Review: Red Dragon

 

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If I’ve learned one thing from doing this whole blogging thing, it’s that I really suck at hitting deadlines. Maybe it’s because they are self-imposed and I have no reason to hit them other than to achieve a goal, or maybe it’s because I’m a lazy little shit. I’m going to guess it’s the latter. I could waste more of our time by writing the same intro I always do, giving lame-o excuses and promising to due better, but at this point I don’t see a point. I’m just gonna post what I came to post.

So anyway, if you’ll remember back to here, I was reading Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Well, I finished it…like a month ago. It took me three days after I got done with Angels and Demons to get through. I knew exactly what I was gonna say in this review post, too, but my laziness took over so I’m just now getting around to it. 

I’m not sure why I couldn’t finish this book the first time I started reading it. It wasn’t a bad book at all. I can’t sit here and tell you it was my favorite, because to do so would stretch the truth insurmountably, but it kept my attention and told a good story.

For those unaware, Red Dragon is the first novel in the series that spawned Hannibal Lecter. Yeah, the guy from that TV show. Also Silence of the Lambs. If you don’t know who I’m talking about by now, you probably don’t care, and you probably won’t finish reading this review. To each his own. Anyway, with that in mind, I went into Red Dragon expecting to see tons of Hannibal Lecter— why he is the way he is, what happened to make him that way, who he was beforehand— all that stuff. I got none of my answers. But that isn’t a bad thing at all.

I was a bit shocked at first to see Lecter’s limited role  in the novel that sells because it spawned him, but everything was made well again with the introduction of Francis Dolarhyde. I’m not going to spoil too much here— that would ruin the fun of seeing how messed up he is yourself– but this guy makes Lecter and Buffalo Bill (Silence OTL) look like giant pussies. His backstory is one that seems all too familiar, yet so fucked up at the same time that you won’t believe it. I’d almost read the novel entirely for this character.

Now for the slightly pretentious stuff… I’m not sure how I feel about Thomas Harris as a writer. Much like Dan Brown, I really did enjoy the novel I read, but I don’t have plans to read any more of his work in the immediate future. I don’t like or dislike the way Harris writes, and he does know how to keep you hooked at the end of a chapter, but at times I found him a bit stale. It was almost as if he would get complacent in the middle of writing a scene, shut off his writing ability, and let his fingers idly hit the keys until the end. I wasn’t all that impressed with the dialogue either. Harris writes in short, choppy sentences that drive me insane. When the maximum number of sentences a character says at one time is two, you get frustrated as a reader because it seems like no one wants to talk to anyone else. Anyone with half a brain knows that you can’t move a story like this.

There’s one last small thing I need to mention before I wrap this up. There is a plot twist at the end of this novel that made me (this literally happened) sit back and say “What the Fuck?” , re-read the page before, and re-read the page I was actually on again before I was satisfied. Well done, Thomas Harris. Well done.

Thinking about it from a very broad standpoint, Angels and Demons and Red Dragon are the same book. Well, actually, not at all, but what I like about both books remains more or less the same. Big plot twist, good villain/villains, great suspense, and over-hyped author. If you were to only pick one of the two, however, I’d go with Angels and Demons. Red Dragon is pretty good, but it just doesn’t measure up. Did I waste my time reading it? No. Would I run out and recommend it to everyone I know? See previous answer.


 

I know I say this every time, but I am going to try to be more active here. The simple fact of the matter is, I’m lazy. We all know it by now. I often choose sleep over writing, and that’s kind of a problem. This morning I got up and wrote this at like 10ish when normally I’d still be in bed. If I keep that up, we should be like this.

I started reading The Fault in Our Stars, and the thing is so damn full of teenage angst after one chapter that I think I’m about done with it. I think I’m going to read this book I was assigned to read for college called Ties That Bind, but honestly the book does not seem appealing at all, so I’ll probably end up putting it off for something better. We shall see.

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