Thursday, November 29, 2018

Mini Reviews: Revival || The Talented Mr. Ripley








Revival by Stephen King



Genre: Horror
Pages: 403
Publication date: November 2014

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister—feel the same about Reverend Jacobs. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.

Then tragedy strikes the Jacobs family; the preacher curses God, mocking all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. In his mid-thirties, he is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate, he sees Jacobs again—a showman on stage, creating dazzling ‘portraits in lightning’—and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. Because for every cure there is a price . . . .



Likes: I don’t know why this book gets so much hate. I really liked it! It’s not perfect, but it’s entertaining and full of well-developed characters.

The minister, Charles Jacobs, is one of the most complicated characters I’ve come across in a horror story. I love that my feelings about him kept changing. I was unnerved by him at first because he’s very involved in the lives of his congregation. Then bad things happen to him, and I started to like him. His reactions to the problems in his life are believable. Then he becomes obsessed with electricity and completely terrifying! I wish there were more authors who could make my opinions of their characters swing from one extreme to another.

One of the reasons I put off reading this book is because the main character, Jamie Morton, is a drug addict. Drug addict characters are usually an automatic “no” from me. I would rather not read about them. I worried that there would be too much focus on drug use in Revival. Good news! There’s not. Jamie is only a heroin user for a few years, and the book covers the majority of his life. The drug use is only a small part of the story.

Like all King novels, the end of this one is nuts. I don’t want to spoil everything, but holy crap, it’s intense. Charles Jacobs thinks he can use electricity to open doors to Heaven. He does succeed in opening a door, but it definitely doesn’t lead to Heaven.


This is how we bring about our own damnation, you know—by ignoring the voice that begs us to stop. To stop while there's still time.Revival



Dislikes: Stephen King is known for his slow-burn horror stories. His novels are usually longer and slower-paced than they need to be. Revival is no exception. It takes a very long time for scary things to start happening. Cutting 100+ pages out of the middle probably wouldn’t have hurt the story. I got a little bored whenever Charles wasn’t around. He’s a lot more interesting than Jamie.



The Bottom Line: The pacing is sluggish, but the crazy minister and the creepy ending make the book worth reading.









The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith



Series: Ripley #1
Genre: Mystery/crime
Pages: 299
Publication date: 1955

In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal but grows enraged by Dickie's ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante.



Likes: Have you ever finished a book and immediately wanted to turn it over and start again from the beginning? That happened to me with this novel. I want to know all of the book’s secrets! How much research did the author do to create such an intricate plot? How did she make Tom Ripley so normal and so twisted at the same time? I badly want to go back and tear this book apart to see how it works.

The research must have been extensive. Tom Ripley is unhappy with his life, so when his friend’s father asks him to go to Italy and convince his friend to come back to the US, Tom eagerly agrees. In Italy, things don’t go as planned. Instead of bringing his friend home, Tom becomes his friend. Stealing someone’s identity and taking over their life is complicated. There are so many tiny details in this story that make Tom’s behavior believable. He’s always on the verge of getting caught. The suspense comes from watching him weave a tangled web and then frantically work to keep it from crashing down.

Tom is a warped dude. On the outside, he seems like a typical college kid, but inside, he has a wicked sense of entitlement. He’s a scarily believable character. I didn’t want him to get caught. That would be too easy. I wanted him to keep sinking deeper into the mess he made. I was completely fascinated by him, but I wanted him to suffer for being a selfish jerk.


He remembered that right after that, he had stolen a loaf of bread from a delicatessen counter and had taken it home and devoured it, feeling that the world owed a loaf of bread to him, and more.The Talented Mr. Ripley



Dislikes: Once I got into this book, I was hooked, but it took me a long time to get invested in the story. The beginning is too directionless for me. For the majority of the book, I didn’t know where the plot was going or why I should care. I would have liked a shorter lead-in to the action. I’m not a very patient person!

I wouldn’t really call this a “dislike,” but I hated all of the characters. They’re fascinating, but they’re not good people. They’re spoiled, immature, materialistic, rich people. If you need likable characters in your books, you should probably skip this one.



The Bottom Line: I’m definitely going to reread this novel. I’ll probably pick up the sequels eventually, too.









25 comments:

  1. Revival is one that I'm still interested in, despite it not having the best reputation. I love the idea behind it! I may have to pick up the audiobook though, because I'm not sure if I could force myself to keep with the slow pace.

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    1. The audiobook might be a good idea. I hope you enjoy it!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I remember being totally baffled by the Mr Ripley film so reading the book would probably give me a much better understanding of the story. I don't mind a slow start!

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    1. I haven’t seen the movie. I want to. It would be interesting to see how they compare.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. I'm like Tracy, I'm interested in the Stephen King title, but audiobook might be the way to go. Especially if he's reading it! I'm listening to his Elevation right now.

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    1. I hope Elevation is good! I was really tempted to pick that book up when I was at the store earlier this week. I didn’t get it because I have enough unread books sitting around.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. Awesome reviews! I really want to read The Talented Mr. Ripley. The only Patricia Highsmith book that I've read is Strangers on a Train which I totally loved.

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    1. Mr. Ripley was the first Highsmith book I read. It won’t be the last!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. I was rooting for Ripley as Dickie and his friends were horrible! I enjoyed the next two books in the series where I was rooting for him even more! Darn it-so the start of Revival is very slow? Great. This is what really puts me off the modern Stephen King books. I just get so bored waiting for something to happen!

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    1. Yep, Revival is slow. There isn’t much action until the end. I’m glad you liked the Ripley sequels. I’m excited to read them.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. oh wow a King book that's under 500 pages! maybe I should give it a try! I haven't given up on reading, finishing and liking a book by King :)

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  7. Great reviews! I'm desperately trying to get into King's books. I've read one a month for the past 7 months and I've only really enjoyed 1. The rest were either just okay or entirely too bonkers. The audiobooks have been such a save when it comes to the slower pace that he tends to have. I'm curious to see how I'll react to his newer stuff though.

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    1. King is one of my favorite authors, but the quality of his books is all over the place. Some of them are amazing, and some are barely readable.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  8. I think I might like Revival. I love detailed characterizations. I don't need a lot of action and now that I'm thinking of it... I prefer my action later in the story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these books. 👍✨

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  9. I haven’t read anything by King in sooo long. Partly because I just kind of lost interest in the horror genre but also because his books, as you pointed out, often feel so needlessly long and overblown. I love his storytelling. I love his ability to creep me out or scare me or deliver an awesome twist. But man does he take his time doing it! LOL Glad Revival was overall a hit for you.

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    1. I also took a long break from King. His books sometimes frustrate me, but I eventually want to read all of them.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  10. I loved Revival! I had to read the end a few times to really get at what was actually happening. Then I was like OMG. I agree the pacing was slooooow thank god the middle and end make up for slow pacing at the start. I haven't read Mr Ripley but now I am curious.

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    1. I wish King would cut his books down a little. All of that extra stuff isn’t very interesting, and it slows down the pace too much.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  11. I haven't read a lot of Stephen King's more recent stuff, outside of 11/22/63. He does always have interesting concepts, though!

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  12. Great reviews! I haven't yet read that King book, but I hope to one day! :)

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  13. I really liked Revival as well but yea, it does get a bad rap!

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  14. Great reviews. Makes me want to read them both. :-)
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  15. I am going to have to add The Talented Mr Ripley to my TBR now! I actually was eyeing up the other day and don't laugh - mostly because Drake has a line in his song and he says 'the talented mr ripely' and when I was it was a book I had to know more about it. But this is the first review of it and it sounds so promising, intricate and carefully plotted! I'm sold :D

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