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review 2018-07-19 09:29
3/5: "The Ocean at the end of the Lane", Neil Gaiman
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman

A man sits beside a pond and remembers when he was seven years old and the pond was an ocean. And his neighbours seemed to be immortal…

This is my second exploration of Gaiman, after Coraline and Other Stories. I was undecided then whether I’d get into Gaiman or whether he’d end up as take-him-or-leave-him writer after my first attempt.

After this, I’m coming down on the or-leave-him side.

There’s nothing wrong here, with Gaiman’s writing or his characters. The story moved along at a nice enough pace, the imagery was adept and skilful. I liked the unreliable nature of the un-named narrator, and the theme of how liquid our young memories are. And I've always liked young narrators in stories, the easy acceptance of the strange things going on around them.

But there was nothing here that made me want to read more Gaiman. None of my internal dials went to eleven. I didn’t hate it; I didn’t love it. It was merely a story, and nothing that would make me want to zero in on his work.

Gaiman for me is the equivalent of mashed potatoes: Bland, easily digested, quickly forgotten, unmemorable.

Having said that, if I read anything more of his, I'll stick to his short stories. I suspect he might be a slowly acquired taste, and that I’ll get used to him.

One day, I might be back.

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review 2018-07-17 00:45
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is one of those books that are tricky to review. I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like. I don't think there was anything present that I didn't like per se, it was more of what was lacking. I just didn't feel that burning in my chest, that rushing in my brain that I usually get when I read good fantasy books, that burning that makes me want to keep reading. This one just kind of puttered along and I dutifully followed, hoping for the best. 

There were so many interesting elements in the story (nightgaunts, a boy called Nobody, a murder mystery, a witch's ghost, and a graveyard home). So many things that should make this book absolutely fascinating. But for the most part I found it kind of boring. 

Bod felt like a character in a book. He lacked personality and I didn't relate to him at all. The story was very drawn out and ramble-y. Most of the ends tie up fairly neatly by the end, but for the majority of the novel, they just seem like a random chain of stories. Even at the end, it just wasn't satisfying. There was no real moment where everything clicked. It just kind of all fell into a pile on the floor and then the book was over. 

This book was really just missing that spark. Despite being set in a graveyard, despite the pitiable orphan boy who doesn't fully fit in with the living or the dead, despite all of the fascinating ghouls, hellhounds, witches, and other awesome creatures, this book just felt mediocre. 

Very creative, which is why I gave the book 3-stars, but really the story just felt okay. I didn't feel invested in how it ended. I just kind of shrugged when it was over and went on with my day. 
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review 2018-07-15 12:36
Thor and Loki origin stories
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Greek mythology is a rewritten of old stories about Odin, Thor and Loki. It is entertainment enough as some of the stories seems new. It is old and from myths of the old days. 

 

Neil Gaiman is a good storyteller. The only complaint is the stories are a bit disjoined. 

 

Still very readable. Thor didn't have any character development as we get to know him in Marvel comics. the stories themselves are bounded by stories written before this. 

Loki is much less likable as in the Marvel stories. His motivation is more like a sociopath than a witty and canning god. 

 

Like it enough to finish it. 

 

 

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review 2018-07-08 10:19
Unnatural Creatures
Unnatural Creatures - Maria Dahvana Headley,Neil Gaiman

edited by Neil Gaiman

 

This is a collection of mostly excellent stories edited by Neil Gaiman. Naturally the quality of writing is set to a high bar and I enjoyed most of them very much. Except for Gaimans own contribution, they are all previously published somewhere, one as far back as 1909! Many are by known authors, though I'm not familiar with a lot of them.

 

Ironically, the first one I thought was a little slow was Gaiman's own story, which was number 12 and followed by a werewolf story that was a favorite of his, but I couldn't get into it. The theme of the anthology is strange and mythological creatures. Each story has at least one of these unnatural beasties. Or something close to it. The second to last one was a stand-out for an original approach to this theme and very well written.

 

As anthologies go, this was very high quality, but what else could you expect from Neil Gaiman?

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review 2018-06-27 08:25
Good Omens
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett,Neil Gaiman

I haven't always had the best luck with BBC full cast dramatisations, but this one worked brilliantly.

 

A demon and an angel set out to thwart the apocalypse.  Chaos ensures.

 

It's Pratchett, so it's almost guaranteed funny.  I haven't read enough Gaiman to comment on what he brings to the story other than to know it's excellent, whatever it is.  Two masters of fantasy having a bit of fun with Armageddon and a small but pointed commentary on the human condition thrown in at the end.  Oh, and a bloopers reel.

 

If that's not enough, the voice actor who does Crowley, the demon, sounds a little bit like Alan Rickman.

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