Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

From Goodreads:
In this new anthology, 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 "Black Dog," a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.
Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore 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" are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year--stories of pirates and the March 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 Sherlock Holmes 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.
FINALLY!  It's taken several tries, but I FINALLY get the appeal of Gaiman's writing.  I was less than impressed with The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Neverwhere, but I fell in love with this collection of short fiction.  I hadn't read anything of his other than novel-length books, so all of this was new to me, although some of it has been printed before.  This totally lived up to my expectations of Gaiman as a teller of creepy tales.  I even enjoyed the Dr. Who story, which I didn't expect as I'm not really a fan of fan-fiction.  Obviously, this was done by an expert and I appreciated the way he added to canon without making any changes.

Entertainment Value
Again, I feel like I finally get what all the Gaiman hype is about.  These are certainly well-written, but I think the largest appeal lies in how disturbing and engrossing each of these stories are.  Nothing here drags and even the stories intended for specific fandoms can be appreciated by all readers.  I really appreciated the creep factor present in many of the stories ("Click-Clack the Rattlebag" is my favorite) and found delightful fantasy elements in the stories that aren't as frightening.

This is a well-rounded collection with a bit of something for everyone, from fans of horror to fantasy to geekdoms.  Some stories are scary, some are funny, and some are moving, but all move quickly and keep the reader engaged.  My book club read this together, courtesy of Book Club Girls, and we all enjoyed it immensely despite having widely varying tastes in fiction.

Thanks to Book Club Girl for providing us with a copy to read! This closes out our six month adventure with the Book Club Girl program.  A huge thanks to Onalee and Harper Collins for the great opportunity and the wonderful books!

1 comment:

  1. I've been meaning to read this one, but like you I've had less-than-loving feelings about Gaiman's books. (Though for some reason I rated them highly on Goodreads? Social pressure I guess.) I'll take your rec as a sign that this one really is worth reading. :)