“Potentially evil. Potentially good, too, I suppose. Just this huge powerful potentiality waiting to be shaped.” // Review of “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

Title: Good Omens
Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Genre: Urban fantasy
Intended audience: Adult
Date Read: 04/08/19 – 11/08/19
Rating: ★★★

Review:

Well, this is a bit awkward. From what everyone’s been saying, I was expecting this to be a 5 star read. And it definitely started off that way. But after a while, I just wished I was reading a Discworld book instead.

There is definitely a fascinating premise here: what happens if the child destined to bring about Armageddon, rather than being evil, is just… basically a good kid?

I think my main issue was that there were a lot of characters, and most of them could have been done without, and the same story still told. I often felt like characters were being introduced just to give the authors a chance to be funny, such as with the Other Four Horsemen. There were pages devoted their conversations and they didn’t even make it to Armageddon.

I honestly feel you could have just had the Crowley and Aziraphale scenes and the Adam and Them scenes, and had roughly the same story. Everyone else I found a bit superfluous.

I do wonder if some of this comes from the fact that I have never clicked with Neil Gaiman’s writing. While it is not written in such a way that you can point to certain parts and say “Gaiman wrote that bit” or “Pratchett wrote that section”, perhaps the Gaiman influence is what put me off? I have always enjoyed Discworld and as I said, reading Good Omens made me wish I was reading a Discworld I haven’t read yet (and there are stll a lot of those).


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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 09 November, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

I was so busy last week that blogging completely slipped my mind, so my answers today reflect my last two weeks’ reading.

What have you recently finished reading?

Yikes. Two DNFs this week! At least it means I’m no longer behind on ARCs (#silverlining).

immortalwriterscoverNeither The Ill-Kept Oath by C. C. Aune nor Immortal Writers by Jill Bower managed to hold my interest. The Ill-Kept Oath had far less fantasy than the blurb promised, and the 25% that I read was just the two girls fussing over a few strange occurrences and the men they fancied. Immortal Writers spawned my first ever DNF review, as I felt I had enough to say about the first half of the book to warrant it. Basically, there were a few narrative choices that I didn’t like, and so the book just didn’t work for me.

infinityyoumecoverFortunately, The Infinity of You and Me by J. Q. Coyle proved far more enjoyable. It was one of those books where I read the first couple of paragraphs and was already thinking “Yesssssssss!” My review for that is here. If you like stories about them multiverse, I definitely recommend this one.

Today I finished Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh, which was cute, though nothing spectacular. Even within the realms of MG, it’s not really something I would read and I really only bought it because I like Richard Roxburgh’s acting work and it was an excuse to get his autograph at a signing. Having said that, it was a quick enough read and the characters were quite vibrant. And I probably would have been pretty into it when I was 12.

Oh, and I listened to the audio book of Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle, which was interesting, though I think I probably lost out with not having the illustrations, even if I did have an atmospheric soundtrack to replace it.

I also reviewed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the original book that came out in 2001, not the movie script) since my last WWW post.

What are you currently reading?

bigbanggenerationI started Doctor Who: Big Bang Generation by Gary Russel (Doctor Who in Australia! 😀 ). This is for the challenge item “a book you intended to read last year and didn’t”. It’s set on Christmas Day 2015, and my plan had been to read it on that day, but then I entirely forgot to buy it in time .

No movement on The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer, but it’s due back to the library next week, so really should get a wriggle-on. I was going to go back to it today, but I can’t deal with war and terroism after the election result, even if the book is about people doing awesome things in the face of it.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am aiming to read Mother of Dreams and Other Short Stories: Portrayals of Women in Modern Japanese Fiction, edited by Makota Ueda. This is another challenge itme, this time for “A book about a culture you are unfamiliar with”. I picked this up by chance recently, so I have no idea what it will be like.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wippetwednesdayThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

When I last shared from the new version of Operation Sugarplum that I’m currently working on, Clara was assuring herself that the runes stopping the lock on her bedroom door from being broken were still there, despite the threats from a stranger on the other side. She’s received rather a shock when the runes glow and then disappear, leaving her vulnerable to physical attack. I’ve got 9 sentences for the 9th of November. (btw, Hanna is Clara’s ladies’ maid/companion).

She spun around and grabbed Hanna’s hand, jumping as she heard the sound of something being smashed against the lock to break it. They both ran into Hanna’s room, and Clara signalled for Hanna to hide herself under the bed. She blew out the candle and ran to Hanna’s wardrobe, flinging the doors open and stepping inside. She pulled the doors closed behind her and held her breath.

She knew she was only delaying the inevitable. She had made the mistake of speaking to General Bauer, whoever he was, so even if he hadn’t been certain at first that he had the right room, he knew now. It was impossible to escape; the windows all opened onto a fifty-foot drop. In a few months’ time, and with the proper training, Clara might have been able to buffet herself and Hanna safely to the ground, but her powers weren’t developed enough for that yet. All she was capable of at this point was startling someone with a blast of heat or light at inopportune moments.

Oh yeah… that just reminded me I need to have some sort of training montage further along where she actually does learn how to use her powers… Should probably remember that… 😉

All right, that’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

Book Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Urban fantasy
Format: Various, available from Amazon
Date Read: 14/01/2014 – 29/01/2014
Rating: ★★★
Review:
neverwhere-coverSigh… I have this real problem with Neil Gaiman… every time I read the back of one of his books, or someone sums them up for me, they sound really, really awesome. But then I try reading them, and I just can’t click with the writing style. So up until now, The Graveyard Book was the only one of his that I had read all the way through to the end. I haven’t even read Coraline, and it’s pretty short. I thought I should read Neverwhere now, though, since it’s full of London Underground puns, which I might actually understand while the London Underground is still reasonably fresh in my head.
Back six months or so ago when Peter Capaldi was announced as Matt Smith’s replacement on Doctor Who, I ordered the BBC mini-series of Neverwhere, because Mr Capaldi played the role of the Angel Islington in it (cue: “The Angel has the phone box” references). It was very standard 1990s BBC fantasy fare, enjoyable, but the production values weren’t great and I couldn’t help thinking that the book was probably better. Sadly, it wasn’t, really, and my main complaint is the same as every second reviewer’s:
Richard Mayhew is a boring hero and the book would have been so much more interesting if the Marquis de Carabas were the main character.
To give you a bit of background, Richard is a normal business man whose life is changed forever when he helps a wounded young woman on the street instead of going to dinner with his fiancée and her boss. Suddenly no one can see him except for those from the world of the young woman he helped. That world is London Below, a world for those who have slipped through the cracks of the real world. It is a bizarre maze of abandoned train platforms, populated by even stranger people. Richard ends up travelling with Door (the woman he helped), Hunter, her bodyguard and the aforementioned Marquis de Carabas, a shady figure who apparently saved Door’s father’s life once and owes her a debt. Richard wants to get home, Door wants to find out who killed her family, Hunter wants to slay the London Beast and no one really knows what the Marquis wants, other than for all debts to be back in his favour.
The main problem with Neverwhere is that it never really feels like the stakes are particularly high. While the world is interesting enough to keep you reading, and I did enjoy understanding the puns on Tube station names like “Earl’s Court” and feeling like I was in the know because I was able to agree with Richard on things like “But Earl’s Court isn’t on the Central Line”, I didn’t exactly wait with baited breath to see how Richard escaped from the “Ordeal of the Key” (which is rather talked up) or what he would do after having his life-force temporarily sucked out of him by a sort of vampire-ice-lady-person. Even when I got to the climax and the true villain of the piece was revealed, my jaw didn’t drop. I didn’t have one of those moments where I had to stop reading for a moment and recover. One might argue that I had already seen the miniseries and perhaps this was why nothing surprised me, but I honestly think I wouldn’t have read all the way to the end had I not known where it was going. (I know, that’s a bit weird, but sometimes I do that; I have been known to read the last pages of books first)
There was also the issue of the author falling into really cliche descriptions of people: Door had an elven face with opal eyes, and all the non-white characters had their skin tones compared to food. I swear, if Hunter was described as “caramel” one more time…
To sum up, I know this is one of Neil Gaiman’s earlier works, so I’m willing to cut some slack, but it does sort of leave me wondering what all the fuss is about…
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