Neil Gaiman - Shastrix Books

Neil Gaiman

Recently reviewed

Stardust

Stardust

Neil Gaiman

2nd February 2020

I’ve read a couple of Neil Gaiman’s books before, and not found them easy to engage with, but this time I had seen the film (albeit some years ago) and enjoyed that, so thought that maybe this would be the Gaiman novel for me.

It’s the story of a young man who grows up on the edge of Fairie, and goes on a misguided adventure there as he reaches adulthood, encountering a number of strange things on his journeys.

Sadly, I found a similar problem to previous Gaiman novels - I struggle to get myself excited by the narrative - I’m not sure what it is exactly, perhaps that something in his choice of language means that I can’t absorb the story at the pace I want to, and this puts me off. As a story it seems solid, reminiscent of the Chronicles of Narnia in some respects, but I wasn’t able to get excited about it.

I think in future I will stick to consuming Gaiman’s television and film output, which I find entertaining and engaging - the film version of Stardust, his episode of Doctor Who, and the Good Omens series all being fantastic examples of this.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman

29th April 2018

This is the fourth Neil Gaiman novel I’m read, and I’m slightly surprised that I bothered after struggling to get into two of the earlier ones. This novel tells the tale of a recollected childhood incident stepping into a fantasy world.

It’s a kind of fantasy horror that’s appropriate for younger readers, and yet still slightly unsettling and creepy to adult audiences. Not really my kind of book, and although the story is well structured, and the characters well formed, it didn’t entertain me as much as I had hoped.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
Anansi Boys

Anansi Boys

Neil Gaiman

10th October 2010

I picked this up before I had read American Gods (or anything else of Gaiman's sole work) on the strength of Good Omens, and then put off reading it for over two years. I'm kind of glad that I did as I appreciated it more now than I think I would have when I read American Gods.

The story is an odd blend of comic-fantasy-crime-coming-of-age, where Fat Charlie must fight old enemies of his father to stop his brother destroying his life.

I must admit that I had my doubts, but the beginning of this book contained a nice amount of humour and the tone of the narrator (when it has one) is similar to Terry Pratchett's. The second quarter of the book though felt like it dragged a little, focussing more on the fantastical elements that it took me some time to get my head around. The second half though the plot picked up, and the range of characters increased to add more to the comedy and action, reminding me of the style of Christopher Brookmyre.

Gaiman's blended world of physical and meta-physical comes across very well in the end and the interspersion of Anansi stories helps to set the scene and build up some of the characters.

My edition contains a number of 'Extra' features at the end, including a deleted scene (interesting), Gaiman's notebook from when he started writing (fascinating) and some suggested questions for reading groups (to me, boring - trying to read deeper into novels is something I left behind me in school English lessons).

At the end of the book, I have enjoyed reading most of it, but remain unconvinced that Gaiman is an author to add to my regulars list.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Buy book: UK
American Gods

American Gods

Neil Gaiman

6th July 2008

It's taken me a long time to read this novel through, and I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or bad. It's not that it wasn't engrossing, as it was, just that it is perhaps a slightly different style to the trashy star trek novels or easy to read discworld books or the cheap thrillers I dip into now and then.

It's a novel that I wouldn't ask Ashley to read... I have several of these, and they tend to be ones with upsetting beginings. Tad Williams' "The War of the Flowers" is another example of this. Shadow begins as a jailed prisoner just about to be released, and things go downhill from there.

The plot's still not quite clear to me even now having finished - I think it might be another one of those books that has to be read a second time to actually understand what's going on. I'm not going to say it wasn't a good book, because it wasn't, but I'm not convinced it's the type of thing I'd buy again... but then I've already bought another of Gaiman's books from the £2 shop... so we'll see.

read more

Buy book: UKUSBuy ebook: UK

Top books

  1. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  3. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
  4. Anansi Boys
  5. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
  6. Stardust
  7. American Gods