Book Review: Trigger Warning – Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Trigger-WarningTitle: Trigger Warning – Short Fictions and Disturbances
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow
Hardcover: 310 pages
Source: Purchased
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

Multiple award winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction following Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things–which includes a never-before published American Gods story, “Black Dog,” written exclusively for this volume.

In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction–stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013–as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In “Adventure Story”–a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane–Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience “A Calendar of Tales” are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year–stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale “The Case of Death and Honey”. And “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

This was bought for me by my wonderful fiancé when I accidentally left my Kindle charging on the floor of our apartment instead of taking it with me on my flight to California for Thanksgiving. This was actually the perfect book to have with me on vacation, since I could sit down just for a little bit in between festivities, completely finish a story and have some satisfaction from reading, and then continue with celebrating.

Overall, I tend to be wary of getting collections of short stories. For me, they’re too often hit-and-miss to be worthwhile, but this is a Gaiman book, so I decided to give it a try. (Also, Andrew loves short stories, so this would have been a worth-it purchase anyway.) I would say that I thoroughly enjoyed about 85% of the stories, mostly enjoyed 10% and the other 5% was a varying mix of meh or not-my-thing. For me, that makes this collection absolutely worth a purchase and most definitely worth the time spent reading it.

Unfortunately, these are also hard to review, because there’s no way I’m going to go into detail about every single story. I will say that this title holds true. Every single story had some element to it that creeped me out or hit a nerve at least once — many did so more than once.

I was especially happy to see a Doctor Who and a Sherlock Holmes story thrown in here. The Sherlock Holmes story was definitely one of my favorites in this collection. “Adventure Story” was by far my favorite of this book, so I recommend taking a look at that one as well. I’m waiting for Andrew to get some free time to read it so that I can relive the experience of the stories by talking about it with him, but for now, I’ll have to settle for talking about through this and others’ reviews. ;P

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