Tag Archives: fantasy

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

Since I enjoyed American Gods so much, I put another Gaiman book on the list (and yes, I am following @neilhimself on Twitter).

I liked this one. Not loved it, but liked it. I think he has a very, very specific writing style, that if you aren’t really in the mood for it, can be annoying.

The synopsis from BN.com

Neil Gaiman, the genius behind “The Sandman” graphic novels — which Norman Mailer called “a comic strip for intellectuals” — delves into novel-length fiction with Neverwhere, a wild and mesmerizing story set in a bizarre and chilling underground London. Neverwhere begins innocently enough: It’s the story of Richard Mayhew, a plain man with a good heart. Unhappy in love and in life, Richard is thrust into a dark and evil world when he stops to help a young girl he finds bleeding in the street. Now Richard has much more than work and girlfriend dilemmas on his mind — now he’s wanted by two very evil, powerful, and nasty mercenaries who like to think that they are, in fact, rather gentlemanly.

I think I just have read a lot of dystopian, homeless, otherworld type books – so this kind of lost it’s “wow” factor for me. And speaking of otherworld, I did this weekend-long LARP-type thing a year or so ago, called … Otherworld. And it was awesome and all that jazz, but it’s funny because the more popular sci-fi/fantasy writers I read, the more and more I see references to certain characters in nerd events in my past.  In a way, it’s cool because I can “see” the characters very clearly in my mind’s eye.

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American Gods – Neil Gaiman

The entire time I was reading this book, I was thinking about what an awesome blog entry this was going to be. I was thinking that, because I was enjoying the book so much. Then I finished, and it came time to blog – and I am at a loss for something really interesting to say.

People have been bugging me to read Gaiman for awhile now, and I am not a big sci-fi/fantasy fan. I read “Good Omens” and wasn’t blown away, but this finally crept up to the top of the list. I am really glad I did.

The basic premise of the book is that the gods exist, and when people move, they take their gods with them. So, incarnations of gods and all other manner of mythological  being follow people to the countries they move. And apparently, America isn’t too hospitable to the deities of the Old Country – no matter what the old country is. And now the gods of myth and legend are dying, and being usurped by American gods of technology and media, etc. They get this guy Shadow wrapped into their drama. There is of  course more to it, but I barely have the space or energy.

The characters of legend appear from all sorts of countries and pantheons, with a specific focus on the old Norse. Which, while I am not super familiar with – I really love. The whole Viking archaeology thing and all. I also got to learn a little bit about the mythical folks from other traditions. Never even heard of some of them!

As a kid, I loved the Greek myths – I knew them all by heart. And now, I love how they all help me finish a crossword puzzle. I really wish I read this book when I was a teen and in my pagan phase. I loved it now,  but I would have gone over the moon, then. Looking forward to reading a little more Gaiman.

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Good Fairies of New York – Martin Millar

I think this is my 2nd or 3rd Millar book, and I enjoyed this one as well. The writing style he uses, I want to call it British, but that could just be because the punctuation throws me off. He seems to switch scenes within paragraphs and it’s irksome for a fast reader like me, because I sometimes have to double-back and make sure I understand what I am reading.

I am pretty sure that Millar has not been to New York because of his agoraphobia, and if that’s true, then his geography and “feel” for the city is pretty good, except I haven’t been able to figure out of all the dead bums are some sort of plot device or social commentary that I am missing, or just his perception of my hometown. It also made it hard to figure out the time period, although I think it was supposed to be modern day.

“But what is it about?”

Starred Review. British author Millar offers fiercely funny (and often inebriated) Scottish fairies, a poignant love story as well as insights into the gravity of Crohn’s disease, cultural conflicts and the plight of the homeless in this fey urban fantasy. Due to the machinations of the obnoxious Tala, Cornwall’s fairy king, only a few humans can see the 18-inch-tall fairies who alight in Manhattan: Magenta, a homeless woman who thinks she’s the ancient Greek general Xenophon; Dinnie, an overweight slacker; and Kerry, a poor artist/musician who hopes her Ancient Celtic Flower Alphabet will win a local arts prize. Fairies Heather MacKintosh and Morag MacPherson scheme to put Dinnie and Kerry together, rescue fairy artifacts and prove that in love or war, music is essential. Neil Gaiman provides an appreciative introduction.

It of course, almost certainly goes without saying that anything to that deal with the fairy king totally bored me.

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The Sweet Far Thing – Libba Bray

This is the third in the series (decided to just blog about it one post!).

I really loved this trilogy. YA, fairy realms, Victorian finishing schools and forbidden love. Definitely worth a read – the length of the series also makes it feel kind of fulfilling. Like, I got something accomplished? I don’t know. It was like Harry Potter for (young) adults and it made me want to read more about Victorian England. Of course, I got a little board with the hierarchies of the “realms.” It’s weird – I love fantasy stuff but tend to get irritated with too many details, but I find that YA books without a fantasy element are usually a little too puppy-dog love story for me.
I want to write more about the series, because I really liked it – but I am just not sure what to say.
The author’s Live Journal is pretty cool too! It is cool to see how all of these YA authors that I like are all friends!

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Wicked Lovely – Melissa Marr

If I don’t write SOMETHING on this blog right after reading a book, I entirely forget what happened. I actually just had to look up the amazon.com review for this book to remind myself what I read the day before. Short term memory loss? Willful ignorance? Bad literature? A combo?

Anyway – this book was about the fairy world – which I don’t even like or care about. Books about royalty usually confuse or bore me. This one was especially odd because it took every cliche and just mashed them up.

  • Girl likes boy, boy likes girl  – neither reveals until the end that they liked each other all along.
  • Boy is some weird loner, “perfect” guy. (Which is weird, because he is also described as having a navel piercing. NOT perfect in my book. Also, the author does some Q&A at the end of the book which was probably the wittiest part, but she even acknowledges his over-perfectness as something that was intended as opposed to poor writing/character creation).
  • Weird matricide/regicide
  • Unrequited fairy love
  • Henchmen
  • Tough loner girl ends up being the queen of the fairies

It was all just so weirdly trite. I didn’t hate myself for reading it, and the author didn’t use so many crazy-ass names that it was impossible to keep straight, but it certainly wasn’t good.

Man, I am bitter.

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My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon – P.N. Elrod

A collection of supernatural short stories with a common theme of honeymoons (and trite awfulness – although that part wasn’t stated.)

Not too much to say – I brought it along on my trip to Florida to go to a wedding, so I thought it was appropriate. And like the weekend, there were highs and lows – but this book was mainly “low.” It was all just so treacly.

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Valiant – Holly Black

Wow, if I forget to blog, or put a placeholder – it really IS hard for me to remember what something is about.

This is either the 2nd or 3rd book in a trilogy that I started a while ago. It doesn’t say much for the book that I can’t figure out if I missed one or not 🙂

This wasn’t bad, but the world itself doesn’t interest me and the characters are kind of flat. The other issue is that while its teen and YA and I appreciate the acknowledgment that teens have sex – it just felt very cavalier, or overly graphic in some parts when the rest of the book didn’t have that kind of detail or emotion or depth. Like, she would have preferred writing a romance or erotic novel, but had to settle for YA and fairies.

A description? Sure!

http://www.blackholly.com/valiant.html

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City, she’s trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city’s labyrinthine subway system.

But there’s something eerily beguiling about Val’s new friends. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and shoots up a shimmery amber-colored powder that makes the shadows around her dance. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures that no one else can see. And then there’s Luis’s brother, timid and sensitive Dave, who makes the mistake of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who turns out to have goat hooves instead of feet.

When a bewildered Val allows Lolli to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been dealing, Val finds herself bound into service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honorable. And as Val grows to know him, she finds herself torn between her affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

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