Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman - Book Review

From the publisher: Multiple award winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction following Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Thingswhich includes a never-before published American Gods story, "Black Dog," written exclusively for this volume

In this all-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 as a tale written exclusively for this volume.

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. Full of wonder and terror, surprises and delights, Trigger Warning is a dazzling gift that will engage the mind, stir the heart, and shake the soul from one of the most unique and popular literary artists of our day.

I just finished reading Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, and once again he has hit the ball out of the park.  This is another fantastic collection of short stories from one of the best story-tellers around.  There is no specific theme running through the stories; however, Gaiman mentions that a "trigger warning" suggests that readers should be aware that they may encounter characters or situations that may "trigger" fear or otherwise upset them. (I didn't really see this, although several of the stories are dark, bordering on downright creepy).  

While several of the stories were previously published, but they were all new to me.  Among my favorites are: A Lunar Labyrinth (very creepy); The Case of Death and Honey (a terrific Sherlock Holmes story which also explains how he seems to live longer than he should); Nothing O'Clock (a Doctor Who story with the Eleventh Doctor: It seemed to perfectly capture Matt Smith's portrayal of the Doctor, and was a terrific read); and Kether to Malkuth (a bittersweet story that seems to be even deeper than it appears, and is hard to explain); and The Sleeper and the Spindle (a cool and unique retelling of the Snow White and Sleeping Beauty stories).

Gaiman is a master at his craft, and like pretty much everything else he writes, Trigger Warning is wonderful.  It is immersive and sublime, hiding themes and bigger ideas in prose that is exquisite and easy to read (that should be a book blurb).  

One caution - The main reason I wanted to read this book was for the story Black Dog, which closes the collection (it is a sequel to Gaiman's terrific American Gods).  Unfortunately, my preview copy did not contain this story, which means I'm going to have to work to track it down. 

I highly recommend Trigger Warning. Gaiman fans will love it, and the short story format provides an easy and unintimidating way to sample his works for those looking to read him for the first time.

I received a preview copy of this book from HarperCollins Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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