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May 25

Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Posted on Monday, May 25, 2015 in Book Reviews

American Gods by Neil Gaiman is one book I just couldn’t get into reading it so I listened to it as an audiobook. I really wanted to like the book. Like really, really. The writing is flawless. The novel with intricacies of plots, twists, and turns was that of a master bard. Yet, I found the first quarter of the book slow. I knew the second quarter of the book laid the foundation for the last half. Gaiman tried to use misdirection by having his writing play out like a coin trick or a shell game. He’d reveal what is to come but also created so many dead ends. Ultimately, I am glad I made it through the book. I enjoyed the mythologies and how much time it must have taken to research the tale. I suppose my disappointment is the same I experienced with Ender’s Game. I was able to see through the games being played. In retrospect, I guess that is a good thing as I won’t be buying a $20 violin for thousand of dollars.

The book itself is about an ex-con named Shadow who was released from prison who liked to do coin tricks as it gave his hands something to do. He ends up working for this mysterious fellow named Wednesday. Shadow’s world is turned upside down as reality becomes fiction and fiction becomes reality or perhaps both or neither.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to people who like mythology and thrillers. Gaiman tried to pack so much in to one book and succeeded. The audiobook I listened to was: American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) [Unabridged]. If you can’t get into the story via reading – I’d recommend giving it a listen as it’s a great way to spend 20 hours or so.

I will write again soon.


May 8

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

Posted on Friday, May 8, 2015 in Book Reviews

I just finished A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab which was an awesome tale of four different cities all known as London that are located in same space but in different worlds. The novel follows the adventure of Kell, one of the last magicians who can travel to the different Londons, who happens to make a mistake. A really big mistake. The novel is about his adventure to make things right again in the worlds.

The plot is nothing ground breaking but was a fun ride. The overall feel of the book reminded me vaguely of The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. Both tales have a male magician protagonist needing to correct his error. Overall, A Darker Shade of Magic was very well written. Schwab is was able to paint pictures with her words so much so that the action scenes had me on the edge of my seat.

My only compliant about the tale is that sometimes during conversations between Kell and the other main characters lacked the consideration of detail of the rest of the novel. That made the conversations stand out and seemed a little forced. Besides that, the book had a lot of redeeming qualities such as having a few strong female characters so the tale isn’t all male-dominated. There was a few mention of gender stereotypes – how women usually wore dresses – but two of the female characters did not and were wickedly smart.

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book of a trilogy. The ending of the novel was very dry. It seemed like Schwab wanted to leave things open for the next book but also have a solid ending for this novel to stand on its own. For me, that created a muddled ending and it left me unfulfilled as it didn’t invoke a feeling of disappointment of having to wait a year for the next installment as I thought it would since Schwab has talent.

Overall, I would recommend this book to those who enjoy fantasy novels with a touch of magic but not for the squeamish as there is bloodshed. It was a pleasure to get to know Kell and his worlds. I am looking forward to revisiting his worlds when the second book in the series is released.