Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

I just finished the short story collection Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman. It’s full of short stories, poetry, and flash fiction and has been on my Goodreads TBR since 2016. Plus, it fit the anthology category in Book Challenge by Erin 20.0. So finishing this book felt so satisfying, even though I’m not sure I’m a fan of Gaiman’s style.

I’ve read American Gods and ended it confused about how I felt about it. I’m usually pretty hardcore in my feelings about books. For some reason, Gaiman confuses me. His writing itself is brilliant. The way he structures sentences is beautiful; the way he describes settings makes it impossible to not immerse yourself; the way he dives deep into a character’s experience is visceral. Yet, most of the time I walk away with no emotional connection to his characters at all. Weird, right?

Overall, I didn’t jive with the poetry or flash fiction in Trigger Warning. It was like he had these old stories lying about and he threw them altogether to create a collection to make his publisher happy. Now three of the stories really hit home for me and made the entire book worth reading for me.

  1. “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” was a bitter sweet tale of greed, perception, and truth. I loved the entire thing and didn’t figure out the ending until Gaiman wanted me to. It’s brilliantly constructed.
  2. “The Case of Death and Honey” tells the story of Sherlock Holmes trying to solve his very last mystery: death. It’s beautiful, even if it doesn’t quite end.
  3. “Nothing O’Clock” is a Doctor Who story with Amy Pond and the Eleventh Doctor and it’s SO GOOD. I read it twice in a row. He captures the fun and the horror and the danger and the creative problem solving that adds up to the magic of this franchise. It made me feel like I was watching an episode. Gaiman wrote one of my favorites of all time, “The Doctor’s Wife,” so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he rocked this one.

For everything else, I felt meh. That leads to a three star rating for me. I wouldn’t read it again, but I don’t regret having spent time with it. I might even recommend it if I think it’s more the taste of another reader.

Did you read this one? What was your experience?

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