Mile 81: A stretch of highway full of Pure Terror that you will Love

Your last rest stop: Will you survive Mile 81?

Review: Mile 81 By Stephen King

Blurb from my Stephen King page (written as I was reading Mile 81) Read below italics for the Mile 81 review if you dare!

 My first King book I read was Carrie, quickly followed by Firestarter and I loved both of them. But the one that really grabbed me and made me fall in love with Stephen King and horror was The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon. The main character was a normal girl like me (who lived by the woods, no less) who got thrown into the scariest situation that I didn’t know if she could get out of.

I was hooked.

 The character, Rachel, in Mile 81, reminds me of this Girl. She seems to be made of the same stuff that the Girl was. That stuff that fights in order to survive and is forced to let go of her little girl status in a heartbeat. And Mile 81 will also leave you wondering if anyone will get out of this alive.

 If you have not been to Mile 81, you need to go now

Right after you read this, of course. (Don’t worry, no spoilers!)

Yes, it is arguably the scariest stop you will ever make on the highway, but you do not want to pass by this rest area. And be sure to know, you will get no rest until you have experienced the full Mile.

If you enjoyed Christine, you will definitely love Mile 81, as you will see that Mile 81 could be one of the places that Christine would have called home. But I will focus on the pure rush of adrenaline and terror that you will feel from the Mile.

Once the horror of the Mile pulls you in, you will not be able to leave this stretch of highway until the ride is over. The characters are fully sketched out and are very believable and you are made to care about them and hence to fear for their lives in typical King fashion (in which nothing is typical).

Hang on tight and hold your breath: no safety bar on this ride

But you fear that no one will be able to make it out alive on this ride and you hold your breath for the characters who you hope just might make it and you are not able to let go. You hold onto that bar that is supposed to keep you safe on the ride and it seems dangerously loose.

Completely taken in and horrified for the characters, the tension was past the tipping point.  I definitely felt my emotions building up for these characters. The “safety” bar will keep slipping open, leaving you flirting with death. You definitely are kept on a hairline edge between life and death and just when you think you are home free, the safety bar will be wildly torn completely off.

It is as if it is your life on the line or your best friends’, your loved ones,  or your children’s lives. The ones you hold most dear. These characters will stay with you.

Some of it is told in that way I love (and fear) when you know something is way off and something is going to happen that will terrify you, have no doubts about it. That adds more layers to the tension as you don’t know if anyone will come out alive and you hope against hope that they will. And that at least some of the characters will come through for each other.

There is amusing humor dispersed throughout but you will still feel the complete rush of the spine-tingling chills and nail-biting panic (make that the-complete-ripping-off-of-the-entire-nail-and sticking needles-in-your-cuticles-type of panic).

There is no way to fully describe the deliciously dreadful state of mind you will be in- (and may have gotten a taste of if you were following me on Twitter as I read and posted my live reaction) so all I can say is get off the highway now, don’t wait any longer and don’t let the fear deter you! I can only say that I hope you survive it. This is not for the weak of heart and even people used to King’s rides of terror will still have their breath taken away on this one.

I didn’t know if I could keep holding on as it really whips you around and I was holding on so tight that I was numb from the apprehension. (If being numb from horror is possible?  Would like to hear your take on this.) But of course I had to keep going and find out what was ahead for the characters.

The only part I didn’t like was that, like the scariest and faster roller coasters, it was over very fast and I wanted more. But there is no shortage of King and I would definitely go to this Mile again (and other stretches of his haunts and highways). I can only hope there will be more of the monstrosity that was Mile 81.

After reading, I was still too much in a state of shocked horror and the adrenaline had not worn off yet, (it still totally hasn’t!) that I could not make sense of writing the review yet (add to that the fact that I had to go to work in a small number of hours and so needed to sleep).

I am glad that I documented my reaction as I read  Mile 81 and so I will leave you with that to give you just a taste and hopefully you are not pushed too far over the edge of the divider. I wouldn’t want you getting stuck at Mile 81, now would I?

(Note:  The following quotes are my live reaction from reading Mile 81, but may be slightly changed from the original twitter version posted, so that you can get the full idea.)

“White knuckles, tense, holding my breath.”

“Heart racing, chills down my spine, have to read on, but I’m so scared for them, I don’t know if I can face the horror and what is going to happen.”

“Eyes scrunched tight, want to hide under the table, but won’t be safe there either!”

Quote from Stephen King’s Mile 81: “Had to fight every instinct in my brain and my body to keep from running.” My version- “HAD TO FIGHT every instinct to keep from dropping the book and running away in terror, but could not STOP reading!”

Have you read it? Please share with me your reaction from reading!

What other King novels do you love? What was the one that you first read or that made you fall in love with King and the horror genre?

And if you have an answer to my question above, please answer in the comments: Is being numb from horror possible?

(And would love to hear your live reaction as well if you are/will be reading it-  talk to me about Mile 81 and all things King on twitter @Bookwormcastle)

To hear more and to join the Mile 81/Stephen King discussion on my blog, please visit my Stephen King page

 

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My Life in Books 2011

 Last year Elyse at PCN (Pop Culture Nerd) hosted a great meme, sort of a Mad Libs with book titles. I had such a great time with last year’s post, so when I saw her post, I decided it was perfect timing! You simply fill in the blanks with book titles.

Thank you to The Picky Girl’s blog where I heard about this!

One time at band/summer camp, all I can say is it involved The Angel Experiment (James Patterson) and a Kiss (Ted Dekker & Erin Healy)

Weekends at my house are over in the Blink of an Eye (Dekker)

My neighbor is Teaching in the Land of Kimchi (Melissa Christine Karpinski)

As am I! And yes, I do like kimchi!

My boss is full of… Wisdom (Amanda Hocking)

This is not sarcasm. Really. Okay, this may have been true of one of my bosses, but I love my boss now!

My ex was the Boyfriend from Hell (E. Van Lowe)

This is actually true. This one is not a joke or sarcastic comment. Now if only I can find my Earth Angel (E. Van Lowe’s sequel to above title)

My superhero secret identity is made of Wizard and Glass (Stephen King)

And is the best getup ever. Very sturdy and still haven’t figured out all the tricks it can do yet.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry because Bloody Little Secrets… (Karly Kirkpatrick)

…will be all that’s left of you…mwaHaha!

I’d win a gold medal in Keeping the Moon (Sarah Dessen)

Or should I say the sun too? Sleep is for the weak.

I’d pay good money for The Truth about Forever (Dessen again)

Wouldn’t we all? I do know the truth, actually. Just ask me. It has to do with Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott.

If I were president, I would Never Let You Go (Erin Healey)

(referring to holding the office…and my dear citizens of course) 28 year term? Monarchy? What?

When I don’t have good books, I ask where the Needful Things are (King)

I need them to live.

Loud talkers at the movies should be Hush, Hush (ed) (Becca Fitzpatrick)

(and this will be done with a Showdown (Dekker) on The Road (Cormac McCarthy) and then you will be Gone (Michael Grant) Sorry if that scares you, I love you, dear reader, too much Stephen King on the brain? No, I take full credit.  *sweet smile*)

Would love to hear your version of the tale! Post your answers in the comments- or please comment with your link if you post on your blog!

Hollowland: A new type of thrill: no roller coasters, only zombies

Hollowland: A new type of thrill: no roller coasters,
only zombies

Review:
Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

“This the way the world ends – not with a bang or a
whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

This opening line promises an exceptional out-of- this-world story. And on that, it more than delivers. There is something that is so great about an opening line that really pulls you into the story, making you tense up for the next punch.  That is the way it should be and that is what Hocking gives us.

The pace and nonstop action of the story demands that you keep walking (and running) along to see what happens as you join Remy and her companions on this journey through what is left of the world after zombies take over. There are corpses in the streets (if the zombies didn’t eat them yet) and zombies are not the only things you have to worry about. Oh, and of course you cannot step outside without the risk of becoming a corpse yourself. And what happens when it seems that the zombies can be capable of some type of rational thought and planning? It makes for a very unpredictable new type of horror, I can tell you that.

From the outset, it is clear that Remy is fiercely independent and outrageously brave even though this newZombieland without the amusement parks scares the hell out of her. It is inspiring and makes for a thrilling, edge of your seat story to see a young woman who fights without stopping for what matters most to her.

No admittance: Ride out of order (or: Ride at your
own risk)

Remy was in quarantine when the story starts, along with a bunch of other young girls placed there for their safety once the zombie apocalypse started. They are living in what is supposed to be a safe place for them, but it soon becomes a death chamber as the zombies break in, killing off the last of the soldiers that were there to protect them and, it seems, on the verge of killing everyone else there as well.

Remy was not about to lock herself in, even though all the other girls did, as they were taught to protect themselves in this way (and only this way) from zombies. She leaves “the safe place” (which at that point was quite safe…for about 5 minutes) to venture out to find her little brother. He had been at the same place as her and he was evacuated because he was sick, which raises some questions about wh they didn’t evacuate all the healthy people as well. She vows to find him and protect him, and two other girls go with her.

After fighting zombies, acquiring an unlikely pet, and meeting a rock star, she is well on the way to finding her brother; at least this is her hope. This is her mission and she will let nothing get in her way.

Zombies with brains?

It is very interesting how the zombies are portrayed in this story, as mentioned before. They seem to be smarter than your averag zombie and can actually communicate with each other in some way- all for the purpose of eating you quicker, my dear. This is definitely not your normal fairy tale zombie story and that, along with the great characterization, tense action and the magnetic pull of what the fight is really for, is what keeps you running to catch up with Remy. Definitely makes me want to learn more about the zombies that Hocking has created.

Dark side of town

The darker side of humanity is also explored in the book. People kill other people without reason and just for the thrill of it and dangerous run ins with cults make for some very scary what if questions. It is interesting to think about how easily some people could lose their so called “humanity”. Then, of course, there are those who have already lost it that Remy must face. She also deals with questioning herself on if she is doing the right thing for everyone around her in her attempt to save her little brother and try to protect her friends.

It is important to realize that no one has all the time in the world and when Remy realizes this, this is what makes her fight her hardest for what is most important and to not waste any of her time.

Title talk: Not so Hollow after all?

Remy can be said to be seen as hollow, emotion wise, at least in how she connects to others. Not that she doesn’t care about them, but her issue is that she does, and wants to protect them. She fears she won’t be able to and so she shuts them out.

She doesn’t want anything to get in the way of her reaching her brother. Nor does she want to get too attached to anyone in this world of death, where it is very likely that you have to leave your best friend or kill them before they kill you if they are bitten or infected by a zombie.

Love in Hollowland?

Nothing to fear for the weak at heart when it comes to love stories, as Remy, as discussed before, does not allow love get in the way of what she is trying to do. There is nothing that is love at first sight, it is a believable relationship that is allowed to develop naturally (as naturally as it can in a world of zombies) and it definitely is not the focus of the story.

In regards to her love interest, she does shut him out as she doesn’t see this as an option with the world the way it is as well as her goal to find and help her brother.

At the end of the novel, she makes a very difficult choice. No one who loves her will be happy with this decision, but it is what she feel she must do. Readers may cry out in protest, as they find themselves loving Remy as well.

This decision also allows her to open her heart to love again, as she confesses how she feels to her love interest. But this may not make much of a difference, after all.

 End of the ride? (Or: those who
survived, exit to the left, those who didn’t, stay on)

The end will leave you hungering for the coming sequel, Hollowmen, (coming out this Fall) in which everything might change again for Remy, but there is no way to tell if these will be welcome changes or not. Be sure to look for my review on the sequel!

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog– BookwormCastle

dedicated to my love of books and reading! In this castle, you will discover
many rooms and many different bookshelves in the various genres of libraries.

You could find yourself
battling dragons or vampires in one or travelling back in time in another.

You will find out what the latest books are, what are good “classics” and what is a good read!

Feel free to add in the
comments what book reviews you would like to see next as well as any
ideas/suggestions for features for the site.

More to come- many
bookshelves and libraries to build and then fill!