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Swan Song Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1987
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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Swan Song is rich with such characters as an ex-wrestler named Black Frankenstein, a New York City bag lady who feels power coursing from a weird glass ring, a boy who claws his way out of a destroyed survivalist compound. They gather their followers and travel toward each other, all bent on saving a blonde girl named Swan from the Man of Many Faces. Swan Song is often compared to Stephen King's The Stand, and for the most part, readers who enjoy one of the two novels, will enjoy the other. Like The Stand, it's an end-of-the-world novel, with epic sweep, apocalyptic drama, and a cast of vividly realized characters. But the tone is somewhat different: The good is sweeter, the evil is more sadistic, and the setting is harsher, because it's the world after a nuclear holocaust. Swan Song won a 1988 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. It's a monster of a horror book, brimming over with stories and violence and terrific imagery--God and the Devil, the whole works.
"A wild ride into terror....A grand and disturbing adventure." (Dean R. Koontz)
"A broad, compelling story... a long, satisfying look at hell and salvation." (Publishers Weekly)
"Distinctive and engrossing... McCammon combines gritty realism with magic... you'll wish there were more [of SWAN SONG]" (Rave Reviews)
"A chilling vision that keeps you turning pages to the shocking end." (John Saul)
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So given I am writing this review for me - I will take some licence. Firstly I have read loads of PA ficton ( favorite so far is The Old Man and the Wasteland), but I hesitated with my purchase of Swan Song. I kept coming across references and praise of Swan Song. At $10 is was a lot more than many Kindle reads I buy. Then I thought, the last few books I read were only a couple of bucks - but they were c#%^ and pretty short too. So I thought, Swan Song is over 800 pages - so even if it is just okay it is still better value. So I bought it and have not experienced buyers remorse.
Swan Song draws you in. It is a different type of PA novel as it as a mystical undertone. Not in the kind of 'roll your eyes, give me a break' way - but a spiritual side to the story that adds to its depth and humanity. There are several concurrent plots which weave together as the story unfolds. Each sub plot is interesting. What surprised me was that I became so engrossed with one story line, I literally forgot about some other characters and was surprised when they reappeared. It was ' oh of course, I had completly forgotten about you guys'. That is a really good thing showing just how easy it is to become lost in the story.
If I was being ultra critical I would say that there was a certain 'convenience' of events towards the end. Also - and yes this is just a personal bugbear, the author has obviously had limited exposure to horses. Horses do not lap water like a dog - they suck it. They also really don't behave in the way Mule did. Yes, yes I know it is a minor point - but it was one of the few times in the story where an inaccuracy brought me out of the story and back to reality.
I see many reviewers have compared this to other books ( and no I am not going to reference the books). This really gets my goat. Swan Song is an original work that stands high in its own right. It is , in my opinion, almost insulting to say 'its just like xyz', 'it's as good as xyz'. Swan Song is a great read - enough said.
It was better than I remembered, and I feel so fortunate to have found it. I now have my own Marine, my son, and I will be sending him this book in his next care package from home. It is a very thought provoking book that has a little twist of fantasy throughout it, but who knows...if we blow up the world, those things might very well happen. In light of our current political issues I found myself even more intrigued. I'm pretty sure most people remember the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". Most of us know they can hurt. Let's hope that anyone who is entrusted with our country remembers how devastating it could be to make a rash decision.
First, the good stuff. I really liked it. Long, epic in scope and engaging. The characters were interesting and I became attached to many of them. I will state again that I hope I am one of the many killed in the opening minutes of a globe-killing event. I couldn’t make it afterwards.
Second, the not as good stuff. It was a definite downer. People scare the hell out of me. The violence, brutality and monstrous behavior sometimes put me in a bummer mood. And some of the graphic, gruesome passages went on and on. I know it’s fiction, but damn. That’s why it took so long to finish, I was sometimes avoiding it. I kept at it, though.
And in the end, especially the last 150 pages or so, I was satisfied and glad I read it. Lots of action and the pace was great. This book often is compared to Stephen King’s “The Stand,” but I haven’t read that one.