Tag Archives: Neil Gaiman

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman


Good Omens

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A bit of fun at the end of the world. A collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett sees the antichrist being born into the world, and through an all mighty cock up gets adopted by the wrong family. Intended to be the son of an influential American diplomat, he instead grows up in the village of Tadfield Oxfordshire, England. No one saw that coming, not the Angel Aziraphale, not the Demon Crowley, only a long dead witch by the name of Agnes Nutter who wrote a book of Nice and Accurate Prophecies, which didn’t sell precisely because it got things right.
Pursued by heaven and hell, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the incompetent Witchfinder Army; Aziraphale and Crowley work together to stop, or indeed start the end of the world.

Initially a riveting read, it got very “middle” two-thirds of the way through. When all the disparate characters were each finding their way to the same location, it was no less funny, but a little repetitive. However that’s a small niggles in an otherwise enjoyable read. The irreverent yet satirical humour of Terry Pratchett is offset by the historical fantasy elements of Neil Gaiman.

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman


Norse MythologyNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Neil Gaiman re-tells the old myths and legends from Norway/Scandinavia.
Odin All-Father is wise, but vengeful. Thor is headstrong and cocky.

Loki Lies. All. The. Time.
And yes, at one point does turn himself into a mare to distract another horse – and gives birth to am eight-legged foal! And has other bizarre children who may be destined to bring about the end of the world.. Ragnarok.

We learn about Asgard, and Midgard, and the world tree Yggdrasil. We learn how Thor gets his hammer Mjollnir, and how other gods gain the items which make them unique.

Neil Gaiman states in the beginning, that the occasional detail in his re-tellings are either his own additions, or an amalgamation of several shorter tales into one. Therefore, not the text-book resource for if you were to study mythology. It does however, give you a great and easy to read insight into the topics and themes of Norse Mythology; the characters of all the players, and ultimately the culture of the Ancient Norse peoples.

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How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman


How the Marquis Got His Coat Back
How the Marquis Got His Coat Back by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short novella. Story wise, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Minor spoilers in the review below. You do need to have read Neverwhere before reading this follow on, as it happens concurrent to the events in that book.

The Marquis, during the plot of Neverwhere, is relieved of his precious coat. Croup and Vandemar essentially kill our Marquis, and dispose of his body. Luckily, the Marquis had a back up plan, and he can therefore continue in his quest and get his coat back! And also, eventually return to his responsibilities in the main story of Neverwhere.

A very enjoyable reminder of the world of London Below, the sewer people, the rat people, and all of the other varied inhabitants of that other world.

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Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman


Neverwhere
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Neil Gaiman writes as though he’s telling a child’s fairy tale. No matter how grotesque or violent the events depicted within the story are, the language used seems to make it seem (almost) OK. I suppose actually the original old fairy tales were actually quite nasty before Disney started making sanitised versions!

Richard Mayhew stops to help an injured girl on the street of London, but she’s not from London Above, she’s from London Below. When you’ve been exposed to London Below, the people from Above don’t even notice you, let alone recognise you; you’ve slipped through the cracks, and fall down into the underside of the city. A place where you might actually meet the Earl of Earl’s Court, the Blackfriars, and maybe even the Angel Islington. The girl, Door, is on the run from a variety of unsavoury characters, in particular Mr Croup and Mr Vandermar, the assassins who murdered her family. But why? And who is their employer? Richard tags along with Door, the Marquis de Carabas, and a whole host of colourful characters, in the hope that he can find a way to get back to his old life.

Having previously heard the BBC Radio 4 production of this book, I’ve wanted to properly read this for ages. The radio play did a really good job adapting this book, and both the written and audio versions work really well. Very little was left out of the radio adaptation, and yet the book still is full of detail that can only be hinted at through other formats. It’s a gripping narrative, and showcases all of London, at it’s best and worst. One of Neil Gaiman’s best (and they’re all good!).

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Stardust by Neil Gaiman


Stardust
Stardust by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Neil Gaiman has a knack for writing an adult narrative that feels like a children’s story.

Tristran Thorn thinks he knows who he is.  A resident of Wall, a town on the boundary of the human world and Faerie, Tristran has grown up with no grand ambitions. He’s a teenager who falls in love with a girl and promises to go on an epic quest to win her over – to retrieve a fallen star. Unlike a fairy tale, the obvious route to redemption is not the road that is followed. But like the children’s version, there is a life lesson to be learned.

The fallen star is not a thing, but a woman, and several individuals want her for their own reasons. To steal her power and youth, to retrieve the amulet she holds, or just to prove a point. Each will have to fight, steal, outsmart, and/or kill to reach their goal.

Some incidents are described in great detail, whereas others are skimmed over without any embellishment – those being the happier times during the journey. I suppose there’s less drama and conflict to be had during moments of happiness! The land of Faerie sounds like a fun place to visit, despite the backstabbing and throat-slitting. Our world can only be made more interesting by the inclusion of magic and mystery.

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