Monday, 8 September 2014

GoodRead - The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains

Surprise! Yes, I know I said my next review on here will be my write up on The 100 and the sequel, Day 21, both by Kass Morgan but as I have made very little headway with Day 21, I decide to finish a book I was reading on and off for the past few weeks which I requested from BookBridgr (thank you BookBridgr), which is The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Eddie Campbell.

The story, set in the dark ages of Scotland, is of two men, strangers, who are travelling to a cave on the mysterious Misty Isle. Only one of the men knows the way as this cave is rumoured to have a cursed treasure within it. What unfolds on their journey involves greed, survival, revenge and tragedy. Though not in that order...

I am going to keep that brief as I want to leave it as vague as possible. No spoilers.

Now, my opinion on this book... it's very mixed. I'm not 100% certain where I stand with it.

It's not a novel or prose in the traditional sense, nor is it a graphic novel. It's a strange hybrid of the two, for the most part, works in the story's favor. The illustrations by Eddie Campbell are quite unique, ranging from comic strips, rushed illustrations and rushed "oil painting" style art to very detailed drawings (one of my fave drawings is a illustration of a deer. I shall pop it in the review somewhere so you can see it...).

The story, though... it didn't grab me the way I wanted it to. It felt, at times, quite flat. It didn't feel like a story written by Neil Gaiman. I admit I am not a huge fan of Neil Gaiman and I am slowly becoming aware of his writing (Doctor Who, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, MirrorMask [an awesome film, by the way - imagine Alice in Wonderland but on a serious drug trip!] and Neverwhere) but it didn't feel like him compared to what I have read.

I wonder if it's the hype that's around him at the moment and that is clouding my judgement?

Also, some of you guys will already be aware of this story as it was published in 2012 in a collection of stories called Stories: All New Tales and Neil himself read this at the Graphic festival at the Sydney Opera House several years back. At this event, Neil read the story out loud with Eddie revealing some illustartions behind the author (he drew the rest till quite recently) and the FourPlay String Quaret playing music to go alongside the story.

And I think that would have beena much more interesting reading experience. To not only read the story and stare at the illustation but to have the music to listen to (either a CD, a MP3 download or a website you could go and listen) to bring an extra dimension to the tale.

While this book might not have been my cup of tea, I am certain many fans of Neil Gaiman and Eddie Campbell will love reading this book.

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