Friday, February 21, 2014

Snow Days & 2 week Book Review

      I am up to here to the number of snow days we have been getting in the East coast. From the number of classes that will have to be made up in May to the hours being stuck in your house. Whenever you go outside, you're either putting your foot into a puddle or a melt gobble of sun. Especially when you were carried a heavy backpack or portfolio would sent you sinking down into the snow, making it much hard to travel to class.

      Also, I had more time to do some personal art pieces when I don't have any homework. This was inspired about missing my adorable dog Kona, bringing back her puppy years back home.

Kona's Puppy Years, 6"x17", Paper, watercolor&gouache, color pencil

    But anyways, while that was happening, I got more time to finish reading these two books. So, here is my reaction and review on Neil Gaiman's novels. I won't release as many spoilers but hope that it inspires you to read them as well.

        The Sandman vol 1: Prelude & Nocturne is a graphic novel, illustrated by Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcom Jones the third. The plot takes place around the character named Dream, the Lord the Dream, who accidentally gets captured by a cult. Dream is then mistaken as the Death and has his valuables discarded from him. So throughout the book is Dream reclaiming her possessions from humans to monsters from hell.
However, we see the perspective of an anti-hero. Someone who goes after the cult for revenge by waiting for them to grow old or die out while others get punished by his powers of dreaming, like creating an eternally of waking from a nightmare.
         This book's imagery well crafted to capture the dark and graphic storyline in Sandman but have the ability to lure the readers in. All these illustrators did a very excellent job of setting the atmosphere, capturing the shadowing the character's faces and the color pallet that pop out against the thick lines. They can even emphasized the facial expressions instead of limiting them. Also the character designs captures the character traits throughout all these illustrator.

         Then, lastly, I wish to discuss the novel American Gods. This was the longest one I have read, especially with the deadline of two weeks, but I enjoyed it all the way. The story here is about an adult named Shadow, who just leaved that his wife died in a car accident just as he is released from prison. Out on his own, with no family or friends, he runs into a mysterious business man, named Mr.Wednesday, who offers him a job as a body guard. He would be in charged of driving him around, do some jobs and errands, and don't ask questions. Shadow then takes the job and the story takes both him and Mr.Wednesday into a battle between the old gods and brand new gods of American. Neil Gaiman has an amazing idea to combine the greek mythology references, Christianity, Indian cultures and fantasy elements when bring in the being of Gods into the story. Then there are new gods, like the god of the internet, god of money, and god of frame, which were created in America. Probably the best parts in American Gods is the interaction between Shadow and Mr. Wednesday, when they act as working partners or guy friends. Much like a road trip but combining action and fictional appeal interaction with Shadow. Plus the climax is excellent once everything falls to place between these characters.
         One element that I enjoyed was the character Shadow. He isn't an up beat character but he really is above an average person. He can easily adjust to the strange environment but still act human against upper lords. But we also see him go through some changes in himself, questioning what it is to be alive, and seeing him uncovers the truth behind the past. Also, there is an interesting element that Gaiman put into Shadow was his interest in coin tricks. In the beginning, we learn that Shadow pick up some coin tricks when he was in prison and he brings that through the entire story. Gaiman even ties the coin into the subplots and the main idea of the two sided coin playing a role. Maybe it's because I never seen any author putting a coin trick into literature but it is done very well in an unlikely mythological story.
        Lastly, I got to say that I do enjoy the love interest of Shadow. His wife was like any normal wife, that was loving, humorous and charming to be around. However, when your lover gets stuck in prison, she gets attractive to the best friend. However, when she learn that Shadow is free she breaks off the affair so she can be fully devoted. So this will be a spoiler, but his wife comes back to life. Having this chance give her to ability to love and protect him for the remaining of her life. This character is just lovely to hang around in this unusually world and wish that she was real, especially when she wanted her wedding aisle music to be the Scooby-Doo theme song.

Overall, these two books were great to read and excited to read more. I'm not sure what will be coming up but possibly another Neil Gaiman story. If you have any suggestions, let me know what, or leave comments about what you thought of these stories.              

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