Title: Coraline

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Absolute Press

The Blurb

There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house – the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Coraline has moved into a new home, she is bored…and she is lonely. When she goes through a mystery door in the new house everything appears to be exactly the same except it is totally different. For one thing, her mum and dad seem to have buttons for eyes which is weird. It is up to Coraline to solve the mystery of this alternative world.

The story of Coraline is quintessentially Gaiman. It is a modern day fairy tale with a fantasy twist and it was an absolute joy to read. I think I may need to watch the movie now.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman is available now.

For more information regarding Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) please visit www.neilgaiman.com.

Title: Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 436 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

Under the streets of London lies a world most people could never dream of.

When Richard Mayhew helps a mysterious girl he finds bleeding on the pavement, his boring life changes in an instant. Her name is Door, she’s on the run from two assassins in black suits and she comes from London Below.

His act of kindness leads him to a place filled with monsters and angels, a Beast in a labyrinth and an Earl who holds Court in a Tube train.

It is strangely familiar yet utterly bizarre.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Fantasy is not my genre of choice but there is something so welcoming about the weird worlds that Neil Gaiman creates that I find myself drawn to his stories.

I had bought myself the Chris Riddell illustrated edition of Neverwhere sometime last year and I kept it by my bedside promising myself over and over that it would be my next read. Eventually, it came to pass and man was I captivated.

The story blends the old and the new; London Above and London Below. Richard – a man from Above, gets lost in the labyrinthine world of Below. As is Above self starts to fade he begins his adventure below and realises that there is more to the world than the eye can see.

Neverwhere is truly a special story that is so easy to get lost in and once again reaffirms my faith that Neil Gaiman is a master story teller.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is available now.

For more information regarding Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) please visit www.neilgaiman.com.

For more information regarding Chris Riddell (@chrisriddell50) please visit www.chrisriddell.co.uk.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

Title: How the Marquis Got his Coat Back

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 64 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

Neverwhere short story from one of the brightest, most brilliant writers of our generation – the Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning The Ocean At the End of the Lane.

The coat. It was elegant. It was beautiful. It was so close that he could have reached out and touched it.

And it was unquestionably his.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Every time I pick up a book by Neil Gaiman I get cross with myself that I haven’t read more. That being said, one of my upcoming books to be read is Neil Gaimain’s Neverwhere. Therefore I decided to read How the Marquis Got his Coat Back – an accompanying story – just to get myself in the Neil Gaiman groove.

I’m so glad I did.

How the Marquis Got his Coat Back is chock full of interesting characters who are whimsical in nature and even though they are reaching into the realms of fantasy come across as quite normal and commonplace.

The story centres on how, indeed, the marquis got his coat back – his coat sounds wonderful, lots of pockets – and even though it is only 64 pages in length I feel that I was submerged into the world of Neverwhere. Now I cannot wait to read the full length novel.

How the Marquis Got his Coat Back by Neil Gaiman is available now.

For more information regarding Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) please visit www.neilgaiman.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

3 Stars

The Last TemptationTitle: The Last Temptation

Author: Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli and Alice Cooper

Pages: 168 Pages

Publisher: Dynamite

The Blurb

Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Coraline, American Gods) brings shock rocker Alice Cooper’s concept album to life in a surreal sideshow of the soul! Join a young boy named Steven on a surreal journey of the soul, as an enigmatic and potentially dangerous Showman seduces him into joining his carnival. Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of this seminal Gaiman work, returned to print for the first time in over a decade. Fully remastered in color, this Deluxe Edition incorporates complete scripts to all three chapters, black-and-white thumbnail art of pre-colored pages, an original outline of the project by Neil Gaiman, and a collection of letters between shock rocker Alice Cooper and the author!

“I’m really happy that The Last Temptation is coming out for a new generation of readers, who have not seen Michael Zulli’s glorious drawings, or know of the Showman and his wicked ways,” says Neil Gaiman.

“I wrote this a long time ago, driven by love of Ray Bradbury’s dark carnivals and of Alice Cooper’s own pandemonium shadow show. It’s time for it to shuffle out onto a leaf-covered street and meet the people who don’t know about Stephen and Mercy and show what’s coming to town.”

The Review

My bookshelves are full. Not an unusual statement for someone who blogs primarily about books, however, if you were to rifle through my collection you would find a very small set of graphic novels. I tell you this because I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not an expert about this art form.

My latest read – The Last Temptation by Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli and Alice Cooper – is a graphic novel and in my humble opinion it is extraordinary.

The novel has been created by Neil Gaiman with collaboration with Alice Cooper and Michael Zulli to be both a pictorial and musical representation of an Alice Cooper album and as to be expected it borders on a darker look at life. The Last Temptation is the story of a young boy who has been invited into a freak show theatre family but this invitation comes at a cost.

As I stated earlier, I am no expert but I was sucked in to The Last Temptation and I could not leave until I had finished it. The artwork is phenomenal and the storyline is just the right amount of creepy. As I read from window to window the story of Steven I wanted to be a part of this weird and unusual world. Stepping back from the story I have no idea why because it is terrifying. When reading The Last Temptation this world comes alive and it seems tangible.

Essentially, what The Last Temptation by Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli and Alice Cooper has done has harboured a desire in me to read more graphic novels.

The Last Temptation by Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli and Alice Cooper is available now.

For more information regarding Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) please visit www.neilgaiman.com.

For more information regarding Alice Cooper (@RealAliceCooper) please visit www.alicecooper.com.

For more information regarding Dynamite (@dynamitecomics) please visit www.dynamite.com.

4 Stars

ViewTitle: The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction

Author: Neil Gaiman

Pages: 532 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

The View from the Cheap Seats draws together myriad non-fiction writing by international phenomenon and Sunday Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman. From Make Good Art, the speech that went viral, to pieces on artists and legends including Terry Pratchett and Lou Reed, the collection offers a glimpse into the head and heart of one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

‘Literature does not occur in a vacuum. It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation’

Welcome to the conversation. Neil Gaiman fled the land of journalism to find truths through storytelling and sanctuary in not needing to get all the facts right. Of course, the real world continued to make up its own stories around him, and he has responded over the years with a wealth of ideas and introductions, dreams and speeches. Here ‘we can meet the writer full on’ (Stephen Fry) as he opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and makes room for us to join the conversation too.

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

I love Neil Gaiman. I have said that I would love to tickle his brain and hopefully some of that magic and talent could be captured by my fingers. Sadly, I don’t think that I am going to get the opportunity to tickle his brain so instead I will settle for reading his books.

I wanted to read The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction because I wanted to find out more about the man behind the writer. What was it that made Neil Gaiman so talented as a writer. It was the wrong thing for me to do. Neil Gaiman the man and Neil Gaiman the writer are one and the same. There is no line of distinction. What I did take from The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction is a deeper love for Neil Gaiman.

Truthfully, some of the essays in this selection did not have a massive impact on me. However, there were plenty that left me stunned. Personal highlights were:

On Stephen King, for the Sunday Times

2004 Harvey Awards Speech

Some Strangeness in the Proportion: The Exquisite Beauties of Edgar Allen Poe

Waiting for the Man: Lou Reed

The Dresden Dolls: Hallowe’en 2010

Eight Views of Mount Fuji: Beloved Demons and Anthony Martignetti

A Slip of the Keyboard: Terry Pratchett

All of these were fantastic reads. However, there were two essays that stood out for me. The first was Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming: The Reading Agency Lecture, 2013. I am a big advocate of libraries and the need for them in a community and so I sat reading this essay agreeing with every paragraph. Anyone who questions the need for libraries needs to read this essay.

The second essay that really had an impact on me was So Many Ways to Die in Syria Now: May 2014. It is heartbreaking. Truly.

Needless to say, my love for Neil Gaiman hasn’t wavered. The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction is a beautiful collection of essays and I fully recommend it.

The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Non Fiction by Neil Gaiman is available now.

For more information regarding Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) please visit www.neilgaiman.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

4 Stars