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American Gods
American Gods
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gaiman classic, 25 Oct. 2004
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
A wonderful example of Gaiman's work! Gaiman makes use of a wide range of mythology to create a fascinating story about human belief and the nature of change. I won't bother trying to give a gist of the story, but it's well written in a dark and moody style, not unlike its lead character. I found the ending a bit of a dissapointment, but that was after a long and extremely enjoyable read. I think fans of Sandman would like this, as would Gaiman virgins!


Neverwhere
Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Gaiman at his best..., 25 Oct. 2004
This review is from: Neverwhere (Mass Market Paperback)
I'm a fan of Gaiman, but this book just doesn't do it for me. It reads a bit like one of his blogs ([...] The style is just too conversational which, for me, removes a lot of the sense of depth and history to the world he creates. The idea of an ancient and strange 'London Below' is great, but it doesn't really develop, and I felt I was being told that it was 'ancient and strange' rather than feeling it. The lead character is dull, and the humour doesn't feel like it fits. There are one or two good moments, and one or two good characters and ideas, but by and large I think it's Gaiman's weakest work. American Gods, Stardust, The Sandman series, Smoke and Mirrors and Good Omens are all far superior examples of his work. Sorry Neil! Just being honest.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 23, 2013 8:23 AM BST


Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding!, 25 Oct. 2004
What an amazing book! An enchantment in itself. Written in a kind of faux Austen style, it draws you deep into the world that its characters inhabit allowing you understand them better, and to comprehend the forces and pressures that drive their actions. Set in the early 19th Century this book deals with an England where magic is real, but is in decline, and has not been practiced sucessfully by Englishmen for several hundred years, since the golden and silver age of magicians in the first half of the last millenium. The reasons for such a decline are unknown, and present day magicians only study the history of magic and can do none themselves. The exceptions to this are the magicians Mr. Norrell and Jonathan Strange who, as practical magicians, find themselves the focus of much attention and admiration by the English nation, little realising they are part of a greater destiny already foretold. The book deals with their relationships with magic, with each other and interweaves their tales with other characters who are in some way affected by their actions. In addition, the histories and mythologies that Clarke hints at throughout the book build a wonderful sense of reality and feeling for the world she has created, and you are left wanting to know more. At 800 pages this is a long book, but it seems short. I can only hope a sequel is in the pipeline.


Sweet Thames
Sweet Thames
by Matthew Kneale
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tale of change..., 13 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Sweet Thames (Paperback)
I read this after reading the masterpiece English Passengers,also by Matthew Kneale, and was hoping that I would not be dissapointed. At first, I confess, I was a little, as I found that I had to apply effort to keep reading the book. I did not find Joshua Jeavons to be a particularly sympathetic character, nor did I find the historical story of the London sewage system to be as interesting as I hoped. Still, as the book progressed, I found that the real story was hidden well, and only really emerges towards the end...but makes it all worthwhile none-the-less. It's a story of change, and of altered perspective, of seeing things as they are; of redemption perhaps. It is a strange story well told, and very different to English Passengers. I am glad I read it.


English Passengers
English Passengers
by Matthew Kneale
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling to the last, 13 Mar. 2004
This review is from: English Passengers (Paperback)
An amazing book of astounding imagination! I found myself reluctant to put the book down and ever eager to pick it up again. Matthew Kneale effortlessly blends the stories of numerous characters, each well developed and individual in their own right, to produce not so much a single tale, but an interwoven fabric of many tales and perspectives, each one personal and significant to the teller. The main story thread concerns a group of Englishmen traveling to Tasmania seeking the lost site of Eden, ignorant to the fact that they journey aboard a smuggler's vessel, that of Captian Kewley, who has his own tale of comical misfortune that leads him to be their unwilling captain. Nor do they realise that, on reaching their destination, they will also become part of the events of the life of Peevay, an aborigine, who has seen his home and his people destroyed by the white settlers, and longs for a place to belong. This book is written with subtle wit and style and it was a delight to be so captivated as I was.


Holiday
Holiday
Price: £14.28

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Stephin at his best..., 22 Dec. 2003
This review is from: Holiday (Audio CD)
...but alright none-the-less. Holiday has the same witty lyrics and fresh uncommercial style, but just doesn't have the same impact as a lot of Merritt's other work. Claudia Gonson's voice doesn't feature on this album, which is a shame in itself, and I just don't find myself coming bask to this album or singing the songs in the shower because I can't get them out my head. My previous experience of Stephin was with Hyacinths and Thistles and 69 love songs, which are much better (in my opinion). I'd recommend Holiday if you're a fan, but I wouldn't start a non-believer on this if I wanted to convince them of Merritt's genuis.


The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances
The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche and Other Odd Acquaintances
by Peter S. Beagle
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the first two stories..., 22 Dec. 2003
Professor Gottesman and the Indian Rhinoceros and Come Lady Death are wonderful stories. Similar in style, both speak of bringing magic into the world we live, and, though being so very sad in places, are a pleasure to read. Lila the werewolf, on the other hand, is just a bit dull, and lacks the magical essence of the first two stories. Julie's Unicorn is a little better, but features one of the characters from Lila the werewolf who is extremely bland, and once again it is hard to connect with the characters. The rest of the book is reasonable and it has its moments (Peter S. Beagle is a good writer) but the book really is made by the first two stories which are worth reading, and worth buying the book for if you can't read them any other way. I give this book a high rating for them and them alone.


Carter Beats the Devil
Carter Beats the Devil
by Glen David Gold
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical!, 22 Dec. 2003
This review is from: Carter Beats the Devil (Paperback)
When people ask you about the book you're reading and you tell them it's a fictitious account of the life of an early 20th century stage magician, the usual response is not for them to say "Really? You must tell me more!" But resembles much more a silent bewilderment at how boring you must be. At least, in my experience, and maybe because I'm not very good at making things sound exciting. But this really is a very good book indeed. Honest. It is funny, gripping and genuinely captivating. It's one of those books you sit down with the intention of reading for twenty minutes or so, then find four hours have magically disappeared into the ether. Charles Carter, the principal character, is depicted beautifully, as the book follows his life from a young boy with a book on magic and some paternally frowned upon dreams, to Carter the Great. It's really impossible to describe the story, with its array of characters and plot twists, I can only say it is a truly amazing story written in a beautiful, easy style, that captures you at the start and doesn't let you go, and may also make you go off and buy books on card and coin tricks. Hats off to Mr. Gold.


The Sandman: Doll's House (The Sandman Library, Vol. 2)
The Sandman: Doll's House (The Sandman Library, Vol. 2)
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Paperback

13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and wonderful, 18 July 2003
This is certainly my favourite of the Sandman series that I have read so far, the others being Preludes and Nocturns, Dream Country, Season of Mists and Brief Lives. In my opinion The Doll's House has one of the better realised story lines, and the way that the different perspectives of the main story, as seen by different characters, blend togther is perfect. It's also the one where I found myself empathising with the characters most, sharing in their losses and triumphs. I have enjoyed all the Sandman books so far, but this one is definitely top of my list so far.


Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog! (Penguin Popular Classics)
Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog! (Penguin Popular Classics)
by Jerome K. Jerome
Edition: Paperback

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words Fail, 10 July 2003
A work of pure comic genius, the like of which may never be repeated again. Written in the late nineteenth century you would be forgiven for thinking that the humour of his book would be dated and fail to amuse the reader of today; you could not be more wrong. Jerome K. Jerome's easy, witty style and sharp observational humour make this the funniest book I've ever read, whilst he also manages to bring to life the charming world of the Victorian era. This book is beautiful, poetic, funny and sad. Don't miss reading it.


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