This is a book that I'll be revisiting a fair amount - it's that good.
What makes me love this book is the sheer creativity that went into it. Every la...moreThis is a book that I'll be revisiting a fair amount - it's that good.
What makes me love this book is the sheer creativity that went into it. Every last bit of it, from the setting, the story and the character development is finely honed and perfectly fit in what has to be the most original fantasy story I've read to date.
Imagine a boy named "Nobody" who's raised by ghosts in a graveyard, and learns the ways of spirits as he grows up. I think that alone is enough to spark the imagination into overdrive, yet put in the hands of Gaiman you have something that becomes richly decorated with histories of everyone buried in the graveyard and peppered with great stories of the Nobody's growing up in a world filled with the departed.
Sadly, the book ends as Nobody finally becomes an adult, and I was left eager for more. Gaiman certainly would be well off to satisfy that desire with more of Nobody's adventures, but for now I'm happy to relisten to The Graveyard Book a few more times.(less)
(This review is for the audio version narrated by John Keating.)
I was first introduced to Colfer's writing via the fantastic Artemis Fowl books, and h...more(This review is for the audio version narrated by John Keating.)
I was first introduced to Colfer's writing via the fantastic Artemis Fowl books, and have since taken in anything written by him that I could get my hands on. Airman is a book that not only delivers on my expectations of Colfer's skills as a writer, but also just my desire to enjoy a great story.
In Airman, Conor Broekhart is thoroughly beat up and disheartened again and again. Even Conor's birth occurs during dire circumstances at the book's beginning, as if to tell you that things don't really calm down for the kid from that point forward. Despite the pounding he takes throughout the story, you find yourself unable to do anything but root for him. His successes are mythic and wonderfully written - perfect for a wide-eyed child to listen to with rapt attention.
The antagonist, a villainous and downright evil character named Marshall Bonvilain, is just as hate-able as Conor is likeable; and the performance of the character by John Keating is so perfect that I have little doubt I despised Bonvilain even more because of it. For those listening to this book, I think this is where you'll find your investment has paid off, because Keating's narration is excellent, but his rendition of Bonvilain and the other villains is fantastic.
It's easy to be deceived by how simple this story is put together, especially when you consider the straightforward themes of heroes saving princesses and the obvious indications of character identity and story from names like "Broekhart" and "Bonvilain". At one point I found myself thinking that this story was perhaps a youth-accessible rewrite of Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo; but having finished the book I'm of the opinion that Colfer was crafting a fairy tale for the age of discovery and industry. The Airman's charm in fact comes from it's simplicity, despite that the plot is anything but simple and the adventures within are actually very clever and captivating. If the book is simple, it is simple in the themes it presents - such as "true love" and "brains over brawn"; but the unique tale within is easier to enjoy because of it.
I usually avoid spoilers in my reviews, and Airman definitely requires my discretion - you deserve to enjoy this book from beginning to end. In the end I hope you do enjoy it as much as I did!(less)
This is my first experience with a fairytale written for an adult audience, and I'm glad that I had Neil Gaiman to introduce me to the genre, if there...moreThis is my first experience with a fairytale written for an adult audience, and I'm glad that I had Neil Gaiman to introduce me to the genre, if there is in fact one.
For those of you who view my profile, you'll see a large amount of audiobooks, and that's due to really good authors and narrators like Neil Gaiman, whose books I gladly buy to listen to knowing that I'm in for a genuinely good treat when I press play. Sadly, not all of Neil Gaiman's books are narrated by him, and given the richness and variety of his character depictions, I'm hesitant to sample any other interpretation.
Stardust is a wonderfully simple story that could easily be a Disney creation were it not for the adult themes of sex and graphic murders. The simplicity of it doesn't really hit you until the end, when you sit back and go over the story in your head, and I think this is due to the wealth of creativity that Gaiman used to fill the pages. All the characters are vividly portrayed, and each has a full history to share with the reader. This might be also seen as criticism, since at times I felt I was reading a collection of vignettes, strung together to complete a story rather than a singly focused novel; but it didn't detract me from the story at all.
Given the length of the story, I think it's a sound investment for your time. It's a quick, but full adventure that doesn't leave you unsatisfied, and well worth your attention.(less)
I listened to this book for two reasons; one is that I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's books, especially the audiobooks that he narrates himself, and tw...moreI listened to this book for two reasons; one is that I'm a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's books, especially the audiobooks that he narrates himself, and two is that I really was eager to watch the movie. For sake of keeping it simple, my review is just about the book, but I encourage anyone who enjoys the book to check out the movie and see what they think.
What makes me really respond well to this book is that it has all the hallmarks of the Brother's Grimm fairy tales, yet it's set in present day. Coraline seems to be troubled by a simple problem which I'm sure plagues all children of vivid imagination, and that is that her life seems dull and her parents seem unfortunately just as uninterested in her life as she does. It is only when she sees a seemingly better alternative that she learns the real value of her life and her parents, ordinary as they may be.
I think the harshest criticism I could offer is that at times I read Coraline thinking, "that's not what a child normally would do...that seems too adult." But to be fair I waiver on this point when I think more about it. Children, especially now a days, seem remarkably mature at times, and although I still find myself surprised to see them do and say oddly "adult" things, I can't deny that they do in fact do it!
So, I give Coraline a warm recommendation - I hope anyone reading my review has the privilege of being able to read this to their child, as it's perfect for that. Be warned that there are parts that I'm sure could be seen as frightening to smaller kids, but no more so than Jack and the Beanstalk or Hansel and Gretel.(less)
I bought the Neverwhere audiobook hoping to not be disappointed, and I certainly got my wish. Gaiman has brought together a wonderful world beneath th...moreI bought the Neverwhere audiobook hoping to not be disappointed, and I certainly got my wish. Gaiman has brought together a wonderful world beneath the one we walk on, and what's more, made me appreciate his skill as a story teller and audiobook narrator.
If there is anything to be criticized, it's that I think half of the book's appeal is in referencing the landmarks of London and telling story that makes anyone familiar with London look at those landmarks differently. This is a small drawback however, and not something that I think requires a ticket to Heathrow to remedy.
Only a few books actually carry me off into their worlds, leaving me at the end slighty dissatisfied that I couldn't stay with them after the last word was said, and so it is with Richard Mayhew's adventure into the Underworld. A great read (listen) and well worth your dollars.(less)