Read this with a student I've been mentoring, and found it offers some excellent advice. In some places it reads as a bit too dogmatic, in others it sRead this with a student I've been mentoring, and found it offers some excellent advice. In some places it reads as a bit too dogmatic, in others it strikes the right balance between "this is what I do" and "your mileage may vary...."...more
I loved this book the first time I read it. I just finished it a second time -- reading it with a student. I liked it even more the second time througI loved this book the first time I read it. I just finished it a second time -- reading it with a student. I liked it even more the second time through. Gaiman is a terrific storyteller; his books sell well; he obviously has a knack for writing books that are readable, entertaining, engaging, at times gripping. His sense of humor shines through on every page, as does his uniquely dark vision of humanity. But I believe that what sets his work apart is his facility with voice. That was what grabbed me when I read AMERICAN GODS, and I think it is by far the strongest part of NEVERWHERE. I don't believe that conceptually this book is as compelling or complex as AG. I don't think there is as much meat to it. But it is still a wonderful read, a story populated with vivid characters, set in an alternate London that is dark and frightening and yet alluring at the same time. The book reads quickly, in part because it encourages an irresistible compulsion in its readers. Pick up a copy, and in no time you'll know exactly what I mean....more
Read this again for a course I was mentoring for a Master's student. I used it as an example of fantasy worldbuilding and magic creation superimposedRead this again for a course I was mentoring for a Master's student. I used it as an example of fantasy worldbuilding and magic creation superimposed on our own world, and I think in that respect it is a terrific book. The magical elements of the book are fascinating and work quite well within what I believe to be the strictures of sound magic-system creation (magic systems, I believe, should be wholly consistent, have limits, and impose costs on those who wield the magic and on the world in which the magic exists). I think in other ways the book is solid if not spectacular. Very good plotting; strong character work; lean, clear prose. [Slight spoiler alert -- read on with caution] I think the ending of the book is a bit of a cop out, one that Caine compounds in book II of the sequence. But overall, a fun read....more
Just read this little gem again. It had been years, and while I remembered most of the plot, I have to say that I had forgotten just how elegant LeGuiJust read this little gem again. It had been years, and while I remembered most of the plot, I have to say that I had forgotten just how elegant LeGuin's writing can be. This is a quiet story -- if you're looking for huge battles and extended action scenes you should probably search elsewhere. But if you want clean, literary prose, rich character work, and intricate, compelling worldbuilding, then look no further.
I read the book again because I assigned it to a student with whom I'm working. Our independent study is on worldbuilding and Earthsea is as fully realized an imaginary setting as you'll find anywhere. It's not as complex as the universe Frank herbert created for DUNE, the first book on our reading list, but it is every bit as deep, and as sensual in the truest meaning of the word. You can feel and hear and smell this place, and you'll want to go back there again and again.
Earthsea was written as a YA series, before "YA" even existed. The lead character is a small boy as the book begins and a young man when it ends. And without meaning any disrespect to J. K. Rowling, whose books I have read with my children and enjoyed a great deal, LeGuin manages to create in 180 pages (in my edition) a character as fascinating and likable and tangible as Harry Potter was after 7 books. As a writer, all I can say is that I wish I could do that.
We're reading the other two books in the original trilogy as well -- The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore. I'll review those as I complete them....more