I adore Neil Gaiman's work, so I jumped at the chance to review this new collection of his nonfiction. I've read bits and pieces of his graduation speI adore Neil Gaiman's work, so I jumped at the chance to review this new collection of his nonfiction. I've read bits and pieces of his graduation speeches and stuff like that and it always makes me stand up and cheer, "Yes! This! This man gets it!" And that should probably tell you where my expectations were.
The collection covers a ridiculous amount of ground. There are the graduation speeches, convention speeches, introductions he's written for books by other authors, articles he's written for magazines, and it goes on and on. The man sure does get around.
And while everything is written with Gaiman's own inimitable style, the book is so big and the territory so varied that there were inevitably sections I just didn't care about. I'm not a big fan of science fiction, so all of that didn't particularly interest me. I do read graphic novels but I'm not widely read in this area, so I was a little lost in that part. I was mildly interested in looking up some of the authors Gaiman raved about, but I never actually wrote any names down and now I've given the book away so I don't think I'll actually find any of them.
Even the parts that I was interested in, such as the fantasy and his articles and speeches about creativity and making art, got a bit repetitive for me when assembled like this. I do appreciate that Bradbury was a phenomenal author, and I appreciate that he was a big influence on Gaiman's work. But two or three introductions/essays in a row about him left my mind wandering, even though they did cover slightly different ground.
Still, Gaiman is such a fabulous, curious writer in his own right and so knowledgeable about so many things that I will always recommend reading any of his work, including this collection. Even though I didn't love it, I appreciated the glimpse inside his own passions and beliefs and thoughts.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review....more
I needed these Lunar short stories to get some closure after the emotional turmoil of Winter. (See my review. I was so angry at Levana that I almost gI needed these Lunar short stories to get some closure after the emotional turmoil of Winter. (See my review. I was so angry at Levana that I almost gave up on the book. It was that torturous). When I realized that this book was happening, I jumped on it as soon as I possibly could at the library. Most of the stories are prequels to Cinder, but there is one that's simply set in the same world, and another that's a true sequel to the series.
"The Keeper" details how Michelle Benoit came to have care of both her granddaughter, Scarlet, and a young, comatose Cinder. I have always wished that we'd gotten to see more of Michelle in the actual series, so this story was a nice addition.
"Glitches" describes Cinder's trip to the Eastern Commonwealth with Garin and her reception in his household. I've read this story somewhere before. I liked reading about a young Cinder but I can't say that I felt the need to listen to it again.
"The Queen's Army" is about Wolf being torn from his loving family and transformed into an (in)human killing machine. Or not. Wolf's story has always broken my heart a little bit and this only made me feel worse for him.
"Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky"--I wish I could remember what he told us about his past with Kate because this is about his first meeting with her. I know he tells the story in one of the books but the details are long gone from my memory. Still, a young Captain Thorne is every bit as irrepressible as you would expect him to be.
"After Sunshine Passes By" left me incredibly angry at Levana again. A young, sweet, trusting Cress is chosen for a special assignment by Lady Sybil. I was almost in tears at the end.
"The Princess and the Guard" expands on one small story from Winter's life and explains why she chose to stop using her Lunar Gift. I can't make up my mind exactly how I feel about Winter or Jacin, but I did respect Winter more after listening to this story.
"The Little Android" was my second-favorite tale from the collection. None of the main characters show up in this Lunar retelling of "The Little Mermaid" but I appreciated the way that Meyer stayed so very true to the original story.
"The Mechanic" describes Cinder and Kai's first meeting from Kai's point of view. These two are so cute together that I just loved it.
"Something Old, Something New" was my absolute favorite entry. In this sequel, Scarlet and Wolf are getting married and I am finally, finally getting the happily-ever-after that I so desperately needed to read!
I would recommend reading this anthology after reading the other novels in the series, but definitely pick it up if you've enjoyed them. It was a nice way to check in with and say goodbye to characters that I've grown ridiculously attached to....more
In a series of short stories and scenes, Ray Bradbury explores what the initial colonization of Mars might look like. He begins with stories told fromIn a series of short stories and scenes, Ray Bradbury explores what the initial colonization of Mars might look like. He begins with stories told from the Martians' point of view and moves on to that of the settlers from Earth.
I honestly picked this up for a reading challenge, not expecting to enjoy it. I do love fantasy but science fiction isn't really my thing, with only a few exceptions. I read Fahrenheit 451 back in 8th grade and didn't care for it, but there was very little reading that I had to do for school that I did like. Imagine my surprise when I looked forward to picking up this book.
I almost don't want to even call this science fiction. It's set on Mars in the future, sure, but the stories focus more on the people of Earth and their reactions to the situations they find themselves in.
Bradbury got that part so very right.
A story or two didn't ring true but the rest absolutely did. The various outlooks of the people, the colonists and the order in which they arrived, their attitudes to the new planet--all this and more were addressed in this collection.
It was written in third person, which isn't really my favorite style. In this case, it helped me to feel that each character was standing in for more people who thought and reacted the same way he or she did. That probably doesn't even make sense. By keeping the focus out and painting the characters in broad strokes rather than in details, I could imagine anyone as any character, making the themes more universal.
That's really all I have to say. Don't let the fact that this is science fiction put you off. I found it to be more of a generalized, fascinating character study than anything else....more
When I was offered a copy of Neil Gaiman's newest short story collection, Trigger Warning, for review, my first thought was to jump on it. I adore NeiWhen I was offered a copy of Neil Gaiman's newest short story collection, Trigger Warning, for review, my first thought was to jump on it. I adore Neil Gaiman's work. He is one of only about three authors who get their own shelf name on my GoodReads account. And then I remembered that I wasn't particularly happy with The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I know I'm in the minority and I've never even written a review for it, but all I can say is that it was too weird, even for me. I hate feeling honor-bound to review a book that I didn't love so I wavered. Then I decided to go for it. I'm so glad I did!
Overall impression: It started off with a couple of stories that I didn't particularly care for so I was getting worried. I'd read the third story earlier (In George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois's Songs of Love and Death) and enjoyed it, but still, it was a re-read. The fourth story started to catch my attention and by the fifth, I was hooked. There were probably one or two others I didn't care for in the remaining nineteen stories, but the collection overall is fantastic.
And because I find it impossible not to mention what I think of every single story in a collection, here's where I get long-winded.
"Making a Chair"--A poem about--you guessed it--making a chair. I assume Gaiman was pushing through some writer's block with this one. Haven't we all been there? You have a million real things to do but something unimportant proves to be a welcome distraction?
"A Lunar Labyrinth"--Normally short horror stories scare me to death. So much is left unsaid. I can generally read Stephen King novels and sleep like a baby, but hand me one of his short stories and I'll be up all night, jumping at every sound. This story left a bit too much unsaid. I was uneasy but I didn't really understand what was going on so it stopped there. I'd completely forgotten about it until I started looking back through the book to write this review.
"The Thing About Cassandra"--I like the way this story turns completely upside down about halfway through. Even as a re-read it felt surprising.
"Down to a Sunless Sea"--I suspected where this atmospheric creeper was going but I still liked it.
"The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains..."--Probably my favorite in the collection. It has a dark, twisted fairy tale feel to it. Gaiman writes so much that he's practically impossible to categorize. This is written in the style of his that I like best.
"My Last Landlady"--I had no idea where this was going but it got darker and darker. I liked it.
"Adventure Story"--This one was just a lot of fun. The narrator's mom refers to meeting someone unexpectedly in the grocery store as an adventure. But she occasionally hints at some real adventures his dad (and possibly her? I don't remember now) had when they were younger. It made me think about the untold stories that people walk around with every day.
"Orange"--I love the format. It's written as a sort of police report so it unfolds gradually, leaving the reader to piece everything together. It's the story of an ordinary family and the extraordinary things that happen to them when the older sister is--well, that would be telling, wouldn't it? I enjoyed it.
"A Calendar of Tales"--I'll try to restrain myself from reviewing each of these. I read about the idea for this mini collection on Twitter and I was excited to see the end result. It was a bit hit-or-miss for me.
"The Case of Death and Honey"--Sherlock Holmes. I liked it well enough but it dragged on a bit too long and moved through time a bit too much for my taste. I prefer Gaiman's Sherlock tale in Fragile Things.
"The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury"--I enjoyed this while I was reading it but now that a little time has passed, I find that I've, well, forgotten it a bit. Not even trying to be ironic.
"Jerusalem"--Apparently there is a real disorder-y thing where people visit Jerusalem and then find themselves sort of spreading God's Word through the streets. Who knew? Not this girl. Of course this is fodder for a good story in Gaiman's hands.
"Click-Clack the Rattlebag"--Now this is the kind of horror story I like!
"An Invocation of Incuriosity"--I liked the idea but the story felt like the introduction to a novel. I really wanted to know more.
"'And Weep, Like Alexander'"--Fun enough. What if there were an uninventor running around out there, erasing some of our more egregious inventions?
"Nothing O'Clock"--An unsettling Doctor Who story. I've only watched the show a few times because my husband can't stand Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, but this feels like it fits right in that world.
"Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale"--This apparently went along with some artwork on one of Amanda Palmer's albums. It was okay but I would like to see the photo it went with.
"The Return of the Thin White Duke"--This was one of those stories that, in your heart of hearts, you know works best as a story, but you really, really want to know what came before and after. It felt cyclical in a way that I can only compare to Stephen King's Dark Tower series. There's definitely more to it but we'll never know what it is.
"Feminine Endings"--Another creeper. It reminded me a bit of "Stilled Life" by Pat Cadigan, a short story that I think about surprisingly often.
"Observing the Formalities"--A story poem told from Maleficent's point of view. Pretty good.
"The Sleeper and the Spindle"--Another fairy tale. This has a bit of a feminist slant so of course I liked it.
"Witch Work"--Another poem but I can't say that I really understand it.
"In Relig Odhráin"--I took this to be about religion and the inconvenient truths that get buried under dogma. I think this is one of those things that everyone will interpret differently though. I liked it well enough.
"Black Dog"--Shadow from American Gods turns back up. I really need to re-read that someday. This was a solid story that kept me turning the pages....more
Anytime kids gather together in the dark, scary stories are inevitably told. Alvin Schwartz gathered a good selection of the most popular and publisheAnytime kids gather together in the dark, scary stories are inevitably told. Alvin Schwartz gathered a good selection of the most popular and published them in this anthology.
I kind of think this scared me when I was little but I don't actually remember ever checking it out from the library. My theory is that I knew it would scare me so I steered clear. I do remember all my little classmates rushing to check out the one copy we had in our school library though.
Reading this now, the stories aren't particularly scary. The author chose to divide the book into sections, with the first being "Jump" stories, where the teller gets to the climax and gives out a blood-curdling scream to scare the wits out of the listeners. I can see that they would be scary in person but on the page they were actually a little silly. The others were a little more fulfilling if you're looking for a frightening read. There are sections about ghosts and urban legends and even a few songs. (How's this for a coincidence? I read "The Hearse Song" here, "The worms crawl in, The worms crawl out, The worms play pinochle on your snout" and then came across it again in my very next read, Blubber.) It was interesting to me as an older reader to recognize basic elements here that I've come across in other books that were published later. I can't help but wonder if the later books got the idea from this one or if they are all just referencing the same old folktales and legends.
The illustrations by Stephen Gammell are downright creepy and perfect for the book.
Young readers who like a good fright should find what they're looking for in this collection....more
This book's average rating is 4.47 as I write this and I'm rating it 2 stars. Where did I go wrong?
It's been a while siUm, I think I missed something.
This book's average rating is 4.47 as I write this and I'm rating it 2 stars. Where did I go wrong?
It's been a while since I finished so I won't be able to get too specific.
First of all, I didn't particularly care for the writing style. Something about his writing reminded me of H. P. Lovecraft, who I also don't fully appreciate, so that was a negative. I found it to be a little...overwrought at times. I don't think it was the translation because there were many translators throughout the collection and the style was pretty consistent. And then I think Borges is just way too smart for me.
I could see that there was all this philosophical stuff going on in the subtext of his writing, but I didn't care enough to stop and think about it and try to figure out what he was really saying. I was just trying to wrap my head around a world that was created in imagination and then starts to slowly creep into the real world. Or trying to determine which of two characters was the dreamer and which was the dreamed. Or were they the same? And why did this head injury leave this character with a Phenomenon-like memory and intelligence? And what the heck is the point of trying to see if you can perfectly re-write Don Quixote by accident? And if I lived in a never-ending library, would I seriously spend all my time searching for the one book with the answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything (Thanks, Douglas Adams) or would I just sit down with the books I had and leave others to the searching? I think my reaction to this book answers that last question.
I just didn't get it.
Maybe if I had taken everything at face value I would have been happier with the book as a whole. It was just so obvious that there were so many layers of meaning in Borges's writing that I wasn't able to do that.
I'm obviously in the minority so don't let me turn you off. If you're interested, go ahead and give it a try. I'd like someone to explain what I missed....more
I haven't read that much Richard Matheson, just one short story collection containing I am Legend, but I enjoyed it immensely. I don't remember whereI haven't read that much Richard Matheson, just one short story collection containing I am Legend, but I enjoyed it immensely. I don't remember where I came across this collection, but when I saw the combination of Richard Matheson, Joe Hill, and Stephen King, I added it to my wishlist. Like any anthology, this was a mixed bag, but pretty strong overall.
"Throttle" by Joe Hill and Stephen King--I found this, not surprisingly, to be the strongest story in the collection. It was an edge-of-your-seat tale of a rogue trucker vs. a motorcycle gang with a nice twist at the end. 4.5 stars
"Recalled" by F. Paul Wilson--This is a sequel to Matheson's story, "The Distributor," which I haven't read. I didn't have any trouble following it or enjoying it. I imagine readers of the source material will find it very satisfying. 4 stars
“I Am Legend, Too” by Mick Garris—This one’s a prequel, set just as the outbreak begins. The author imagines what Neville’s envious neighbor’s last day was like. 3 stars
“Two Shots from Fly’s Photo Gallery” by John Shirley—Loosely based on “Somewhere in Time,” this story is about a man time traveling back to the shootout at the OK Corral in an effort to save his wife in the present day, with results that are somewhat predictable. The actual ending was a surprise to me though. 3 stars
“The Diary of Louise Carey” by Thomas F. Monteleone—Told from the point of view of the wife of The Shrinking Man, this entry was kind of creepy and disturbing. 3 stars
“She Screech Like Me” by Michael A. Arnzen—This story was a sequel to “Born of Man and Woman,” which I haven’t read. I liked it but I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I had known the back story. 3 stars, probably just because of my ignorance.
“Everything of Beauty Taken from You in This Life Remains Forever” by Gary A. Braunbeck—I liked this follow-up to “Button, Button.” There’s a transition toward the end that felt a bit awkward but it led to a satisfying twist. 3.5 stars
“The Case of Peggy Ann Lister” by John Maclay—Someone is Bleeding is updated in this sequel. While femme fatale crime fiction isn’t really my thing, this story was well-written. 4 stars
“Zachry Revisited” by William F. Nolan—I haven’t read “The Children of Noah,” the story that precedes this one, but I didn’t feel I needed to. It was horrifying in a very Greek tragedy kind of way. 4 stars
“Comeback” by Ed Gorman—Inspired by “The Finishing Touches,” this tale of a modern rocker and the friends he left behind in order to jump start his career is a bit disturbing because it’s utterly believable. 4 stars
“An Island unto Himself” by Barry Hoffman is described as “A Variation on ‘Disappearing Act.’” It started off strong and then fizzled out at the end for me. I was left feeling like I’d missed something. 3 stars
“Venturi” by Richard Christian Matheson—Matheson’s son wrote this story, inspired by “Legion of Plotters.” I kind of wanted more context but that honestly would have ruined the effect. It was a great story that made me feel like I was losing my mind right along with the main character. 4 stars
“Quarry” by Joe R. Lansdale—I have read “Prey,” the story on which this one is based. It freaked me right out. This one did too. 4.5 stars
“Return to Hell House” by Nancy A. Collins--Hell House, I think, would be a bit intense for me. I like to read horror but I have to choose carefully. I can’t read about demons at all. Horror movies are almost all a bad idea. I’ll be up all night, terrified. “Return to Hell House” is a prequel that fans of graphic haunted house movies will probably enjoy. It was not my cup of tea and it was by far the longest story of the group. 2 stars
“Cloud Rider” by Whitley Strieber is based more on Matheson’s collected body of work than on any particular piece. A regular guy finds himself battling unimaginable forces of greed and nature. I loved it. 4.5 stars
I do recommend this anthology for anyone who’s a fan of Matheson’s work. You might not like every story, but you’ll probably find several you do enjoy. I plan to read more works by some of these authors who are new to me as well....more
I'm not an NPR listener but something about this title caught my eye. I downloaded it at the end of the year when I was trying to squeeze in one lastI'm not an NPR listener but something about this title caught my eye. I downloaded it at the end of the year when I was trying to squeeze in one last nonfiction book to complete a reading challenge. Only about two hours long, I knew I could listen to it in just a couple of days on my commute.
The first part was unimpressive. At this point I've forgotten what most of those stories were. I do remember one about a young lady aging out of foster care that made me feel sad for her and others like her. Otherwise, its a pretty big blank.
And then I got to the second part. Here were the stories that wouldn't let me go.
A young man getting off the farm and into college with not much more than his determination and "Ten dollars and a dream."
A small town basketball team making it to the state playoffs, taking the hometown pride with them.
An elderly woman telling a story about her misfortune with a...unique... bra when she was younger had me laughing out loud!
Following a couple after that big earthquake in China flattened their apartment building with their young son and a set of their parents inside.
My favorite was probably the one about the US Marshals who kept their charges safe during school integrations in the Civil Rights era.
Most of these had me near tears for different reasons. And I'm seriously not a crier.
I don't know if the stories really were that uneven or if it just took me half the book to settle into what NPR is about. But once I got into it, I loved it. I felt like I experienced a huge range of human emotion in a short time span. I was saddened, I was angry, I was proud, you name it, I probably felt it.
I do highly recommend this. It would be a good read on a day when you're just feeling down and ready to give up on humanity. This is more what we're about than anything you'll see on the news....more
Yunior has cheated one too many times. The smartass Dominican narrator of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is just not in a good place. In a serieYunior has cheated one too many times. The smartass Dominican narrator of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is just not in a good place. In a series of short stories set around different events in his life, he reflects on how he has arrived at this point.
This is so hard for me to rate!
I was not happy through most of these stories. I really, really, really liked Yunior in Oscar Wao. Would I ever date him? Absolutely not. Did I like him? Yes. He was a screw-up at best but he seemed to have his life together by the end of that book. At least from what I remember.
But this shows us that he doesn't. He can't seem to change his ways.
He relates affairs, his relationships with his brother and his father, his friends' affairs.... This is not a happy romcom by any stretch of the imagination.
I still loved Yunior's voice, I just wanted to smack him around until he became the person I knew he could be.
And then I read the last page and a half. Yes. That close to the freaking end of a book that was at best three stars, Junot Díaz rocked my world. I understood where Yunior was coming from and what he was trying to do. I understood what he was saying. And I loved it. I had goosebumps, it was so perfect. I am not lying. I started seeing what was going on and I got more and more excited and then I read the last sentence and I was in love. It was perfection. Seriously. I immediately wanted to flip to the front and start over and see how my perspective shifted now that I got it. But the library book is due tomorrow so I don't have time for that. I probably need a little distance anyway.
There is one story written from a female point of view. As far as I could tell, she didn't have anything to do with Yunior but she added another layer to the threads of the immigrant experience and fidelity in relationships.
There is a lot going on in this slim book. Families, illness, immigration, relationships, starting over, loss, and more I can't think of right now. None of it was particularly easy to read, but with this book, Junot Díaz has made me a fan for life. I recommend it if a a very stark reality and tough themes don't turn you off....more
Editor Leah Wilson has collected a series of thirteen essays from various young adult authors, each addressing a different aspect of The Hunger GamesEditor Leah Wilson has collected a series of thirteen essays from various young adult authors, each addressing a different aspect of The Hunger Games trilogy.
How do I put this? I'm not really a huge analyzer of books. Sure, I write plenty of reviews, but in those I just write what I liked (or not) and why. That's really about as far as I go. Back in my English class days, I could produce solid essays but since graduating, I've gotten to be a lazy reader. I'll occasionally think about the more obvious themes in a book, but then I pick up the next one and move on. This collection impressed me because of the amount of thought that went into each and every essay. I had mused briefly about some of the topics, I think my sister and I even discussed a few of them, but these authors all went above and beyond in their analyses.
My favorite was "Team Katniss" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. This was one essay that overlapped with a conversation my sister and I had. Why "Team Peeta" or "Team Gale"? Why not "Team Katniss"? Katniss is pretty freaking awesome on her own. Barnes presents her argument better than Rachel or I ever did. I just loved it.
I also really enjoyed "Community in the Face of Tyranny" by Bree Despain. I don't recall thinking much about the (lack of) community in the world of Panem. Despain argues that part of Katniss's magic comes from her ability to foster a sense of community wherever she goes. It's true, and I liked it.
At first, I thought entries by Cara Lockwood and Terri Clark were a little more light-hearted but even these surprised me with their depth. Lockwood writes about the "Not So Weird Science" of Panem and how these far-fetched "muttations" could become realities sooner than we think. She also addressed the need for science to look at the consequences of genetic engineering and not just "Can we do it?" Clark writes about a "Crime of Fashion" and the role that Katniss's looks, and Cinna's hand in them, played in the series. How far would Katniss have gotten without Cinna? Sure, we the readers love her, but she would probably have been largely overlooked if she'd first appeared in a humdrum coal mining outfit.
I feel the need to mention "The Politics of Mockingjay" by Sarah Darer Littman. It draws blatant parallels between the politics of the War on Terror and the politics of Panem. I enjoyed reading it, but I know it will completely turn off some readers with different political beliefs. I was surprised to read this in a book aimed at young adults, but we all need to be aware of what's going on in the world around us.
There's a sequence of essays that leads from reality vs unreality to reality tv to the power of the media and those all kind of blended together for me. I can't say that any were badly written, but I had, surprisingly enough, considered most of this while I was reading the trilogy. They started to overlap and get repetitive.
Fans who just can't get enough of The Hunger Games trilogy should enjoy reading this. It's thought-provoking and informative, and will probably leave you ready to re-read the books. ...more
In a collection of short essays, men and women from all walks of life share their defining beliefs.
I listen to NPR in between audiobook downloads butIn a collection of short essays, men and women from all walks of life share their defining beliefs.
I listen to NPR in between audiobook downloads but I seem to only be in the car for the news and Marketplace, so I've never heard any of these essays. I enjoyed them immensely.
Ranging from funny to serious, from heartfelt to tongue-in-cheek, there's a wide range of personal voices and creeds to be found in this collection. I particularly liked that essays from the first run of the series, hosted by Edward R. Murrow in the '50s, were included. They were concerned about the end of the free world due to the Cold War. Now we're concerned about the end of the free world due to terrorism of all kinds. Some things never seem to change. That said, people don't change all that much either, and I mean that in the best possible way. We still have faith in our own humanity. Many of us have religious or spiritual faith. Those who don't have faith in order and reason. Kindness, compassion, humility, personal growth, empathy--all our best traits are on display here, both in the older essays and the more recent ones.
On a side note, I enjoyed hearing the way voices and accents have changed in only about 60 years. The accents in the '50s seemed to be more pronounced. My guess is that we're losing some regional accents due to media influences. That makes me a bit sad since I enjoy hearing them and definitely speak with my own Appalachian twang! I was interested to hear women speak back then too. I find it hard to explain, but their voices sounded more breathy and feminine to me. Was that something girls were subconsciously taught? I've noticed it in old movies but assumed it was just the actress in her role. Now I'm left wondering if it was a cultural thing.
By the end of the collection, I had started tuning out a bit. They were all unique in approach but some of the fundamentals did start to feel a bit repetitive.
I understand this was issued in print and as an audio book. I would definitely recommend listening to it. The pieces were originally written for radio so it makes sense to approach them in the intended medium. However you read them, I do recommend this collection. You'll be left wondering, as I do, "What do I believe?"...more
Dreams Made Flesh is a collection of four short stories/novellas centered around Jaenelle and her court. One of the events takes place immediately aftDreams Made Flesh is a collection of four short stories/novellas centered around Jaenelle and her court. One of the events takes place immediately after the third in the Black Jewels series, so anyone reading this should keep that in mind. It definitely has spoilers for the previous books.
My favorite story by far, was "The Prince of Ebon Rih." How I grinned as I read it! I've always liked Lucivar, but he really is cast as the older brother in the series. There is definitely more to him than that, so it was great to see him as a powerful ruler in his own right and a sexy-as-hell man. Watching him deal with that bitch Roxie was a pleasure. Seeing his insecurity in dealing with Marian was delightful. He didn't know what hit him. Absolutely loved it.
My sister, who shoved this book into my hands saying only, "Read. This. Now." loves "Zuulaman." This is an event from Saetan's younger years that made him a legend. I liked it, but somehow couldn't help comparing it to Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana. You probably have to be inside my head to see how that happened. I loved Tigana and this story suffered for the comparison. And probably from my sister's buildup. Still, it was a very cool showcase of Saetan's raw power.
"Kaeleer's Heart" would have been good, but it was a little too much like "The Prince of Ebon Rih." It was nice to see Daemon and Jaenelle together, but I felt like I had pretty much read the story already, just a few pages earlier. It is sexy to see the lengths that Daemon is willing to go to in order to protect Jaenelle though.
"Weaver of Dreams" was just a confusing little legend and that's all I have to say about that.
If you enjoy the Black Jewels books, read this one. It was mostly a very cool addition....more
I'm trying out audio (again), this time during my commute to work. My commute isn't bad, about 30 minutes, so a collection of short stories, written aI'm trying out audio (again), this time during my commute to work. My commute isn't bad, about 30 minutes, so a collection of short stories, written and read by Neil Gaiman no less, seemed like a good place to start. I was right!
I'll say first of all that I love Gaiman's voice. I could listen to the man all day. I don't really have any other narrators to compare him to, but just the fact that I actually finished this audio book should be a testament to his greatness!
I've read a lot of these stories in print, but I have to say that hearing Gaiman read them himself added a little something to the story. For example, I would never have "heard" the troll speaking in such a gray, tired voice if I had read it on my own. Hearing Gaiman's take on that really paved the way for the ending of that one. There were more examples, but that's the most striking.
"Four and Twenty Blackbirds" reminded me a lot of Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series. It's a very tangled, nursery rhyme noir PI story, which sounds like a big mess but was actually a lot of fun.
"Troll Bridge" was a little eerie. I did not see the ending coming, but it made sense. It reminded me a little of another story of Gaiman's that I read in Fragile Things. I like this take on the theme better.
"Don't Ask Jack" was probably my least favorite, just because there wasn't much story. It's a goose-bump-inducing little vignette though.
"How to Sell the Ponti Bridge" was another I wasn't that crazy about. It was sort of a fantasy version of a ballsy scam. Not exactly my thing.
"October in the Chair" is a story that I really liked in Fragile Things. I just like the imagery of the months of the year gathered around a campfire telling stories. The story October tells is somehow more sad for me than anything.
"Chivalry" was one of my favorites. I loved the character of Mrs. Whittaker (sp? a reason I do like print books better). I can just see this lonely, crusty old lady who makes poor Galahad work for the Holy Grail.
"The Price" is perfect for Halloween. I saw this whole story very clearly in my mind, and I felt so worried for the cat and the family. It always amazes me when well-written short stories can make me care about characters so quickly.
"How to Talk to Girls at Parties" is just an odd story. I didn't care for it in Fragile Things, and I didn't care too much for it here.
"Sunbird" is another one I've read elsewhere. I somehow lost the end of this on my ipod, so I can't say too much about it, but I do remember that it was not a favorite when I read it in print.
"The Witch's Headstone"--the story that started The Graveyard Book. I love it in any format. I just love Bod and the witch, and I loved the book this grew into.
"Instructions"--I don't think I liked this a whole lot when I first read it, but it has grown on me and I now love it. I love my illustrated edition, but I also love hearing Gaiman read it.
This book is supposed to be a collection of stories for teens, and I do think it would work as an introduction to Gaiman for that age group. But I also just highly recommend it in general. ...more
This collection of short stories is exactly what the subtitle says: tales of star-crossed love. Crossing a gamut of sub-genres within the realms of scThis collection of short stories is exactly what the subtitle says: tales of star-crossed love. Crossing a gamut of sub-genres within the realms of science fiction and fantasy, there should be something here for almost everyone.
As with almost any anthology, there were stories that I loved and some that just didn't do anything for me. I was a little afraid that it would start to get depressing (star-crossed love just doesn't sound happy, now does it?) but there was a good balance of happy and sad endings.
Favorite story: "Hurt Me" by M. L. N. Hanover.--A woman moves into a house haunted by an angry ghost. It was dark and disturbing all the way through, but holy cow, what an ending. I feel like I should have seen it coming but I completely did not. Very well done.
"Love Hurts" by Jim Butcher--Someone starts magically forcing people to fall in love on Harry's turf with disastrous results. I've only read the first two books in the Dresden Files, but I do love Harry and Murph. There wasn't really anything spoilery in this story, labeled as # 11.5, but it was a little bittersweet.
"The Marrying Maid" by Jo Beverley--A young aristocrat zeroes in on a sensible vicar's daughter as his one true love. This felt like it was going to venture into bodice-ripper territory (nothing wrong with it, but that's not my thing), but it steered mostly clear. It was fun but I don't think it will end up being memorable for me.
"Rooftops" by Carrie Vaughn--A playwright living in a version of Gotham City is rescued by a masked crusader. A strong contender for my favorite story. A shy new superhero? Yes, please.
"Demon Lover" by Cecelia Holland--A young woman unsatisfied with her lot in life ventures into a castle she's never seen before. I had to look and remind myself what it was about. Not a great sign, but I did enjoy it while I was reading it. A story of mortals drifting into the faery realm is always a safe bet for me.
"The Wayfarer's Advice" by Melinda M. Snodgrass--The captain of a tradeship stumbles on the wreckage of a Imperial cruiser (different wording, same thing) and he's pretty sure his old flame was on board. Again, I had to look back at it, but it was haunting while I was reading it. I felt like there were elements of Serenity in it. I'm not complaining.
"Blue Boots" by Robin Hobb--I did not enjoy the two books I've read by Robin Hobb at all so I gave up on her altogether. This story made me rethink my stance. A plucky kitchen maid and a minstrel? Again, has my name all over it.
"The Thing About Cassandra" by Neil Gaiman--A man starts hearing about an old girlfriend that he'd completely forgotten about. If you read many of my reviews at all, you know I love Neil Gaiman, so you know I was excited for this one. I was let down. There was a twist that surprised me, but I didn't really care. I can't describe it better than that.
"After the Blood" by Marjorie M. Liu--The Amish, a plague, these vampire-y thing? I just didn't understand this story. I felt like I was reading an entry in a series that I knew nothing about. Maybe I was. I was missing a whole lot of information that I think would have helped me make sense of what was going on.
"You, and You Alone" by Jacqueline Carey--Delauney's story, only hinted at in Kushiel's Dart. I loved the Kushiel series so I was very excited to read this, especially when I realized what it was about. Loved it.
"His Wolf" by Lisa Tuttle--A recently relocated woman falls in with a mysterious man and his wolf. It didn't go exactly in the direction I expected, a huge plus.
"Courting Trouble" by Linnea Sinclair--The captain of a tradeship finds herself relying on an old friend for help, years after he betrayed her trust. A little too science-fictiony for my reading taste. I didn't dislike it though.
"The Demon Dancer" by Mary Jo Putney--A magician cop and an old friend tackle a succubus before the spirit can destroy too many lives around the city. I liked this one quite a bit. I didn't see where it was going either.
"Under/Above the Water" by Tanith Lee--Two lovers, separated by centuries, trying to find their way back to each other. Not my style. I typically need to be up in the characters' heads to really enjoy a story and this one felt very distanced.
"Kaskia" by Peter S. Beagle--A man hits "the red button" on a mysterious computer with very unexpected results. Felt a bit too short, although I think Beagle accomplished exactly what he was trying to do. I just wanted a little more!
"Man in the Mirror" by Yasmine Galenorn--A troubled woman moves into a house with a past of its own. A sad, haunting, very visual tale. I really, really liked it.
"A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" by Diana Gabaldon--A WWII RAF pilot goes down over Scotland and wakes up in an unexpected place. Possibly my least favorite story. What a crap ending.
And that's it. The good outweighed the bad and overall I enjoyed the book. There were some very strong entries in this collection. I do recommend it....more