mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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"Aud & the Frost Giants" by Nicola Griffith. (5)

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Brett Helquist.

Here, Gandalf Elfwand
is your crippled ring bearer,
upon the rainbow.

In the same way that Neil Gaiman's adult works often frustrate me, his work for children & young adults soars. There is something almost patronizing in some of his more popular adult works, I think, like American Gods. I don't need him to turn a sly aside & wink at me-- thanks, but I can spot Odin without it being telegraphed. I feel condescended too, sometimes-- yes, Mister Gaiman, I'm well aware of what is going on here. With his children's books, that transforms into gentle exposition-- the smirk at the peanut gallery as instructive method. Gaiman's prose is simple, unembellished, which is fine-- I think it stems from his roots as a comic book writer-- & that style leads his children's books a readability that doesn't seem dumbed down. It also can make his adult books seem a little more like YA novels, but that isn't a bad thing either. Accessible writing is hardly a crime. All that to say: Odd & the Frost Giants really works for me. Gaiman's Loki has been a strong suit of his ever since The Sandman-- you get both gleeful, clever Loki with hints of the spiteful & cruel Loki, when other authors tend to stick with one or the other. Odd is a good protagonist, & the gods are a spectacular supporting cast-- Gaiman portrays them as majestic & stupid in one fell swoop. Which, come to think of it, is his strongest skill as a writer, I think. Remember Dream of the Endless? What a hilarious, gothic, mopey, wonderful, magnetizing & compelling character he managed to be.
Tags: books, gaiman, haiku

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