When I finished the last page, I wanted to flip back to the beginning and read it over again knowing how it ended. Lots of twists and turns in the ploWhen I finished the last page, I wanted to flip back to the beginning and read it over again knowing how it ended. Lots of twists and turns in the plot, and the author did a nice job of wrapping up all the little loose ends, which I always appreciate. Just about every review I read of this book called it "Harry Potter for grownups" which is reasonable, but makes it sound like a cheap knock off. I think it's just a good story in its own right, and Lev Grossman gives plenty of kudos to other authors that clearly influenced him, J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis being the most noticeable. Quentin, the young hero, is a disillusioned and brilliant high school senior trying to figure out what comes next, when he is recruited by a college for magicians and discovers that he's one of the lucky few humans who can do magic. Since this is more like actual college than Hogwarts there's lots of drinking, drugs, sex, and smart young adults who can't figure out what to do with themselves. I found myself wanting to smack Quentin from time to time, but he was such a realistic character that I didn't mind. I felt like he and his friends reacted just like real teens/twenty-somethings would in their situation. Even when they're having magical adventures they're still fighting and goofing off and partying too much. The combination of the great characters and an engaging adventure story was really satisfying for me....more
I really loved this. A friend of mine spoke so highly of this one that when it crossed my desk at work I had to grab it. I ended up loving it as muchI really loved this. A friend of mine spoke so highly of this one that when it crossed my desk at work I had to grab it. I ended up loving it as much as she did, but we both agreed that we didn't really know what to say about it afterward. It's a quick read, but beautifully written. There's forbidden romance, grand old houses in 1970s Yonkers, Shakespeare, a secret attic, a mysterious Aunt and a bit of magic realism. ...more
I hardly ever read short stories, but I'm so glad I made an exception for Stories: All-New Tales. I probably wouldn't have except that I'll try almostI hardly ever read short stories, but I'm so glad I made an exception for Stories: All-New Tales. I probably wouldn't have except that I'll try almost anything with Neil Gaiman's name on the cover. In the introduction Gaiman tells a story about a commenter on his blog who asked him what quote he would choose to put on the wall of a public library children's area. Gaiman, after giving it some thought, chose four words: "...and then what happened?", the words that children ask when you're telling them a story. This is the real joy of fiction, Gaiman says, that feeling of being pulled along by a narrative and wanting to know what happens next. He decided, along with Sarrantonio, to put out a call for stories that would keep the reader asking that question. This collection is the result.
As is the case with any anthology there were some stories I enjoyed more than others, but there wasn't even one that I really disliked. My favorite was "The Therapist" by Jeffery Deaver. Other stories I especially liked were "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" by Elizabeth Hand (who wrote Illyria), Gaiman's "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains", "The Stars are Falling" by Joe R. Lansdale, and "Wildfire in Manhattan" by Joanne Harris... but really I could go on and on because I loved most of them. Just read the whole book. ...more