I meant to just read this book when I was on my trip to Ecuador next week, but decided to finish it now since my library has a bunch of books I put on hold come up for me to borrow. If I can finish a few others one before Monday I am going to be happy.
Back to this collection. Meh. And you also get an eyeroll.
Gaiman begins this going into how he became fascinated by "trigger warnings" and how they morphed from being a warning you saw onto the internet to them being used by professors in colleges are using this now for warnings to their students before they read a book they fear may upset them. Then he does a huge condescending take about how as adults we should read without any warnings besides knowing what you read is at your own risk.
First, many reviewers like myself use trigger warnings in order to warn potential readers about something that may upset them. For me, I always warn other reviewers about a rape scene being depicted in the book. Since every 98 seconds someone is raped in the United States, I feel like for a lot of us out there, we have experienced that first hand, we don't want to read about it if we have the option to skip over it. Heck, people won't watch movies that show an animal being hurt/killed and I don't mock people for feeling that way.
Second, there seems to be two things going on in his introduction. People using trigger warnings on the internet to warn someone about a picture or image that would be hard to see I think is always a good thing. I do agree that college is a time for learning and to stretch yourself. Heck, I didn't even know you could refuse to read a book or material because it upset you. Do I think that things like that have gotten a little out of hand? Yes, possibly. But I think the intentions behind it are good.
Third, you don't have to be condescending about what other people do and don't read. And also if you are going to act as if your stories in your collection are going to be so dark and so scary that you have to warn readers you better damn well bring it. He did not. This was a mediocre collection at best. I only liked/loved two stories and wish that they were available to buy solo. I refuse to buy this book just to have those two stories.
"Making a Chair" (1 star)-I called this, great Neil Gaiman is writing another poem that I can just skip right over. I am not a fan of his poems. My streak continues alive.
"A Lunar Labyrinth" (2 stars)-This was confusing. I also got really bored. I think that main narrator was a bad person and or possibly a murder. I have no idea. I was mildly intrigued by the idea of a labyrinth that you could walk during a full moon. The images that it evoked in my mind while reading were more interesting than actually finishing this story.
"The Thing About Cassandra" (1 star)-Nope. I don't even want to get into this whole thing besides I found it to be a waste of time.
"Down to a Sunless Sea" (1 star)-I don't know. I can't even say something pithy. It didn't move me beyond wanting to get to the next story so I could be done with this one. At least it was fairly short. It only ended up being like three electronic pages.
"The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains..."(4 stars)-This one was actually interesting. I think that it could have been a bit longer since I found myself very fascinated by the main character who comes to call on a man named Calum MacInnes who can lead him to a cave full of gold. I did love the foreshadowing that Gaiman sets up in this story. And it's a long winding road but you start to realize why this little man was so intent on hiring Calum MacInnes. The ending was good.
"My Last Landlady" (1 star)-It's not a poem, but is trying to be. Enough said.
"Adventure Story" (1 star)-I still don't get the point of this story.
"Orange" (3 stars)-I liked the whole idea that it was a story, but a subject's response to a questionnaire. I really wish that we could have seen the questions too though. I spent more time trying to guess what the questions were to make the answers work.
"A Calendar of Tales" (3 stars)-You get 12 mini short stories that are pegged to the calendar. So you get a January Tale, February Tale, and so on. I imagine that these are the tales that were told by the months that came to life that are featured in one of Gaiman's other short story collections. Some were interesting, some were not.
"The Case of Death and Honey" (1 star)-This is a Sherlock Holmes tale and it's a story within a story within an even stupider story. It didn't make any sense. The changing text size and fonts were hard to read and just helped make things worse.
"The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury" (1 star)-Shrug.
"Jerusalem"(3 stars)-This was an interesting story about a couple that travels to Jerusalem and the affect the place has on them. I wish this could have been longer or provided some more details here and there.
"Click-Clack the Rattlebag" (3 stars)-The only semi-scary story in the whole book.
"An Invocation of Incuriousity" (3 stars)-An interesting idea that intrigued me but then the story kind of fell apart for me.
"And Weep, Like Alexander" (2 stars)-If I ever met the guy who is the uninventor in this story I would have probably have moved away from him cause he sounds really annoying.
"Nothing O'Clock" (3 stars)-This is a Doctor Who short story. I honestly cannot even remember if this made it into the series or not since I have stopped watching that show (sorry it got ridiculous and boring and if it makes you dislike me, have at it) so it was nice to read a story starring Eleven (The Doctor) and Amy Pond. It really felt weird that it was in this collection though. And it definitely highlights my issues with The Doctor and his former companions that were not Rose or Donna.
"Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale"(1 star)-This was short and weird. And not in a good way.
"The Return of the Thin White Duke" (1 star)-I feel like I am missing out on some big idea that Gaiman was going for in most of his stories. I feel like mumbling the phrase "try hard" when I read most of these stories.
"Feminine Endings" (2 stars)-Oh joy, we get to read about a stalker (possibly a living statue) that is judging a woman who watches him on her trips back and forth just enjoying her life. I don't give it 2 stars because of that. I give it 2 stars because it was boring and just lame.
"Observing the Formalities" (2 stars)-I am just going to pretend this is the lead in to the next story and ignore it being some weird spoken poem sort of thing.
"The Sleeper and the Spindle" (5 stars)-I really enjoyed this a whole lot. I could read about a kick ass Snow White all day. I wonder about any further adventures she is going to have.
"Witch Work" (1 star)-Another poem. It's short.
"In Relig Odhrain" (1 star)-A poem.
"Black Dog" (5 stars)-We see what Shadow has been up to since we have read of him in "Monarch of the Glen". I loved it. It has callbacks to characters we know like Bast and references to Odin too. Due to Shadow and who he is (no spoilers) I liked how this was done. And honestly I was stunned by misdirection I got. I definitely did not see any of this coming.