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Prince of Stories: or, everything you could possibly ever want to know about the works of Neil Gaiman
If you've been reading my reviews for awhile, I may have mentioned my love for Neil Gaiman. He is (along with Terry Pratchett) one of my two favorite authors of all time, and I'm always hungry for more material either by or about him and his works.
Therefore, when I heard of this book, sort of an overview of everything he had done up to 2008, I enthusiastically purchased it. However, because it was a rather large book I forgot about it for a couple years, and only just finished reading it.
The first thing I've got to say is that if you don't know who Neil Gaiman is, this is probably not the book for you. Go read a couple of his books, then come back for this. If, however, you're a moderate fan and want to learn more, or a diehard in search of information on Gaiman rarities, this is definitely the book for you.
The book is basically a collaboration between three writers to capture and catalog basically everything Gaiman has done since his professional start, up till about 2008, when the book was published. It's all divided up into sections based on medium, for instance short stories, novels, comics, and the like. And Hank Wagner, Christopher Golden, and Stephen Bissette did a truly amazing job finding stuff: there's stuff in here that I, a committed Gaimanphile, had never heard of. Also included are a few pieces of short miscellany (for instance articles he wrote while a journalist in the 80s), interviews about Gaiman and his work by his associates, collaborators, and adapters, and a very long and thorough interview conducted by Bissette and Wagner with Gaiman himself, about everything you could possibly imagine.
As I said, this book is not for those unfamiliar with Gaiman. Partially this is because one of the three writers likes to spoil plot twists and the like in his summaries of Gaiman's various works, which, of course, can dampen anyone's enjoyment of it. Oddly, another of the writers is maddeningly vague and brief in his summaries, leading the text to sometimes say too much for the newby and sometimes say too little for the obsessed fan.
However, overall the summaries are pretty good. We generally get a short plot summary, as well as important characters, places, and concepts, which all in all gives a good idea of what each work is about.
The other disadvantage is that the book is out of date by now. "The Graveyard Book" and "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" have been published, the "Coraline" movie has premiered, Gaiman's father has died, and he has gotten remarried. Although "The Graveyard Book" and the "Coraline" movie are mentioned briefly, it's a shame they're not in it more fully. We can only hope that an update will be published some time.
All in all, if you're a Gaiman fan like me, definitely check out this book. If you're new to Gaiman, start with his works (I would suggest "Stardust" or "Smoke and Mirrors"), then come back for this book later.