Hannibal Rising

High expectation often bring you down!!

That sentence summarizes all what I have to say on Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris. When I received this kindly gift from my lovely student, Wulan, I was so happy because I can read another book by the same author that wrote one of the greatest psychological thriller books, Silence of The Lambs. Reading the first 30 pages of this book bored me to death, so I put it down and decided to read it later.

3 months after my 1st read, I picked it up again and decided to finish it once and form all. And the more I read it, the more I harder it gets for me. I try so hard to finish it. Why bother? You might say that!! Yeah why bother? I always put down books that I don’t enjoy. But this one is different, I am determined to read it through because I have a challenge to fill. My student Challenge me to finish books just based on the cover she had chosen…and I am NOT going to fail this challenge, tho I cheat a little 😉

Finishing this book means that I had fulfilled 3 challenges at once. Wulan’s challenge; Thriller and Suspense Reading  Challenge of 2010; and Read The Book, See The Movie Challenge.

Hannibal Rising tells the story of how Hannibal Lecter became a monster. He spent his childhood during the peak of World War II. He and Mischa, his sister, was caught by looters. In the middle of nowhere, they couldn’t get anything to eat…so the looters decided to eat one of them. Their choice was to eat Mischa. Hannibal couldn’t remember anything that happened that day.

He was, then, adopted by his Uncle, Robert Lecter. He lived with him and his wife, Lady Murasaki. He still lived with her even after his uncle was murdered. Hannibal experienced his first kill by killing the man who had insulted Lady Murasaki and killed his uncle. After escaping the police due to lack of evidence, Hannibal went to medical school and kept meeting his beautiful aunt. His feeling toward Lady Murasaki had turned into love toward a woman.

Hannibal learnt how to remember what had happened in that shack. He chased down everyone who had eaten Mischa. Lady Murasaki tried to change Hannibal and go to Japan with her. But Hannibal refused her because he had promised to Mischa.

Reading my own summary of the book sounds like an interesting book, but…I didn’t like Harris’ style of writing. It felt so different compare to his style in Silence of The Lamb. I felt like reading The Gunslinger by Stephen King, the kind of book that tried so hard to be artistic in literature but it had failed its attempt. His writing style couldn’t make my imagination rise…I was lost in all those pages, I was reading a book that didn’t reach into my mind, it remained as a collection of words rather than a series of scenes.

My rating or this book is 1 star (I didn’t like it)

I search the movie because of 2 things, one is to fulfill my challenge and the other is because I had an experience that a bad book sometimes can be a good movie.

The Movie

The movie is directed by Pete Webber with Gaspard Ulliel as Hannibal and Gong Li as Lady Murasaki.

They alter the story a bit, but it doesn’t give big effect to the story, in truth, I rather like the alteration than the original. The alterations are how Hannibal finds Lady Murasaki and what happens in the end, after Hannibal kills the last man.

I like the one who becomes Hannibal…he has this flat face. Ass or Gong Li, I think she is not as grace as the way Harris pictures Lady Murasaki. I wish they use real Japanese rather than Chinese.

Just like Perfume, I didn’t like the book but enjoy the movie. This is the second time I have experience bad book with quite good movie. I’m not gonna say it was a great movie but at least I enjoy the movie more than the book.


  1. I heard pretty bad things about this book, so I didn’t bother. (My favorite Harris-based movie remains “Manhunter”, with “Silence of the Lambs” a close second.)

    1. I haven’t heard of Manhunter before, I’ll try to search it later…either the book or the movie…and if it is that good, it might lift my dissapointment over this book

  2. I enjoyed all the books about Lecter but this one I agree, it is very hard to read and actually not that good. Good luck and hats off to you for sticking with your challenge! You will do it!

    1. Thx Kendall. If not because of those challenges, I probably had dropped the book after reading 30pages.

      It makes me wonder why Harris changes his writing style.

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