Friday, October 15, 2010

Two Reviews: The Haunting of Hill House and Cabinet of Curiosities

Back again with a couple more. I love working at the library. I see so many books while shelving that I normally wouldn't notice. Anyways, on with the reviews!

The Haunting of Hill House:

So I had vague memories of the movie, which I recalled was exceedingly strange, and had a female character I wanted to slap around, and trying to start the book back in high school, which ended when I got to the nonsense about the star cup. However, I pressed on this time, and was....well....I suppose rewarded would be the word, but I still feel very puzzled indeed. A short summary: Dr. Montague moonlights as a supernatural investigator, and would like to find out what exactly is wrong with Hill House (other than the obvious "I am a creepy old house" syndrome). He sends out invitations to people who have come into contact with the supernatural, but only gets two replies: one from Eleanor, our heroine, who was apparently poltergeisted with pebbles on the roof shortly after her father's death, and Theo (The One To Be Slapped) who has some sort of telepathic ability, although we see nothing of this.
When everyone arrives at the house, the gatekeeper (ZUUL!!) warns them off, then lets them in, and his wife, the housekeeper (NOT ZUUL!!) explains that she always leaves at certain times, and informs them of this repetetively. Well, they start experiencing strange things, whilst Eleanor and Theo fight over the heir to the house, Luke.

I suppose it was a good story. Eleanor was an odd one. People spoke of her as though she wasn't there, and the scenes shifted so quickly I had trouble understanding where everyone was at any given time. Which I think was the point; the book seemed a lot like the house, which was apparently built so none of the rooms were exactly square. However, the three young people in the house acted less like thirty-something adults and more like teenagers (Theo especially-i.e. The One To Be Slapped). It was all right, and it had a few creepy moments, but nothing much else. 2.5/5.

Cabinet of Curiosities:

Speaking of creepy things, this book was right up there for the creepiness. To summarize, an old charnel is found at the construction site of the new apartment building, but is quickly covered up so the building can continue. However, archaelogist Dr. Nora Kelly (at the behest of, you guessed it, Agent Pendergast) does some further investigation with her boyfriend Smithback (yes, he has finally scored a female) and discovers what appears to be signs of a serial killer who performed horrible experiments on living human beings. The worst part is that after Smithback publishes his article, new killings eerily similar to the old begin cropping up. Now Pendergast and Co. must find out who has started the killings and stop them.

Now this was an awesome book. Nora is a fun character, who was introduced in an out-of-series book Thunderhead. Also joining for the book is policeman Patrick O'Shaughnessy, who uses his Irish-cop-ness to help out our heroes. The build-up is slow at times, but the end is amazing (and the twist is mind-boggling, as usual). I give it a 4.5/5, the .5 added on because Pendergast says "Barbaric Yankee drivers" at one point in the book.

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