- Paperback: 376 pages
- Publisher: Macabre Ink (April 27, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1946025062
- ISBN-13: 978-1946025067
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 67 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – April 27, 2017
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Its biggest problem is that it’s a bit amateurish in places. If you don’t believe me, here:
“That was when a sudden cry from Danny ripped through the cab like a poison-tipped spear. That was when they turned to stare in the direction of his trembling, pointing finger. That was when they noticed the dark figure that moved slowly up Lafayette, with the street light dancing briefly on the bleached blond pompadour that crowned his head.”
This is actually one of the later instances of the … “That was when …” habit. The first time, I sort of winced and shook my head, and by the time I got to this one, it was sort of a joke for me. There’s a double-handful of these “marks of an amateur” throughout. It’s not all bad; there were occasional, masterful passages that got me wondering if maybe one of these writers was a better writer than the other … or, perhaps, it was written over such a long period of time that they actually got better during the span of the work. But, hey, this book is from 30 years ago and they’re both still writing and getting published, so who am I to judge? Everyone’s early work has embarrassing tidbits.
It was a quick read. I was entertained. It was probably outlined on a napkin and then fleshed out (so to speak) with assignments given to each of its two authors, and cobbled back together later. (It DOES maintain a single voice throughout, though, so I have to give them credit for that.) Even for something considered “splatterpunk,” I didn’t think any of the gory descriptions were gratuitous. Interesting characters, although each seem a bit one-dimensional -- but at least they weren’t Villiage-People-like caricatures -- the sort of cats who might populate an urban bike messenger service was an imaginative set to choose from. Interestingly, the only character that had any depth was the antagonist (vampire), and that was mainly gained through outside observation -- not that we ever really got inside his head.
It gets points for inventiveness. I won’t give anything away, but this is NOT how I would imagine the great New York Vampire Apocalypse going … at all. And the antagonist with all his … flaws … is something we’re not used to seeing.
But the quality of writing does take you out of it. The way suspense is built with carriage returns in the text and/or by using ellipses ( …) makes me certain that this was written by two guys who’d only ever watched horror MOVIES, and not read much. (You can always tell a book written by someone who has only ever watched movies and then decided to write a book.)
For a while, I was thinking this is only deserves about a 2-star rating, but the bar scene alone, where Ian gets on the vampire’s nerves, is worth the price of admission. So we’re, now, up to three.
It had a good ending. And a DAMNED good epilogue. And I considered bumping it up to 4 stars for that, but there’s something that’s bothering me: I don’t think the book earned its epilogue. I mean, an epilogue is sort of a homage to the story you just read. It can serve as a balm or give you hope; it provides closure. But it was a big, big, emotional tear-jerker of an epilogue and I didn’t feel like the experience of the book, nor the characters’ experiences in the book, warranted such a scene. It’s like, if you’ve only gone out on three dates, then a giant breakup fight with lots of drama is a bit uncalled for. We got the breakup drama, when the story wasn’t actually all that dramatic.
Oh, well. Occasionally, I read books like this that you find on “best of” or “must-read horror” lists and end up with new authors to explore. This wasn’t one of them. I’m glad I read it, but it left me remarkably incurious about these two.
I can see where this would have been the start of something “splatterpunk” in 1986, but by today’s standards it read (listened) a bit elementary. The writing, at times, was very basic. There really wasn’t anything shocking or overly gratuitous going on either. I will say that it was a very quick and entertaining listen and it definitely kept my attention throughout.
I liked it, but was hoping for more “splatter”. Or more “punk”. 3.5 Amazon Stars.
I should say that I was not previously very interested in vampire stories, nor did I know what this book was about when I started reading it.
John Skipp just showed me, with no time to argue, that vampire stories can be really really good.
A good run through a great horror story, told from the viewpoints of several different characters, including the vampire himself... A vampire just recently turned, unaware of how to best utilize his available powers... A vampire that was pretty wretched even as a regular person, and didn't change for the better in death.
I loved every second of this book, as I have learned lately that is expected when I read something with John Skipp's name on the cover.
Every character in the book reminded me of people I know, and I felt totally along for the adventure during all of it.
If you like vampires, or if you never have previously, give this book a read, it may open your mind...
The Light at the End was first published in 1986; and I read it @ 25 years ago. I LOVED it. I don't remember exactly why I loved it, but I 5+ stars LOVED it. I still have the paperback on my "keeper" shelf.
Recently I saw it for $.99 for kindle and thought this would be a good opportunity for a re-read and easier on the older eyes. I don't know what happened, but I didn't love it anymore. I couldn't get into it. There was a whole slew of characters thrown at me, one after another, somewhat one dimensional; and I didn't really like any of them. I didn't dislike them...just pretty much couldn't possibly care
But I LOVED this book, so I forced myself to keep reading; telling myself that I just had to get to that special point where all of a sudden I would remember what I loved. I made it to 30% at which point I decided to call it as "simply too painful to continue".
Maybe it was really original and edgy back in the 80's? Maybe I've burnt out on vampire books? Maybe I thought Rudy was cool and mysterious in a sexy nihilistic/goth/punk sort of way...whereas now 25 years later I think he's pretty much just a putz? Interesting how one's tastes can so drastically change.