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First of 50 Books

I decided to take on the 50bookchallenge in celebration of a certain milestone (Stephen and) I reach this year: 50 books for 50 years. Symmetry is a good thing.

Title: Hannibal Rising (link contains spoilers)
Author: Thomas Harris
Length: 323 pags
Personal Rating: 4 (on a scale of 5 being best)

I finished this book in more or less one sitting today. It was a quick read, and I definitely enjoyed it.

I've read all of the Lecter novels with varying degrees of enjoyment. (Yes to The Silence of the Lambs, OK to Red Dragon, and please-oh-heavens-no to Hannibal.) However, I'm always willing to give Harris and his cannibal a try, although I was frankly a bit leery of picking up this newest Lecter entry. I was pleasantly surprised that it is a fast-paced, engaging story of Lecter's early years and what events transpired to turn him into the man he became.

The parts of the story relating to Hannibal's earliest years were really well detailed without being boringly descriptive. Harris gives his character an exceptionally interesting backstory, complete with noble heritage, aching loss, and utter deprivation. As Hannibal grows and looks to exact revenge on those who took his youth from him, we get a rather chilling picture of how transforming events can be. Harris, at least as far as Hannibal is concerned, falls on the side of Nuture in the age-old debate.

There wasn't much suspense throughout; I knew Hannibal was going to succeed in his role of avenging angel (else there wouldn't be much point to the story!). Even so, I kept waiting for the one mystery of the narrative to be resolved, and when it hit, I admit to being rather surprised (and a little squicked) although in hindsight, what else would have made sense?

Will I see the movie? Probably not. There are a lot of situations that have real gore potential. Reading about it one thing; seeing it onscreen is another.



( 2 thoughts — Share a thought )
Feb. 21st, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
Ok, obviously I'm stalking your journal. I saw the 50books tag and couldn't resist.

I think you might be pleasantly surprised with the gore factor of the movie. It was a lot less gory than "Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal," for sure. The scenes in the film that rightly do have an amazing amount of potential for squicky-ness are filmed in mostly cut away shots. It was less squicky than the book, I thought. A pretty good film, overall. Like you said, though, no real suspense (which is how the film was built up, I think). It's hard to create a sense of suspense in a prequel, which is why so many of them ultimately aren't box office triumphs. And there were obviously some details I would have liked to have seen from the novel, but such is cinema.

As a final note, I actually enjoyed Hannibal until the last five pages or so. But the movie? Horrible translation of the book. Verger's sister was one of my favorite characters!
Feb. 22nd, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
You must be impressed that I've read one whole book so far this year!

Actually, I've read a few more; I figured I'd just hold out posting and put up a few at a time.

That's good to hear that the gore factor was kept down. I really hate gore just for its own sake!

Nah, I hated the pigs in Hannibal and the end. I wanted to finish it, but it really did take me a while. And I have never and will never see the movie. *blech*
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