book reviews by Althea

Murder Mysteries – Neil Gaiman ***

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(graphic novel version)

I liked the story here very much. I don’t think I’ve actually read the prose version (which is a little surprising to me), but it has a very nice dual structure, with the main, internal story adding to and reflecting the more opaque ‘shell’ story. When I finished; I wanted to go back to the beginning and re-check all the foreshadowing… And of course, how can you go wrong with a psycho killer and angelic conflicts? The use of mythological elements and the way in which those are meshed with the sordid, modern world is very, very ‘Sandman.’

On a deeper level, the story has some very thought provoking content regarding vengeance and forgiveness. I see it as a critique and exploration of the Christian belief that, simultaneously, an all-knowing god has created beings for his own purpose but yet holds them responsible for their own actions. It’s not quite as simple as that, though, and it’s oblique enough that you could come away from this with a good number of different opinions. That’s a good thing.

So – why only 3 stars? Well, I think I’d prefer the prose version. The artwork here just didn’t resonate with me. Nearly fully half of this book is taken up with a section that talks about the artwork, the artist, and the motivations behind why it was presented the way it was – so I can’t at all say that no thought went into it. Clearly Gaiman had input into it, as well. But I just didn’t love it – personal aesthetics.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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