narfna’s #CBR5 Review #77: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

neverwhereGuys, I really wanted to do this review justice, but I read it back in August. IN AUGUST. And I am now twelve, count ’em, TWELVE reviews behind as of right now, and the only reason that number isn’t bigger is because I’ve been reading a lot of books I’m either too ashamed to review, or that just aren’t worth reviewing because I don’t have that much to say.

Point is, this book deserves better than it’s going to get from me, because I really liked it. But I’m tired and overwhelmed and I have writer’s block and what am I doing with my life anyway?

Scratch it. This might be exactly the mood I need to be in to write this review, because what the hell was Richard Mayhew doing with his life before he fell into the London Underground? Nothing, that’s what. He was a pushover with a horrible girlfriend, and he had a horrible job (he kept trolls on his computer. Trolls!), both of which he’d somehow convinced himself he liked, even loved. And yeah maybe his life was safe and comfortable, but it was also boring and pointless as fuck.

And then he became an unperson, and he was still useless and boring (and a bit confused), until he wasn’t. Until he was dragged on a bloody and violent quest for strange, terrifying people he barely knew, through Gaiman’s own version of Wonderland. He wanted his safe life back, to be comfortable and contained, until he got his wish and realized it was the stupidest wish he’d ever wished, and decided to go on an adventure instead. It’s amazing how much I like this idea so much better now than I did two months ago when I finished the book, but I suppose that’s why you re-read things, yes? Because they mean different things to you at different points in your life.

That’s not to say that this book is perfect, because it isn’t, and like I said in my initial review, it’s very obvious this is his first solo novel. (Anansi Boys and Stardust are still my favorites of his.) It’s not as polished as his later works. But dammit, I still thought it was great.

Also, I thought Door was brilliant, and the bad guy(s) were terrifying.

The End.

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narfna’s #CBR5 Review #38: A Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Vol.1 by George R.R. Martin, adapted by Daniel Abraham & Tommy Patterson

14749457The first volume of the A Song of Ice and Fire graphic novel adaptations covers the first half of A Game of Thrones, the first book in the series. As Martin himself states in the intro, this is an adaptation of the book only, and has no relation to the HBO series (which is the shit). Actually, it sounds like certain things (like the design of the Iron Throne and the appearance of the characters) were deliberately differentiated from the series for legal reasons. All in all, I think I prefer the show’s version of Martin’s story to the graphic novel, but it was pretty good all the same.

Vol. 1 takes us from the first meeting of the Others, through Bran’s fall, the murder of Jon Arryn, the appointing of Ned as Hand of the King, Jon’s induction into the Night’s Watch, Dany’s marriage to Khal Drogo, and Catelyn’s flight to King’s Landing. The story was adapted by fantasy author Daniel Abraham (a former student of Martin’s who also writes urban fantasy and science fiction under pseudonyms), and he does a great job. It’s always hard to judge these sorts of things when you know the story so well (your brain just kind of fills in the missing pieces of the story that maybe wouldn’t make much sense to non-book readers), but it felt like there was nothing missing, despite that Abraham obviously had to cut a lot of material in order to cram hundreds of pages into a 200 page graphic novel. Another indication that this is a quality adaptation is that it never feels crammed.

Probably the only thing I had trouble with is the artwork. Martin chose Tommy Patterson out of hundreds of candidates, and while I don’t think anyone would dispute that he’s very talented, the way he portrays most of the characters irks me. Everyone is pointy and harsh, and they all have tiny eyes. To me, this makes everyone, even the ‘good guys’ look evil. But it was his women I had the biggest issue with. They all look the same, first of all, and same in this instance means skinny with slender faces, long hair and Barbie-type bodies. The men are at least somewhat differentiated and realistic looking (excepting Khal Drogo, who is monstrously large), but the women look like they all stepped out of some thirteen year old’s fantasy. I think a lot of this is just my vision of this world not matching up with the artist’s, but it was an issue for me, regardless of the cause.

Recommended for fans of the book or show. Wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for someone who’s never been exposed to the story before.