- Paperback: 600 pages
- Publisher: Kyle Andrews (July 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0615653243
- ISBN-13: 978-0615653242
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,963,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Whether or not you agree with this goal (and I'm not sure even the author does), you will find yourself rooting for Starlette and her cast, including Girl Next Door, Wacky Best Friend, and Heartthrob among other clichéd Hollywood characters. How best to categorize this humorous yet action-packed tale? I would call it part thriller, part comic book, part satire, and part melodrama, but that still doesn't cover it. This book was first released in installments, so each chapter reads like a novella. A good, long book for your money, totally unique, compelling yet entertaining. I laughed out loud between the brutal (but fun!) hand-to-hand combat scenes. I emphatically recommend "Starlette" if you're in the mood for something different, satirical, action-packed, and uniquely entertaining.
A psychotic villain orchestrates the destruction of the entire entertainment industry in one horrific night; completely annihilating the most beloved faces of the big screen. The few that survive the bloody night are determined to try to rebuild and reclaim the main stage. Andrews' calculated set up of every "scene" captures the reader in this suspenseful page-turner. I enjoyed the unexpected, witty, and carefully crafted way each Chapter seduced me into the next.
Andrews had no problem building up likable characters then making them disappear in the blink of an eye leaving me crushed yet intrigued. For me, I think the most enjoyable aspect of Starlette was the comedic depiction of Hollywood from its swanky entertainers to the political mockery of the industry. I always appreciate the inclusion of a little humor in an action-packed thriller.
Andrews has a brilliant way of reeling the reader into the plot and creating characters that you can't help but love or hate...or even both. There was never a predictable moment in the entire novel; keeping me on the edge of my reading chair until the finale. I can't recommend this book enough for its unexpected originality...a completely entertaining read.
If you're intrigued (or if you like the idea of such a scenario), you're in for a treat with the novel "Starlette" by Kyle Andrews, though it's certainly not a celebration of the enemies of Hollywood culture, by any means. There's more at work here.
After the opening massacre, a wonderful piece of suspense that stands almost entirely on its own, the reaction among the handful of survivors becomes a fierce determination to strike back and avenge their ruined lives, their ruined careers, and their ruined close-ups. All are equivalent to them.
The focus is on a handful of actors who seek shelter with the few other industry survivors in an enormous and mysterious underground shelter beneath the ruined and now abandoned streets of a Hollywood that resembles a cross between Mogadishu and a movie set made to look like Mogadishu where roving bands of feral former waiters and parking attendants prey on the few remaining inhabitants.
The title character, assisted by her wacky best friends (seriously, one of her team has the codename "Wacky Best Friend" in keeping with his character's parameters), are sent on missions by "The Director," which are scripted by "The Writer," right down to the dramatic lines or witty comebacks that they're supposed to deliver even while facing genuine life-or-death situations. In obeying their strange orders and hierarchy ("she once played a role in an action movie, so give her a gun") ... in their considerations as to whether or not to go "off script" on missions ... and in their decisions on whether or not to violate or even question the mysterious "Studio" that protects them, they face as much peril and bafflement from their own side as they do from their mysterious enemy, "The Bookworm."
As the characters fight for survival and for revenge, the tortured values of today's Hollywood are caricatured as being as relevant as ever. From saving surviving actors based on whether they are union members, to gasping insinuations that someone might be even slightly homophobic, or, god-forbid, a closeted Republican, all such sensibilities survive the Hollywood Apocalypse intact.
Andrews has created a pseudo-reality that is as disconcerting as it is engaging, and reveals him to be a unique voice in modern literature. For instance, there's only one oblique reference to the internet. Newspapers seem not to exist. All television has gone off the air, not just entertainment. There's no law enforcement, and no political response.
A revealing illustration of the nature of the story is when a character, who has been held in confinement, is depicted as being released with long hair and a scraggly beard to indicate the passage of time... the beard and whiskers he promptly removes when he's taken into a room to be questioned. They're simply no longer needed beyond the dramatic shot of him being released. To them, the whole world is a set, whether there's anyone watching or not. Hair and makeup, people. Gotta maintain the look.
These touches blur the line between our reality and how people in and of "Hollywood" might think and act if they only had themselves on which to project their reality.
Does this approach to the narrative always work? I can tell you I was both fascinated and engaged, as well as baffled and wondering what the hell the author was doing sometimes, but ultimately I felt as though I'd discovered something new -- something unique and amazing that straddles the line between action, fantasy, and satire.
Fantastic work, Mr. Andrews! Well worth the money!