Book Review: Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally picked up this delightful faery tale for adults by Neil Gaiman. Like all his books, I immediately fell in love with it. It has a whimsical playfulness that enchanted me as he took a traditional form and made it his own. It is not heavy duty, two or three quick sessions and you’ll be finished, although I dare say it has a lot to say once you let it weave it’s magic. What are the things that bind us today? How far will we go for the things we love? Thanks again Neil Gaiman for the magic you liberally sprinkle into our world, and for the way you open our eyes to the magic all around us.

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Review: The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

The Drowning of Arthur Braxton
The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Never judge a book by its cover, or so they say. With this book I did. Picked it up at the local library as I was intrigued by the faceless figure on the front and the title. An impulse selection. Wasn’t really sure what to expect at all. I almost gave up after the first chapter or so, not feeling totally easy with the subject matter and the language, but I’m glad I didn’t, as it gradually developed into a dark but satisfying modern fairy tale. Set in an old Edwardian bathhouse, The Oracle, it tells the tale of Laurel and Arthur, two teenagers subjected to hard, abusive childhoods with little pleasure and light in them. The Oracle is said to contain healing waters, but do they find peace and release here? Written in first person, switching from character to character, this novel explores the turmoil of growing up, dysfunctional relationships and family life. Much more I can’t say without straying into spoilers, except to say I agree with the quote on the back cover; it is ‘strange, beautiful and wholly unexpected’.

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Review: Fables: The Good Prince

Fables: The Good Prince (Fables, #10)Fables: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although this is the first compilation of Fables comics that I’ve listed on, I’ve read all of them to this point, and I have to say that I enjoyed this one as much as the best of the rest. A cracking compilation. For those who haven’t discovered them yet, they’re take the characters that we grew up hearing about in Fairy Tales and say what if they were real, and what if they had been forced out of the world they lived in by an evil dictator ‘The Emperor’ and forced to flee into our world, the Mundy world (muggle world if you’re a Harry Potter fan). Here they live in ‘disguise’ pretending to be normal human beings except for those that are animals – these are hidden away on the farm. I love the way they take elements from those childhood tales and adapt them to fit the modern world, or twist them in new and surprising ways. I have also loved the way the characters and the plot lines have developed so far – in that respect these graphic novels have the feel of the best of modern TV series such as Heroes or Lost.

This edition covers the tale of Fly, the janitor or caretaker to the Mayor of the Fables as the fairy tale characters are called, revealing just who he really is (much to my delight as well considering some of my roleplaying favourites),and also touching on stories about Cinderella, Prince Charming and Aladdin.

If you haven’t found these gems, do yourself a favour and hunt them down, find a place where you won’t be disturbed and recite after me, ‘Once upon a time…’

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