I’ve been hearing fantastic things about Neil Gaiman’s books since I started blogging, so I’m excited to have finally gotten to reading some of his books and to have gotten to hear him speak. I thought it would be nice to open with a brief review of his talk since it made me want to read and listen to more of his books, even more so than the books of his which I’ve read. Looking at a list of Gaiman’s published works and hearing him speak solidified my impression that he is an author who writes at least as eclectically as I read. His talk was very thought-provoking and often hilarious and I felt as though every word was chosen with care. His dynamic readings convinced me that I should read some his books as audiobooks and his mastery of language convinced me that I should read more of his books in general. If you get a chance to see him talk, I’d highly recommend it
I read this with my book club, so for my review, I’ll share some of our observations. Many of us, myself included, enjoyed the references to popular mythology, although some people didn’t notice all of them. I think we all generally felt that the book read like a bunch of short stories which had been pasted together but were a bit disjointed and the ending was quite abrupt. On the other hand, we all loved the writing and drawings, both of which I thought worked well together to capture the emotion of different scenes. Like in Gaiman’s talk, I felt as though every word was carefully chosen. I was struck by the creepiness of these scenes he described, but even that was overshadowed by the beauty of the writing. This was a very cool, unique middle grade book.
The writing in this book was also really enjoyable, writing that made me want to read it out loud. I did eventually notice that the vocabulary used in this book was less exciting than I expected, lacking in beautiful words despite the beautiful sentences. The plot of the book reminded me of a thriller, with lots of action and lots of sex. I was a bit disappointed by how much this book resembled the archetypal thriller, since I’ve not been in the mood for thrillers lately. However, the writing was far above average, as was the creativity of the plot. The integration of mythology into a book that otherwise would fit neatly into the thriller genre was an exciting twist. And the plot twists at the end caught me completely off guard in the best of ways. Overall, I think this was probably Gaiman’s version of a thriller; I think I liked it far better than I would have a more stereotypical book in that genre; and I think there are probably other books of Gaiman’s that I would be blown away by. I’ll definitely be looking to read more of his work.