Rapid Review: Before I Wake (2016)

before i wake poster

“I don’t like to sleep.”
– Cody

SYNOPSIS: A young couple adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps. – via IMDB

before i wake
GRADE 5You know, I quite like Mike Flanagan’s work. It isn’t all phenomenal, but it is usually entertaining, and tries to be a little more than your average film. I just wish that he had been allowed to maintain the original name of this (Somnia) as it fits with his other work. Moving on to the movie itself, I thought it was okay. I was interested, at any rate. The concept was cool, but the implementation was a little messy, if we are being honest. I was pleased to see Thomas Jane here, and I thought he was the only truly rational character in the whole movie, and he was really nice. His relationship with Cody was sweet and it was heartbreaking. An aspect that I didn’t like at all, however, was their son Shawn dying in the bathtub. This was never really explained, and for a child of that age it shouldn’t have happened. I understand the family’s flashbacks of how it happened could just be in their heads, and not how it happened, but still, some clarity would have been great. It should not have peeved me so much, but so much of the movie hinges on this having happened to their family. The performances were alright, but not brilliant for the most part, but they all came through and made this a decent watch. You can definitely tell Flanagan was given a bigger budget for effects here, and it doesn’t look bad. The movie has the feeling of a dark fantasy meets horror, and it balances the two effectively, but at the end of the day, the movie feels like it didn’t go all out to deliver. There was so much untapped potential here, and ultimately the movie just felt like a rather hollow experience all round. A right mixed bag – some stuff was good, other stuff was just not.

Review: Naked In Death – J.D. Robb

naked in death cover

In Death #1

SYNOPSIS: In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line–between seductive passion and scandalous murder…Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all–and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire–and a suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about–except the addictive hunger of needing his touch. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6Kim over at By Hook Or By Book recommended this one for me, so I decided to check this out. For anyone that is going to read this, please note that it is indeed set in the future, do not go Google this (like I did because I was disconcerted and confused as to what the hell was going on) as there are spoilers galore everywhere because this is the internets, after all. Aside from that, I was pretty excited when I started, murders and all, and I was wondering what the hell kind of cop Eve was if she had never seen a murder by gun before, but later it makes sense. Anyway, I was all happy with the bloody crimes and some cussing, things felt normal, not like a romance novel. We had crime, investigation, detectives, some politics, the whole shebang. But then the book took a turn to romance and I knew it was all pretty much going to be downhill from there. There was this totally rushed relationship with Roarke that was brought in, which makes no sense seeing as this is a series, she could have taken the time to develop characters as well as events and all. Typical Roberts style though the characters are rushed, there was a whole chapter and a bit dedicated to all types of sex, which was unnecessary (and some bordered on, well, rapey qualities). I honestly don’t mind sex scenes in books, but they do not need to take up chapters, and you don’t have to build up a relationship, then let them have sex six times in a row before getting back to the story. I also don’t understand why female cops are also called “sir”, just saying. Roarke, too, was not a character that I was taken with, not like the author intended. He was actually just a side character with a lot of money and quite a controlling tool to boot, and he felt pretty forced in, but I will see where the series goes from here. However, suffice to say so far I am not a fan of the pompous jerk, though my opinion will be in the serious minority. The whole thing being set in the future would be fine, but the writing style shows that the author isn’t sure how much to let on about the technologies and vehicles, etc. and at times this is frustrating, because it is disconcerting as it throws you suddenly into the fact that this is futuristic when she does decide to address it, and even then it is just glanced over (hence I Googled when I started reading, I wasn’t sure if I had missed something or if I was just plain down slow). Some of the technology seems outdated, too, but oh well. I suppose writing this in 1996 left so much open to technology. Naked In Death is not badly written, but it is not nearly as engrossing as I would have hoped for, and the characters are rather flat, and the crime and investigation doesn’t follow as smoothly as I would like (but then, I read far more of that usually, so this is a decent start I suppose), and once again, it was rather obvious rather early who was involved in the crime. I know it looks like I have an inordinate amount of complaints, but it does not mean that I hated the book, just that J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts, writes very much the same all the time, which can be a little wearing. While this is a little different from her work under her own name, it is not that different that you wouldn’t know it was her own work. I just get the hype, truly!