I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman so I had high expectations about this book but it left me completely cold. The stories are very similar to each other and there's no variety. It seemed to me they were put together as an excuse just to release the final story based on American Gods....Continua
Collections are difficult beasts to handle, especially when they bring together material that ranges from the very short to the novella, touching different genres and subgenres, often out of the original context they were written for.
It is easy, when rating such a book on the whole, to base yourself on the parts you didn't like rather than the bits you liked - and there are some stories and snippets I felt fell flat, or didn't really add anything to the book. I also think that the bits written for Tori Amos probably made more sense alongside the music than by themselves.
On the other side, the writing is usually pretty good Gaiman, and there are some precious and absolute gems like A study in emerald, Instructions or Sunbird that are well worth the price of the book. If you like American Gods, you also can't miss the Monarch of the Glen novella, that brings Shadow back in an unusual retelling of a well known Old English poem.
I would not recommend this as a starting point to read Neil Gaiman, but it's a very enjoyable read if you're familiar with the author.
La mia recensione:
Two and a half stars.
Some of the stories are good, some just all right, some quite pointless. I didn't care much for most of the stories in the first half of the book. Quite surprisingly, most of them won an award of some sort; which either speaks regards the quality of the stories which were submitted to such competitions, or it means that I am not as clever a reader as I think.
The last few stories of the book seemed to me to stand far above the rest. "Goliath", set in the Matrix universe, is intelligent and highly enjoyable; "How to talk to girls at parties" is strikingly original; I also enjoyed "Sunbird", and I was delighted to meet Shadow again, in "The monarch of the Glen".
Four stars to all the stories I mentioned; the rest, unfortunately, drags the overall rating down.