Review- Trigger Warning

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

225228084/5 stars

This is a collection of Gaiman’s recent short stories, which he calls “short fictions and disturbances”. This epithet matches well with the content of some of these stories. Trigger Warning contains over 20 short pieces of writing, ranging from poems to short fairy tales.

There are simply too many pieces to write a synopsis of each one. In addition, the stories are not related in any way (character wise or even genre wise). Each of these stories is it’s own world, a unique way of putting together a collection of fictions. Before this, I had never read a book of short stories that didn’t have anything in common. That being said, most of the stories were a bit disturbing. I would even categorize a few of them as “horror”; but most of them fall into the category of “fantasy” or “science fiction”.  For Doctor Who fans– Gaiman even includes a short story about the Doctor with a bow tie and Amy Pond.

Neil Gaiman certainly has a way of imagining other worlds and dimensions filled with made-up creatures and complex characters. Admittedly, I did get bored with a few of his stories, but most of them kept my attention and were easy to follow. I’m very proud to be the owner of a signed first edition of this book. I went to my local bookstore on it’s release date last month and was one of the first to get a copy!

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Review- Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Pages: 370     Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Neverwhere(1)“What’s it like being dead? It’s very cold, my friend. Very dark, and very cold.”

Richard Mayhew lives a boring life in London, working at a job that doesn’t seem to interest him and engaged to a woman who isn’t right for him. He comes across a girl named Door, bleeding and helpless on the side of the road, and decides to bring her back to his apartment. Through meeting Door, Richard is thrown into London Below, another version of London full of people who “fell through the cracks”. He turns invisible to everyone from his old life, but he meets incredible people living below– Rat-speakers, beast hunters, and bird sellers. Richard and Door embark on a journey to avenge Door’s family and help Richard get back to London Above; a life far less interesting than the one he has below.

This is such a classic Gaiman novel. I’ve come to love Urban Fantasy through reading his novels. If someone were to ask me what urban fantasy is, I’d just hand them this novel in silence. There’s no way to put it in words. People who have read any of Gaiman’s novels will know what I’m talking about.

This book is great. Richard is the perfect protagonist who you kinda hate for being so annoying but end up rooting for him by the end of the novel. Door, too, is a protagonist and a strong female character. I often find books that are centered around a male character and consequently fail to represent any female power. Door is, in fact, very powerful and an important character not just for Richard, but for the novel in general. Yay for prominent female characters!

It was interesting reading the discussion questions at the end of the book/interview with Neil Gaiman. He says that that the novel can be read as a satire and commentary on the lower class and homeless populations living in London today. I definitely didn’t read the book that way, but it’s an interesting point of view. I might go back and skim this novel with this new lens on it!

Review- The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Rating: 5/5 stars

 Pages: 293TheGraveyardBook_Hardcover

“It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

Nobody Owens is a human boy raised by the ghosts of dead souls in a graveyard. He is free to roam around the graveyard as he pleases, learning to fade in and out of vision and able to jump into dreams of the living. He is told to never leave the graveyard, for there is a man named Jack who is on the hunt to kill him. Nobody meets many different types of people in the graveyard—witches, ghouls, and living people walking among the graves. These different beings take him on many adventures both inside and out of the graveyard.

This book read more like a collection of related short stories to me. Although fluid, the chapters could be read individually. Nevertheless, Gaiman’s writing is articulate, fun, and easy to follow for readers of all ages. Nobody is the perfect protagonist for a young reader to relate to and a way for older readers to reflect back upon themselves as children. I really enjoyed joining Nobody through his adventures in discovering the laws of the undead.

I found interesting parallels between this novel and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. At first I was worried that the two would be too similar, but Gaiman takes this novel into a completely different world than The Ocean. (By the way, if you haven’t read The Ocean yet, please go do so right away).

I didn’t really know what urban fantasy was before I read The Graveyard Book, but now it all makes sense. There’s no way I could put the genre into my own words, but this is definitely it. Since I don’t usually read “fantasy” books, I was hesitant to jump into this book. Now I am an avid lover of urban fantasy, a title that I embrace.

Neil Gaiman is fantastic. You probably already knew that. Hell, who doesn’t know that by now? The Graveyard Book is, also, fantastic. I got the book for Christmas and I’m writing this review Christmas night.