer - Popcorn, a forgetful cat with one blue eye and one gold, realizes that he can see ghosts with one eye. Cute children's story - not scary but fun; the author has a great sense of humor.
4. The Poseidon Adventure by Paul Gallico - Read for the atmosphere; the only truly frightening scene was that in which the boat flipped upside-down. Considered ditching this one.
5. M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman - Short stories, shamelessly marketed to children. "Chivalry" was my favorite. Some were great, some so-so. All were rather adult.
6. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer - The hopelessly romantic opening of a pleasingly tame YA vampire series (at least, so far). Excellent atmosphere and one rocking scary hunt scene.
7. The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier - A time travel story in which a drug sends the men who drink it back to the 14th century but the side effects prove dangerous. Sometimes confusing (too many similar names) but gripping. I loved the historical scenes, in particular.
8. A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi - Another Young Adult novel, this time a reflection upon the Salem Witch Trials. Very quick reading and the author's notes explain why she chose the point of view used.
Of the RIP books I read, only one was extremely disappointing: The Poseidon Adventure. Twilight pleasantly surprised me; I will definitely continue the series and am glad that the idea of yet another RIP book lured me into purchasing it. Du Maurier has only disappointed me once (I believe I've read 6 of her novels, now) and The House on the Strand now ranks well up there amongst my favorites. Nothing beats Rebecca, but I really enjoyed being transported back in time. I'm a fan of apocalyptic novels, but I think Alas, Babylon has just become my new favorite; I thought the author had a surprisingly good grip on the aftermath of disaster. We experienced some of what he described, after Katrina roared through, and it was easy to set aside any doubts and immerse myself in the atmosphere. M is for Magic, Ghost Eye and Ghost Walk were all average reads - no regrets, but also not books that I'll go around pointing out to friends. And, I will definitely read more historical fiction by Ann Rinaldi. A Break with Charity was a pretty comfortable read, in spite of the setting.
All in all, the RIP II was a very satisfying challenge experience and I sincerely hope Carl will continue to host it annually!!