Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

The entire title of this book is Trigger Warning:  Short Fictions and Disturbances, which paints a very accurate picture of this book.  I loved these unique short stories by master story teller Neil Gaiman.  Although I made the mistake of taking this book camping, and a few of the stories freaked me out  . . . but would be perfect to terrorize your friends around the fire.  I also loved the variety from fairy tales, horror, Doctor Who to poems; this collection has a little bit of something for everyone.

I really appreciated that Gaiman wrote a great introduction which included the inspiration behind each story or poem.  I found myself often flipping back to this section after I read the story to get an even deeper understanding.

I am going to summarize a few of my favorite stories in this collection.

The Thing About Cassandra
A young artist is given odd news when his friends tell him that they ran into his first girlfriend, Cassandra.  The thing about Cassandra was that he made her up to impress his buddies.  Who is the mysterious Cassandra?  I originally read this story in Songs of Love and Death and I’ll admit I’m still pleasantly puzzled by the end.  I’m putting this book on my husband’s reading pile so I have someone to discuss the end with.

Down to a Sunless Sea
Down to a Sunless Sea is a gritty story of a mother waiting for her young sailor son to return.  One of my favorite quotes was “Nobody drinks it, neither the rainwater nor the river water. They make jokes about Thames water killing you instantly, and it is not true.”  I cannot resist a good water quality quote.

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains
I loved this story.  I read it twice as the beginning made much more sense once all of the pieces of the story were put together.  A dwarf seeks young Calum MacInnes to help him find a mystical mountain with a cave of cursed gold to use for the “King across the seas” cause.  Or is this his true purpose?  I loved this take on revenge.

I liked the unique format to this story, which were only the answers to an investigator’s written questionnaire.

The Case of Death and Honey
This was a very interesting Sherlock tale of him trying to solve the ultimately mystery, how to defeat death.  I quite enjoyed it.

Click-Clack the Rattlebag
This story freaked me out.  It is a scary story about an old house and what lies within it.  I liked the format of a young boy telling the story leading up to the grand realization at the end.

Nothing O’Clock
This is a Doctor Who story set during the Matt Smith Doctor Who time period.  It was a perfect Doctor Who story – interesting, a bit of humor and a bit of horror on the situation of human race after the evil Kin try to take over Earth.

Diamonds and Pearls:  A Fairy Tale
I love fairy tales.  This modified version of Cinderella was unique and very interesting.

The Sleeper and the Spindle
The Sleeper and the Spindle is a modified fairy tale mash-up of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.  I thought it was an interesting take on both fairy tales and I loved the strong female protagonist.  I would love to read more of Gaiman’s fairy tales.

Black Dog
I need to read American Gods.  Even though I haven’t read it, I still enjoyed this tale.  Shadow is in a Pub in England and gets involved with a local couple.  The man is having health problems so he helps them out.  They are followed home by the local legend, a black dog.  Shadow digs deeper to solve the mystery of this superstition. 

Overall, I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection.  I liked how imaginative they were and very original.  I liked how they hopped from scary stories to fairy tales.  These were the type of stories I especially loved as a teenager and miss reading at times.  I need to look for more like this.  Any suggestions?

Book Source:  Review Copy from William Morrow – Thanks!


  1. I have American Gods in my library loot stack. I'll add this to my library queue once I finish it.

  2. This sounds quite entertaining, Laura. Excellent review! I enjoy short stories, but I haven't read any by Neil Gaiman yet!

  3. I have yet to read American Gods. I need to add that to my "to read" list. I love short stories and really loved this collection. I'm still waiting for my husband to read them and let me know what he thinks!