Posted in 2021, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Graphic Novel, Neil Gaiman

The Sandman Volume 3: Dream Country by @neilhimself

One of the most popular and critically acclaimed graphic novels of all time, Neil Gaiman’s award-winning masterpiece The Sandman set the standard for mature, lyrical fantasy in the modern comics era. Illustrated by an exemplary selection of the medium’s most gifted artists, the series is a rich blend of modern and ancient mythology in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven.  

Four unique episodes form the tapestry of Dream Country: “Calliope,” “A Dream of a Thousand Cats,” “Façade,” and the acclaimed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”—the only comic book story ever to win the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction. Also included is Gaiman’s original script for “Calliope,” with annotations from both the writer and the artist. Collects The Sandman #17-20.

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I don’t have any idea.

PROLOGUE

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(@vertigo_comics, 18 December 2018, ebook, 158 pages, bought from @AmazonKindle)

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I really enjoyed Dream Country. I’ve become a massive fan of The Sandman and can see what all the fuss is about. This is a bit shorter than the previous volumes which disappointed me because I got lost in the book and didn’t want it to end so was disappointed when I turned the page to find the original script for Calliope. I wanted more. I thought Calliope was the best episode in this volume, by far, very dark at times, a real delight. I also discovered a much easier way to read the book on my kindle rather than peering at quite small text. Yeah me! I look forward to volume four.

Posted in 2021, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Graphic Novel, Neil Gaiman

The Sandman Volume 2: The Doll’s House by @neilhimself

The second instalment of Neil Gaiman’s seminal series, THE SANDMAN VOL. 2: THE DOLL’S HOUSE, celebrates its 30th anniversary with all all-new edition!

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

During Morpheus’s incarceration, three dreams escaped the Dreaming and are now loose in the waking world. At the same time, a young woman named Rose Walker is searching for her little brother. As their stories converge, a vortex is discovered that could destroy all dreamers, and the world itself.

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There are tales that are told many times.

PROLOGUE

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(@vertigo_comics, 20 November 2018, ebook, 224 pages, bought from @AmazonKindle)

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I enjoyed this even more than the first volume and can’t wait to read the rest of the series. I get why people rave about The Sandman so much. I don’t read a lot of graphic novels but may need to read more in future if the standing and quality is anything like this. This would be fantastic to read in hardback as the kindle version was a little clunky to read at times and I had to mess around with the page view and setting a couple of times. More characters are introduced in this volume and I look forward to seeing how they develop. I thought this was great.  

Posted in 2021, Comic Book, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Graphic Novel, Neil Gaiman, Top Books

The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by @neilhimself

Neil Gaiman’s seminal series, THE SANDMAN, celebrates its 30th anniversary with an all-new edition of THE SANDMAN VOL. 1: PRELUDES & NOCTURNES!

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series THE SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

This book also includes the story “The Sound of Her Wings,” which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky Goth girl Death.

Collects THE SANDMAN #1-8.

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Wake up sir, we’re here.

JUNE 6TH, 1916, WYCH CROSS, ENGLAND (SLEEP OF THE JUST)

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(@vertigo_comics, 30 October 2018, ebook, 237 pages, bought from @AmazonKindle)

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Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite writers. I’ve wanted to read The Sandman for ages. I’m glad I finally got round to starting the series. I loved Volume 1: Prologue and Nocturnes and can’t wait to read the rest of the series. I don’t often read graphic novels / comic books but tend to enjoy them when I do so I plan to branch out a book and read more. This has everything I’d expect from a Nail Gaiman book, a dark, dazzling delight. I loved it.

Posted in 2020, Audible, Audio Drama, Audiobook, Fantasy Fiction, Neil Gaiman, Top Books

The Sandman by @neilhimself

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times Magazine as “the greatest epic in the history of comic books”, The Sandman changed the game with its dark, literary world of fantasy and horror – creating a global, cultural phenomenon in the process. At long last, Audible and DC present the first-ever audio production of the New York Times best-selling series written by acclaimed storyteller Neil Gaiman (who also serves as co-executive producer). Adapted and directed by multi-award-winner (and frequent Gaiman collaborator) Dirk Maggs, and performed by an ensemble cast with James McAvoy (It, Parts One and Two, X-Men: First Class, Split) in the title role, this first instalment of a multi-part original audio series will transport you to a world that re-writes the rules of audio entertainment the way that The Sandman originally re-defined the graphic novel. 

When The Sandman, also known as Lord Morpheus – the immortal king of dreams, stories and the imagination – is pulled from his realm and imprisoned on Earth by a nefarious cult, he languishes for decades before finally escaping. Once free, he must retrieve the three “tools” that will restore his power and help him to rebuild his dominion, which has deteriorated in his absence. As the multi-threaded story unspools, The Sandman descends into Hell to confront Lucifer (Michael Sheen), chases rogue nightmares who have escaped his realm, and crosses paths with an array of characters from DC comic books, ancient myths, and real-world history, including: Inmates of Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, Doctor Destiny, the muse Calliope, the three Fates, William Shakespeare (Arthur Darvill), and many more. 

A powerhouse supporting cast helps translate this masterwork into a sonic experience worthy of its legacy, including Riz Ahmed, Kat Dennings, Taron Egerton, Samantha Morton, Bebe Neuwirth, Andy Serkis, and more. Setting the stage for their performance is an unprecedented cinematic soundscape featuring an original musical score by British Academy Award winner James Hannigan. Fans will especially revel in a new twist for the audio adaptation: Neil Gaiman himself serves as the narrator. Follow him as he leads listeners along a winding path of myths, imagination and, often, terror. Even in your wildest dreams, you’ve never heard anything like this.

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(Audible Originals, 15 July 2020, 10 hours 54 minutes, audiobook, bought from @audibleuk, various narrators)

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So I’ve never read The Sandman. I’m a huge fan of the author so don’t know why I’ve never got round to reading it. I don’t read a lot of graphic novels. I thought this was an incredible production. I will definitely read the book now. The quality of the production is a high as I’ve come to expect from Audible Original Drama’s. As for the book itself, I thought it was incredible. The Sandman features characters from myth and legend as well as completely new figures. It’s very dark at times and quite intense. I got completely caught up in the story as I was listening. This is a corker. 

Posted in 2020, Audible, Audiobook, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Horror, Neil Gaiman, Novel, Top Books, YA Fiction

Coraline by @neilhimself

Coraline has been made into an animated feature film directed by Henry Selick, director of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, with a cast including Teri Hatcher, Ian McShane, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Dakota Fanning.

Shortly after moving into an old house Coraline discovers a big, carved, brown wooden door at the far corner of the drawing room. And it is locked. Curiosity runs riot in Coraline’s mind and she unlocks the door to see what lies behind it. Disappointingly, it opens onto a brick wall. Days later, after exploring the rest of the house and garden, Coraline returns to the same mysterious door and opens it again. This time, however, there is a dark hallway in front of her. Stepping inside, the place beyond has an eerie familiarity about it. The carpet and wallpaper are the same as in her flat. The picture hanging on the wall is the same. Almost. Strangest of all, her mum and dad are there too. Only they have buttons for eyes and seem more possessive than normal. It’s a twisted version of her world that is familiar, and yet sinister. And matters get even more surreal for Coraline when her “other” parents seem reluctant to let her leave.

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[Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house]

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(@BloomsburyBooks, 5 March 2019, 3 hours 34 minutes, audiobook, copy from @audibleuk, narrated by @Dawn_French)

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I’m a massive fan of the author. I haven’t read all of his books but I have loved everything I had read. I’m familiar with Coraline through the movie, which I’ve seen a ridiculous amount of times. I had high hopes for this book but also knew what to expect. First off, the movie is an excellent adaptation, very close to this text. That doesn’t meant I didn’t enjoy this. I loved it. Dawn French is amazing. She’s one of my favourite comedienne’s. Her narration is spot on here. She really brings the characters and world to life. I was hooked from the opening of the book and listened to it in one setting. What I love is the fact you get lulled into a false sense of security. You don’t sense anything sinister when Coraline meets her ‘Other’ Parents but the story gradually gets darker and darker until you realise how horrific it really is and how much danger Coraline is in. This is terrific.  

Posted in 2019, Around The Year In 52 Books 2019, Audible, Audiobook, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Neil Gaiman, Novel, Top Books

Neverwhere by @neilhimself

From Neil Gaiman, one of the great masters of fantasy, comes another epic romp through the hilarious, the surreal and the downright bizarre. Get comfortable: you’re not going to want to stop listening.

Under the streets of London there’s a world most people could never even dream of: a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, and pale girls in black velvet. Richard Mayhew is a young businessman who is about to find out more than he bargained for about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his safe and predictable life and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and yet utterly bizarre.

There’s a girl named Door, an Angel called Islington, an Earl who holds Court on the carriage of a Tube train, a Beast in a labyrinth, and dangers and delights beyond imagining…. And Richard, who only wants to go home, is to find a strange destiny waiting for him below the streets of his native city.

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[The night before we went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself]

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(@headlinepg, 17 May 2012, audiobook, 12 hours 33 minutes, Around the Year in 52 Books 2019, speculative fiction, bought from @audibleuk)

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Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite writers. His fantasy fiction is among the best ever written. I loved every word of this audiobook. I found myself completely absorbed and sucked into the world created by Gaiman. I loved the concept of the book. I loved the London Below Richard finds himself catapulted into when he determines to help a girl who’s been injured unaware she’s from a strange alternative version of his city and unsure why his fiancé is so angry at him for helping someone that she breaks off their engagement. I loved Richard’s adventures in London Below. Gaiman does a great job of bringing this strange world to life. It’s very like regular London except there are monsters and a labyrinth and other weird stuff. Richard is sort of hapless, he did his duty and helped Door and just wants to go home and try and fix his broken engagement yet he keeps getting thrown into action and danger in London Below. I loved the light and dark in the book.

Posted in 2019, a233 set texts, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Graphic Novel, Neil Gaiman, Top Books

Stardust by @neilhimself

Half a crusading epic, half based in Tolkien-esque mythology, Neil Gaiman’s award-winning graphic novel fantasy is now back in a brand-new edition!

It is here in Wall that young Tristran Thorn loses his heart to the town beauty–a woman who is as cold and distant as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crisp October evening. To gain the hand of his beloved, Tristran rashly vows to fetch the fallen star and embarks upon a lover’s quest that will carry him over the ancient wall and into a world beyond his wildest imagings.

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust features the New York Times best-selling author (The Sandman) and one of the industry’s best illustrators at the height of their creative powers. 

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[There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire]

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(@vertigo_comics, 19 February 2019, paperback, 160 pages, bought from @AmazonUK, set text for @OpenUniversity course starting October 2019)

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I’ve seen the movie multiple times and love it but never got round to reading the book. The graphic novel is every bit as brilliant as the movie, filled with larger than life characters and magic. This is a gorgeous graphic novel. The illustrations are of a very high quality and quite beautiful at times. They really help bring the book to life. I loved this book. Every page was a delight to read. I can’t quite get over how gorgeous the illustrations are. The book includes the original book proposal for Stardust which is full of illustrations as well which was an extra treat.

Posted in 2018, Audible, Audiobook, Contemporary Fiction, Neil Gaiman, Short Fiction

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by @neilhimself

Global phenomenon and Sunday Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction, following smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things, which includes a never-before-published American Gods story, “Black Dog”.

In this new volume, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction–stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013–as well as “Black Dog”, a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods.

Trigger Warning is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explores the realm of experience and emotion.

In “Adventure Story”–a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane–Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience, “A Calendar of Tales”, is short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months-of-the-year-stories of pirates and theMarch winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on SherlockHolmes in his award-nominated mystery tale “The Case of Death and honey”. And “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.

A writer whose creative genius is unparalleled, Gaiman entrances with his literary alchemy, transporting us deep into the realm of imagination, where the fantastical becomes real and the everyday incandescent. Trigger Warning engages the mind, stirs the heart, and shakes the soul. Neil Gaiman is one of the most original and popular literary artists of our day.

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[Today I intended to begin to write – MAKING A CHAIR]

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(Audible Audio, 3 February 2015, audiobook,11 hours 5 minutes, narrated by the author, Audible)

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Stories Included:

  • Making A Chair
  • A Lunar Labyrinth
  • The Thing About Cassandra
  • Down To  A  Sunless Sea
  • The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains
  • My Last Landlady
  • Adventure Story
  • Orange
  • A Calendar Of Tales
  • The Case Of Death And Honey
  • The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury
  • Jerusalem
  • Clack-Clack The Rattlebag
  • An Invocation Of Incuriosity
  • And Weep, Like Alexander
  • Nothing O’Clock
  • Diamonds And Pearls: A Fairy Tale
  • The Return Of The Thin White Duke
  • Feminine Endings
  • Observing The Formalities
  • The Sleeper And The Spindle
  • Witch Work
  • In Relig Odhrain
  • Black Dog

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I’m a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s work. Some of the myfavourites include American Gods and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The collection gets off to a shaky start with a pretentious, name-dropping introduction. The stories more than made up for it though. I adored BlackDog, an American Gods story. It was a corker. I also loved the Doctor Who story though I can’t remember what it was called. I also really enjoyed TheTruth is a Cave in the Black Mountains. I’ve read The Sleeper and the spindle before but it was a treat to listen to it here. This is a very good collection of stories and passed away the hours as I was writing in the mornings before going to work.

Posted in 2018, Amanda Gowin, Anthology, Brian Kirk, Christopher Coake, Clive Barker, Contemporary Fiction, Damien Angelica Walters, Horror Fiction, John F.D. Taff, Josh Malerman, Kevin Lucia, Lisa Mannetti, Maria Alexander, Mercedes M. Yardley, Neil Gaiman, Paul Tremblay, Prime Reading, Ramsey Campbell, Richard Thomas, Short Fiction, Stephanie M. Wytovich

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories

From Bram Stoker Award-nominated publisher, Crystal Lake Publishing, and the editing duo who brought you the best-selling and critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories—a disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness.

Awe meets ache.

Terror becomes transcendence.

Regret gives way to rebirth.

Fifteen short stories and one poem span nearly every twisted corner of the horror and dark fiction genres:

A woman experiences an emotional reckoning inside a haunted house.

A father sees his daughter rescued after a cold case is solved, only to learn the tragic limits of his love.

A man awakens a vengeful spirit and learns the terrible price of settling scores.

A boy comes of age into awareness of a secret universe of Lovecraftian scale.

A young woman confronts the deathly price of existence inside a German concentration camp during the Holocaust.

And much, much more…

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories features the most celebrated voices in dark fiction, as well as a number of exciting new talents:

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[The Acromantula is a monstrous eight-legged spider capable of human speech]

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(Crystal Lake Publishing, 24 June 2016, ebook, 380 pages, Prime Reading)

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Stories included:

  • The Morning After Was Filled with Bone by Stephanie M. Wytovich
  • Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave by Brian Kirk
  • Arbeit Macht Frei by Lisa Mannetti
  • The Problem of Susan by Neil Gaiman
  • Dominion by Christopher Coake
  • Water Thy Bones by Mercedes M. Yardley
  • A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken by Paul Tremblay
  • On The Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes by Damien Angelica Walters
  • Repent by Richard Thomas
  • Coming to Grief by Clive Barker
  • Cards for His Spades, Coins for His Fare by John F.D. Taff
  • Cellar’s Dog by Amanda Gowin
  • When We All Meet at the Ofrenda by Kevin Lucia
  • Hey, Little Sister by Maria Alexander
  • The One You Live With by Josh Malerman
  • The Place of Revelation by Ramsey Campbell

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This is a cracking collection of short stories. Some household names are featured including Neil Gaiman, Paul Tremblay, Clive Barker and Ramsey Campbell. I enjoyed every story in this collection. Some stories are darker than others and there’s a good mix of different story types here. I particularly enjoyed Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave by Brian Kirk, Dominion by Christopher Coake, Coming to Grief by Clive Barker and When We All Meet at the Ofrenda by Kevin Lucia.

4 STAR RATING

Posted in 2017, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Neil Gaiman, Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017, Top Books

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic—an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this tenth anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.

A storm is coming

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbours secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

Relevant and prescient, American Gods has been lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distils the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is, quite simply, an outstanding work of literary imagination that will endure for generations.

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[Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough, and looked don’t-fuck-with-me-enough that his biggest problem was killing time. So he kept himself in shape, and taught himself coin tricks, and thought a lot about how much he loved his wife]

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(William Morrow, April 2017 (first published 2001), ebook, bought from Amazon)

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a book based on mythology’. This is my final book. Just in time for the 2018 challenge.

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I read this book, years ago. I remembered almost nothing about the book except that it blew me away. I recently saw the TV show on Amazon and thought it was amazing and it made me want to read the book again. When I saw the ebook on sale for 99p I couldn’t resist.

American Gods is awesome. I mean, sincerely, awesome. I loved it. I loved every word. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Did I mention it was awesome yet? Buy it and read and love it and worship it. The book is awesome-sauce. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

I loved the way Gaiman takes so many different myths, some older than others, some I’ve never heard of and uses them as a basis for something so original and interesting. I’m very impressed.

The ending of American Gods is not what I expected at all. When Shadow finds out the real deal and why Wednesday chose him, I was taken completely by surprise. I read the book more than 10 years ago and my memory is hazy. At first, I felt cheated, then and I thought, wow, I like where the story went. Sheer brilliance.

So anyway, American Gods is amazing.

An interesting aside: every time Wednesday appears in the book I saw Ian McShane in my head and heard his voice. Slightly creepy (he plays Wednesday in the show).

5 STAR RATING