Sunday, May 24, 2015

Rashmi bookmarks “Stardust”

Gather around everyone, Neil Gaiman has a story for us! From one of the greatest storytellers of our time comes this tale of the adventures of Tristran Thorn of Wall, whose search for love takes him beyond the borders of his village into the magical land of Faerie.

Following a fallen star, Tristran travels into unknown lands and enters a realm of kings and queens, witches and ghosts, deadly trees, unicorns and cursed silver chains. An 81st Lord trying to choose an heir to the throne; the ancient witches collectively called the Lillim attempting to regain their youth; a young woman named Yvaine who is really the star that fell from the skies ... For me, the truly fascinating part about this story was the way all their stories had a common thread - with events starting long before Tristran's birth - and how everyone and every element finally came brilliantly together.

This was a beautiful love story and a fantastic adventure - and I enjoyed it immensely. Here's to Gaiman's magical imagination ... and to hoping that places like Faerie exist. Somewhere.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Rashmi bookmarks “The Dead Path”

Darkness and insects: two things that absolutely terrify me. So, this story by Stephen M. Irwin was spot on for the fear factor! "At the end of Bymar Street was Carmichael Road, and beyond it, the heavy darkness of the woods." It is here that as a child, Nicholas Close had seen his best friend Tristram killed. And, years later, the little bird with its legs snipped off and its head replaced with a sphere of woven twigs continues to spread a mysterious Evil.

Shortly after his wife's death, a freak fall gives Nicholas the ability to see ghosts. What was fascinating was his ability to see dead people in the final moments leading up to their deaths. That constant replay of unnatural deaths added to the creepy atmosphere of this tale. From there, Nick is led on a terrifying journey replete with ghosts, evil symbols, gigantic spiders, ancient magic, and a distorted version of The Green Man.

I also loved the amazing imagery and sheer poetry in the storytelling - not something I would necessarily associate a horror story with.

Overall, I felt that the storytelling could have been sped up a bit, and although the final reveal was very interesting, it took far too long to get there.

Also, I felt that there was a huge missed opportunity in Suzette, a character who knows magic, yet does nothing more than use it to nurse her son back to health. As someone who professes to have been practicing magic since she was a child, and as the only potential opponent to the immense threat posed by the evil that lurks in the woods, I was expecting her to do a lot more.

Still, it was a good story - with a fantastic ending that I did not see coming!