I just finished Stardust to my disappointment. I am intrigued by Neil's various writing styles. I'm going to put my thoughts down in the hopes that other will expand on them and tell me where I am right and where I am wrong.
Good Omens -I'm a huge fan of Pratchett and this is probably my favorite book ever. I don't feel like this is a good example of Neil's writing as Pratchett seems to shine thorugh more than Neil.
American Gods- I loved this book. The bringing of mythology to modern fiction. I felt like it was vaguly believable and really started my literary relationship with Neil. This to me is his best writing. Althoigh some of the characters where hard to swallow you eventually accepted them for what they were and enjoyed the journey.
Neverwhere - A harder book for me, more fantasy than American Gods. I also think the fact that I am American and have never visited London played a major role in this. In the end I was very happy with this book. The style was very similar to American Gods but considerably darke. Totally worth the read.
Anasi Boys- This book was hard to read. I fought my way through the first 2/3 of the book by shear force. Lots of time was spent setting up a back story that at times seemd like it would never come to fruition. Suddenly this book blosomed, suddenly the story actually started. I was very happy to read this book but am not sure I would read it again. I also felt this book still followed in the general styling of American Gods and Neverwhere.
Stardust- Thos book seemed childish by comparison to all the other ihad read. Half of the potientialy potent story lines where never explored. Most resolution come to cheap and easy. In the end it was hardly worth it. This book was like take the whole of the Chronicles of Narnia and condensing them into a single 200 page book. I feel like he should have further explored the rest of the story, this book would have made a beautiful tome of thousand pages in the tradition of the Neverending Story. I was very saddened to finish it totally un fulfilled.
That's it, that is what I have read of his works in the order I read them.
I 'm curious do others feel the same?
I think people like what they like for different reasons - kinda like music.
I loved Neverwhere one of my favorite novels of all time and I don't live in England.
American Gods was another winner but not quite as good as Neverwhere, but very close.
Good Omens was the 3rd I read and didn't like it as much as the others but I did finish it.
Smoke and Mirrors blew me away! Best collection of short stories ever!!
Coraline I also loved - excellent.
Wolves in the Walls - I felt like a moron searching in the childrens section at the library but it was worth it.
Monarch of the Glen I liked even better than American Gods!
Anansi Boys well, I'm on Page 2.
Stardust I have and it's sitting on my to-read shelf but I'm putting off reading it cause it's the last one I have to read till he writes another.........
Maybe I am biased, well I am, I guess, cause Neil is the best, hands down, no one else even comes close and I am totally in AWE whenever I read anything of his.
My only critism would be that he doesn't have 100's of books to keep me reading forever!
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I am curious as to whether people who read the text only version of Stardust as opposed to the comic book version with Charles Vess art feel differently about the book as a rule?
I can't imagine the story without the art and can see where it may not be as enjoyable.
This is just my observation. Since I read the comic first there is no way for me to experience it for the first time as a book only.
I've read Stardust twice now. I felt the same way about it the first time I read it as Usagiel. I reread it after reading Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell because I wanted to read something light and quick and I thoroughly enjoyed it -- much more the second time around. I liked that it reminded me of stories Narnia, especially the second go around.
I really need to pick up the one Vess illustrated, I think that would make it even better.
Even though I enjoyed American Gods and Neverwhere more than Stardust, I really liked the whimsical style Neil employed in it. I think that's one of the great things about Neil's writing: he doesn't have a set style.
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Hmmm..first read Stardust as a novel then found the comic. I liked it. You have to understand that it's Neil choosing to write a certain type or story in a certain kind of style, much like "A Study in Emerald."
In this case, there are a couple of things you could read to gain a better understanding of what Neil's doing with Stardust: Lud-in-the-Mist (which Neil has mentioned numerous times, and which is remarkably like Stardust) and his friend Susanna Clarke's short story "The Duke of Wellington Misplaces his Horse", which also features the village of Wall.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Uskglass,
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I think it depends on the type of story you're looking for. Stardust is a fairy tale--it's written like one, it reads like one, and it has all the elements of one. It is, naturally, more childish than Neil's other works, but that's not necessarily bad.
Frankly, I think Neil's at his best when working with these odd sorts of fairy worlds. I'm reading American Gods right now, but it doesn't seem to catch me the same way these do. Of course, that might be because at the moment, I'm in a very fairy-tale mood, and American Gods is about as un-fairy-tale as it comes. Probably, when I'm in a darker mood, I'll re-read it, and end up loving it to death.
Still, both Neverwhere and Stardust I adore, just because they employ such fantastic worlds with such beautify, but also with such darkness to them. Niel gives us a sense of fairy tales as frightening things, and if you stop to think about them, they really are. I mean, there's people dying and getting body parts hacked out and getting eaten all over the place. Scary.
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I agree with the other posts; Gaiman's work always has a je ne se quois that makes it uniquely his, and identifiable as such. (I could pin down the je ne se quois, but it'd take more than part of a sentence.) I've noticed patterns in his writing, especially within the Smoke & Mirrors and Fragile Things, but for the most part, his books each have a disctinct flavor. One can't open Stardust and expect it to be the same kind of story as Neverwhere or any other books. I look forward to everything he writes because I know that whatever its flavor, I'm going to enjoy it because it's Gaiman.
You said that you felt the resolution came cheap and easy. I'm not sure what you mean by that, can you explain?
Maybe you're feeling the same way I did when I first read it; that there wasn't a big climax in the end. Instead things just sort of unraveled and the climax was actually closer to the middle of the book. When I first finished reading it this completely threw me for a loop and I felt rather unsatisfied.
A few weeks later I went to see the movie and that had the dramatic final scene I'd been expecting which was great. But then I thought more about the book and I started to realize that actually Neil's ending had worked perfectly for the kind of fairy tale he'd written. I'm rambling now but my point is that I thought the ending was far from cheap and easy and was actually very original and enjoyable. But it's all a matter of taste, nothing wrong with not liking Stardust as much as some of his other works.
As for reading the novel first without illustrations that's what I did. Now I am going back and reading the original version and it is even more enjoyable.
I just finished the book yesterday & I loved it. It also reminded me of Howl's Moving Castle because of the poem at the beginning, for one, but also because it's written in the fairy tale style but transcends it & plays with it & combines fairyland with our world. I liked the humour & how it plays with the conventions of the fairy tale genre. I think I expected it to be darker, as the short stories from Smoke and Mirrors are; but I loved its lightness & had to giggle at the Great Expectations echo.
The only thing I found a bit weird was that the book seemed to rush it a bit after Tristran & Yvaine get off the ship in the sky; at that point, he starts summarising adventures instead of telling them, so I was wondering whether he was getting fed up with it & just wanted to get to the end of the book. I understand that from an authorial book, there was no need to elaborate on the stories as they did not include any of the key characters, but it still made me wonder a bit.
I also saw the trailer for the film a few days ago & am now really looking forward to going to see it!
Oh, yes, one other thing: I read the text only version & liked it, but then for me illustrations are always nice but not strictly necessary as I'm not a very visual type, & I usually imagine the characters differently anyway.
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