This might be an unusual review because this is the first Gaiman book I've read, bought it to see if all the fuss was justified, so I came with no preconceptions of what a Neil Gaiman book should be like. I'll certainly be looking for more of this.
What you get is a collection of stories and a handful of poems, mostly previously published in themed anthologies, on websites or musician's tour booklets, with a couple specifically dedicated (to Ray Bradbury and Gaiman's daughter). So the subject matter and tone is tremendously varied. Gaiman is a master storyteller, writes beautifully, and what shines through from this anthology is his deep love of storytelling in all its forms, from fairy tales to the Arabian Nights, the Comedia dell'arte and Beowulf.
Is it any good ? The best stuff here is magnificent. "October in the Chair" will feel like settling into an old armchair for Bradbury fans, "A Study in Emerald" crosses Sherlock Holmes with Lovecraft in a way which is genuinely fresh and surprising, "Harlequin Valentine" (my favourite) traces Harlequin and Columbine's on-off romance in small-town America, while "The Monarch of the Glen" reworks an old story with subtlety and pathos. And "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire" is a very funny send-up of gothic horror.
So,I'll certainly be looking out for more of this !
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