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Pandaemonium door Christopher Brookmyre
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Pandaemonium (editie 2010)

door Christopher Brookmyre

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3411559,791 (3.92)27
The senior pupils of St Peter's High School are on retreat to a secluded outdoor activity centre, coming to terms with the murder of a fellow pupil through the means you would expect: counselling, contemplation, candid discussion and even prayer - not to mention booze, drugs, clandestine liaisons and as much partying as they can get away with. Not so far away, the commanders of a top-secret military experiment, long-since spiralled out of control, fear they may have literally unleashed the forces of Hell. Two very different worlds are on a collision course, and will clash in an earthly battle between science and the supernatural, philosophy and faith, civilisation and savagery. The bookies are offering evens.… (meer)
Lid:libgirl69
Titel:Pandaemonium
Auteurs:Christopher Brookmyre
Info:Abacus (2010), Paperback, 400 pages
Verzamelingen:Gelezen, maar niet in bezit
Waardering:***
Trefwoorden:Geen

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Pandaemonium door Christopher Brookmyre

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1-5 van 15 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
2.5 stars really. It was OK, I'm just in a bunged up and headachey mood so it's getting rounded down.
This one fell a little flat for me, it covered some of the same sort of ground as Charles Stross's Laundry novels, but did so less well in my opinion. Whether it was intentional or not, the cheesy pairing up of characters as the monster breathes down their necks as per cheesy horror movies didn't work for me... ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
I've been contemplating what to say about this. Normally CB's books have a pattern: comically inept criminals, unlikely heroes, Scottish theme (either based in Scotland or characters are Scottish), but despite that, they do always feel different. A lot of these are present here, but this time the genre is 'Gothic Horror' rather than 'Crime'.... and I'm not sure that it works for me. It certainly isn't as good as his usual stuff, but having said that I did still enjoy it.

So the blurb on the jacket says:

" A gothic horror story for the twenty-first century...

The senior pupils of St Peter's High School are on retreat to a secluded outdoor activity centre, coming to terms with the murder of a fellow pupil through the means you would

expect: counselling, contemplation, candid discussion and even prayer - not to mention booze, drugs, clandestine liaisons and as much partying as they can get away with.

Not so far away, the commanders of a top-secret military experiment, long-since spiralled out of control, fear they may have literally unleashed the forces of Hell.

Two very different worlds are on a collision course, and will clash in an earthly battle between science and the supernatural, philosophy and faith, civilisation and savagery.

The bookies are offering evens. "

Personally, I felt the book took too long to get going - lots of scene setting, lots of exploration of the St Peter's characters & back story. In fact if he'd just stuck to that - the teens & teachers & the way they explored & came to terms with their feelings - it might even have been a better book. But it was supposed to be gothic horror & it didn't kick in til over halfway through the book. When it did, it was a rollercoaster to the end. Maybe a bit predictable, but this isn't a genre I normally bother with, so that was fine by me.

As always, the characters were well observed & drawn & the kids were fabulous. So funny. Was saddened with the ending. Would have liked to carry on a little further & seen what happened next. Having said that, CB has a habit of throwing old characters into new books, so maybe we'll meet some of them again & find out whether they followed up on the new relationships they forged.

The only other thing that I found a little annoying was the tub thumping anti-religion. I happen to agree with most of what he's getting at, but felt this time he forced it down our throats a little too much. We get it! Don't keep on!

Lastly, there was one para that I really liked:

"The sun that "gave birth" to us died billions of years ago in a supernova, which created the higher elements that make up our solar system. And that means that every one of us here is literally made of stardust."

Still like CB, will continue to await his next offering eagerly, but hopefully this is his one & only attempt at Gothic Horror.
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Brookmyre abandons the black humoured crime thriller for re-enacting Doom with a bunch of schoolkids. There’s little new in his satirical target or the often extreme gruesomeness, nevertheless Brookmyre’s usual energy and sick humour means it’s a lot of fun. ( )
  JonArnold | Mar 4, 2014 |
Pretty funny, all and all. The dialogue was great, but I thought the plot was just a little too strained. I'd read more Brookmyre, though.
  sanrak | May 8, 2013 |
I have been reading pretty solidly for 39 years and by now I have a fairly good idea of the kinds of books I like and the kinds of ones I don't. But not wanting to be entirely predictable I occasionally try something that I think will not be my sort of thing. Just in case. Usually this works out as expected. For example I thought [b:Eat, Pray, Love|19501|Eat, Pray, Love|Elizabeth Gilbert|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1294023455s/19501.jpg|3352398] would be utter pants and it was. But there was a slim chance that it might not have been so I gave it a go. For another example I didn't really expect to like a horror story in which most of the plot is driven by teenagers (horror being something I grew out of when I was about 20) (around the time I last had a lot to do with teenagers en masse). But in this instance the slim chance was in my favour. I loved Pandaemonium.

The story is a simple one. The senior students of St Peter's Catholic High School are taken on retreat to a remote spot in the Scottish highlands because one of their classmates stabbed another one of their classmates to death and someone in authority thinks that a bit of hiking is just the thing to get them all over their ordeal. Unfortunately their camp site is next door to a mysterious Ministry of Defence facility at which experimentation goes awry in a major way and the gates of somewhere closely resembling Hell are opened to unleash creatures intent on killing all humans they encounter. The kids therefore have to stop their dancing and snogging and fight for their lives with not much more than their wits and a rolled up tea towel.

A little bit more than half of the story takes place before the fighting of monsters begins which should be a point against the book but Brookmyre takes care to paint such vivid and varied portraits of the children, their teachers and even some of the military types that by the time the monster-fighting started I was heavily invested in caring about the survival of the characters. Their secrets, heartaches, crushes and worries are so credibly human that you can't help but fall in love with them collectively and hope they'll triumph over the daemons which you know are just around the corner.

And while on a surface level the language and the violence (I'll be honest, neither are for the faint-hearted) might lead some to think the book is just cursing and gore there is another level to it. There is the gently laid out moral tale that you wish all teenagers could be made to understand without having to go through the trauma of seeing their friends mutilated beyond recognition. And then there is the deep and very thoughtful questioning of both the trappings of organised religion and the very nature of faith itself. This theme is also not for the faint-hearted though if like me you spent 12 unhappy years in a Catholic girls' school you just might identify with one of the students and her musings...

"Most of the time Caitlin can just zone out during mass, let her mind drift so that the tedium passes quicker but occasionally she can't help but pay attention and that's when the sheer inanity of it really grates on her cognitive faculties...We believe in one God, the father the almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen, a.k.a the intelligent designer. The Vatican had latterly decided it could accommodate evolution within its view of creation, largely because it could no longer accommodate the embarrassment it was feeling by continuing to do otherwise, but it was adamant that acceptance of evolution didn't preclude God from having started it. Yes, God set in motion this astronomically complex process but knew all along despite the infinitely branching possibilities created by an incalculable multiplicity of random factors that the end product would be mankind. Begging the question if that was always the plan why did he take the long way round instead of creating mankind right off the bat?...Having waited 9 billion years for earth to form then having held off for another 4 and a half billion for his chosen species to fully evolve he blows his wad early by sending down his Messiah during the Bronze Age? If he wanted us to believe in him and to live by his word couldn't he have hung on another infinitesimal couple of millennia and sent his miracle working super hero ambassador in the age of broadcast media and other verifiable means of record instead of staking 13 and a half billion years work on the reliability of a few goat herders in an insignificant backwater of a primitive civilization?"

Which of course brings us to the writing itself. It is bitingly clever, funny and quick and you sense that every individual word has been carefully considered before being slotted into exactly the right place. How else would a description of teenagers as "sophomoric mind clones pathetically enslaved by the tyranny of cool" come about?

Pandaemonium is undoubtedly not for everyone. If you don't like rude language, horror-style violence or the questioning of religious dogma then I'd suggest you stay away. But if you can live with those things and enjoy great writing and human characters with all their foibles then give it a go. Even if it doesn't sound like your kind of thing there's a slim chance you'll love it and sometimes taking a risk pays off.

What about the audio book?

Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. Though (confession time) I might be a little biased. It is narrated by a Scottish bloke (Kenny Blyth) and I adore the Scottish accent. Seriously. A Scottish lad could read me the phone book and I would swoon. Heck I'd swoon even if it was a Scottish lassie. But still, it's a delight to listen to. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
1-5 van 15 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
But the youngsters are great even before they set about their enemies. The boys start off with a time-honoured adolescent game. "Wid'ye?" they ask each other, pointing at each girl in their group in turn and listing her pros and cons. Most settle that they "wid". Wid'ye do Christopher Brookmyre's Pandaemonium? Aye. It's not God's gift. But you probably wid.
toegevoegd door riverwillow | bewerkScotland on Sunday, David Leask (Aug 9, 2009)
 
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The senior pupils of St Peter's High School are on retreat to a secluded outdoor activity centre, coming to terms with the murder of a fellow pupil through the means you would expect: counselling, contemplation, candid discussion and even prayer - not to mention booze, drugs, clandestine liaisons and as much partying as they can get away with. Not so far away, the commanders of a top-secret military experiment, long-since spiralled out of control, fear they may have literally unleashed the forces of Hell. Two very different worlds are on a collision course, and will clash in an earthly battle between science and the supernatural, philosophy and faith, civilisation and savagery. The bookies are offering evens.

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