This is the first book I’ve read by Gaiman. I’m a fan of the movie Stardust
(based on a book by Gaiman), and I enjoyed GOOD OMENS which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett, but this is the first piece of work that was his, and only his, that I’ve read.
That said, I’m afraid I may have walked into this book with my expectations set too high.
It’s not a bad book. It certainly kept me entertained on a flight home from Florida back to California. It was good, but it wasn’t great
I think the back cover copy sufficiently explains what the book is about, so I’m not going to rehash that. The story is interesting. The characters are engaging. The humor is very British, which I adore. The bad guys are scary and spectacularly creepy at times. The worldbuilding is intricate and interesting, for the most part, but I also think this is where the story fell down for me.
Too often, you’re left to wonder what the hell is going on and why. I love fantasy, and am usually very forgiving of this sort of thing, but only when it’s done in moderation and the author doesn’t gloss over the important stuff. Things like Talents were skirted around, but never really explained. If Door was so powerful, it seemed a bit silly that they had to travel on foot so much to reach some of their destinations. Why, exactly, Richard was sucked into the fantastical world below London and forgotten by all his friends and co-workers was implied, but even the denizens of that magical place couldn’t tell him why him
. Why Richard, and not others? Door started talking about it at one point, but she never confronted it fully, and it seemed like an important enough element that it should have been discussed at greater length.
The journey the characters took was epic enough, and the mystery was sufficient to keep me engrossed, but my suspension of disbelief only goes so far when you don’t explain anything about how your fantasy world works. There are some things you can take for granted in fantasy, but I like to feel that what I’m reading makes sense and has a purpose, a rhyme and reason, and on some level that felt lacking to me here.
I’m not so put off that I won’t read another book by Gaiman, but I can’t see myself rereading this book. As I mentioned, it was entertaining and kept my interest through the plane ride from Florida back to California, but that’s about it.