Reviews

UR BY STEPHEN KING

Although I’d like to think I take the opportunity to fear all inanimate objects equally, some are far more fearsome than others. In particular, I find dark alleys terrifying. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still do the prance-run down a dark alley to get to my car, that I give a wide berth to all storm drains, or that I shriek if the leaves rustle when I take out the garbage at midnight. Why I take out the garbage at midnight is anyone’s guess.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt said there is nothing to fear but fear itself, he obviously had not read a Stephen King novel – which is inarguably* true, given the historical timeline. One can only assume King takes great pleasure in making inanimate objects truly terrifying – cell phones, cars, hedge animals, balloons, fortune cookies, sink drains, Ouija boards, and my personal favorite, the vending machine. Because nothing says fear like hypersonic soda cans launched at your groin. In UR, he takes on the Kindle.

UR

Wesley Smith is a college professor in Kentucky. He girlfriend recently dumped him and he can’t get past her parting words: “Why can’t you just read off the computer like the rest of us?”. In a rage, she delivered her parting words while throwing Deliverance across the room. I smiled. To spite her, he buys a Kindle. The Kindle opens worlds a book lover can only dreams about. Or have nightmares about. Soon Wesley isn’t sleeping, he can’t concentrate, and maybe, just maybe, he’s losing his mind.

UR is a charming novella that sets out to poke fun at ereaders. It’s the tale of the possibly terrifying consequences of using the Kindle…that can only be read on the Kindle. I empathized with Wesley, I too have been reluctant to embrace electronic books. But I have to admit I love them and I think the author does too. While there are trademark Stephen King-isms strewn throughout the novella (Red Sox, references to other King works), UR takes a distinct turn at the end. Without giving too much away, the story ends on a very pleasant, sweet note and no one dies. Sort of.

If you want a happy King story with no gore, little violence, and a good bit of fun, give UR a try (although, to be fair, the premise is fairly horrifying). It’s fast-paced and can be read in about an hour. I’d highly recommend it. 4/5.

Do you fear certain inanimate objects? I do. Admit it, the garbage disposal is terrifying and hedge animals will never be cute.

Mortadella Pizza

Serve with Mortadella and Mozzarella pizza. “An hour later, when the doorbell rang, they didn’t jump but rather looked around like men from a startled dream. Wesley went downstairs and paid the delivery guy, who had arrived with a loaded pizza from Harry’s and a six-pack of Pepsi.”

*King generally believes the road to hell is paved with adverbs. I’m not afraid to admit, albeit begrudgingly, that I will be rightfully assigned to hell. I expect to see Herman Melville and J. K. Rowling there, along with Dan Brown.

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  • http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    So did you read it on your Kindle?!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Of course.

      I never thought I would, but I love my kindle.

  • http://twitter.com/_Ciska_ Ciska (@_Ciska_)

    This sounds like a fun read. I love King and the atmosphere he can set!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      Is really can be brilliant. Not always, but most of the time.

  • http://btweenthecovers.com/ Heather

    The road to hell is paved with an *overuse* of adverbs, for sure. I’m with King. Your use of adverbs is fine–you don’t overdo it. Haha!

    I hadn’t even heard of this novella yet. Sigh. Sj and I *might* finish our Read All of SK project before we’re 80.

    • http://booksnobbery.wordpress.com sj

      I really enjoyed it. It’s more recent, though, so we won’t be getting there this year. :/

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I’ve recently realized that I use a lot of adverbs in my everyday speech. I’m trying to cut down on it so I don’t always sound so pompous, but it is what it is. :)

      It’s a good one. I try to read on SK a month and I still have doubts about whether I’ll finish. You can throw an SK party when you’re are 80. It can be Insomnia themed, everyone can where lab coats (this will only make sense if you’ve read that one).

      • http://btweenthecovers.com/ Heather

        I haven’t. But now I can’t wait to read it and find out what you’re talking about. Hahaha!

        • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

          It’s one of his slower ones, but I still liked it.

          I know I’ve said that I chose my career based on a Stephen King novel, but Insomnia is the book in particular that did it. One of the character’s has her MLS and I thought that sounded like a good idea.

  • http://consumedbyink.wordpress.com Naomi

    Sometimes my kids lose things down the holes in the floor where the heat vent covers are supposed to be (a couple of ours are still without covers), and I have to go fishing for whatever it is that they lost (usually a bouncy ball). I imagine that while my hand is down there feeling around for the object, it’s going to touch something truly horrifying instead, or something else is going to touch me!

    This book sounds scary and fun at the same time!

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      It is a lot of fun.

      Aside from the usual things like flying and what not, I don’t think I’m scared of too much. Until I try and walk by a closet door that’s only open an inch and feel my head try to stand on end. That I realize I’m practically one big ball of fear.

  • http://cheapthrillsbookblog.wordpress.com Charleen

    This sounds interesting, but I’ll probably never read it since I’ll probably never have a Kindle. But we’ll see.

    Sometimes when I feel like I’m being overly adverb-y (adverbose?) I’ll go through and decide which ones really aren’t necessary… and there usually are a couple. But adverbs exist for a reason, and I don’t intend to stop using them any time soon.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      It is available on audiobook now. So there’s always that way. My love for my kindle surprises even me. I never thought I’d care for it, but I got it for my birthday and really enjoyed it.

      I truly love a good adverb.

  • http://wordsforworms.wordpress.com Words for Worms

    Yay, it sounds like a Stephen King safe for me to read! (PS, I’m digging the new look!)

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      It is a safe Katie read, unless you have a pink Kindle.

      And thanks. It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there. It’s a little stark at the moment, but I like it.

  • http://thewellreadredhead.com Kelly

    I saw this King title but never read the description until I read your review…HOW have I not read this yet??

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      You’ve been missing out. It’s short and fun.

  • http://booksnobbery.wordpress.com sj

    True story: This was one of the first ebooks I ever bought. Because that’s the only way it was available at the time (it’s an audiobook now, I am pretty sure).

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      It is on audiobook now, though I read instead of listened.

      When it first came out I was mad. I assumed I would never get an ereader, so I would never have the opportunity to read it. I finally caved in 2013 and I’ve liked it.

  • http://christinarosendahl.wordpress.com christinasr

    Haven’t read this one but I definitely will. It sounds fun – and like it could be really scary if you read it on a kindle (which I if course intend to do. Living life dangerously!)

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I think he had a lot of fun writing this one. If you like the Dark Tower series, there are quite a few references.

      • http://christinarosendahl.wordpress.com christinasr

        Then I think I’ll wait a bit. I’m working my way through the Dark Tower series so I think I’ll wait until I’m done with it then.

  • http://froodianpseudoanalysis.wordpress.com DrFrood

    By this point I think we can all agree that the road to Hell has a surplus of paving, and perhaps some of those good intentions and adverbs should be redirected to motorways, freeways, autobahns and bypasses.

    I was always a little surprised that King didn’t write a story about an audiobook that causes listeners to become zombies or something horrific, or something like in Needful Things (I think) where they get what their hearts desire and I forget the rest because it’s been years but it’s not very nice… that was only available on audiobook.

    Seems like the sort of thing he’d be up for.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      I’m not sure I agree. But assuming the road to hell actually is paved with good intentions and adverbs, I think it sounds like a really nice place – so you might as well thoroughly spread it around. Elmore Leonard didn’t like adverbs either.

      Needful Things. Satire, sort of. You get your heart’s desire in exchange for performing a favor. He’s already done cell phones that turn people into zombies, a spaceship that turns people into aliens, a car that kills people, a car that eats people, paintings that transport people into alternate realities, and paintings that predict the future, etc. – audiobooks wouldn’t surprise me at this point.

      Although my favorite audiobook is narrated by King (he also wrote it)… He has a nice voice once you get used to it and he doesn’t screw up the accent. I’m glad I’m not a zombie. And that I know the proper pronunciation of ayuh.

  • http://twitter.com/estellasrevenge Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    Haha! I admit, I had my doubts about this one when I started reading your review, but now I’m intrigued.

    • http://www.fourthstreetreview.com Rory

      It’s neither his best, nor his worst. It’s worth a read and, like I said, it has a rare (truly) happy ending.

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