Normally, I save short stories to read one at a time, rather than all at once. And had I known 64 Deaths was an anthology of short stories, that’s probably what I would have done. So, I am REALLY glad I did not realize it was a book of short stories until I was a few “chapters” in.
Christina Escamilla’s anthology is WONDROUS. I’m not going to say it’s necessarily happy. Because with a title like 64 Deaths, you can probably figure out that this is not a joy-filled grouping. And it’s not. I didn’t count the deaths in the story, to see if there were exactly 64–that’s not the number of stories, so I’m not sure what that number is meant to represent. There is a story in the collection that is called “64 Deaths,” so that may be all it is.
The stories are extremely varied: some are horror, some are suspense. Some are hopeful, some are devastating. There are different kinds of deaths too, some are suicide, some are murder. There are metaphorical deaths, there are supernatural deaths. There are even one or two non-human deaths.
All of the stories are extremely well written, and definitely have a beauty of their own. I will tell you to proceed with caution, as there are a few here that could trigger some people, but, there is a moral at the end that I think everyone should read.
I think fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, and especially Neil Gaiman are really going to like this anthology. Just make sure that you have a happy book picked out to read next on your list.
This fulfills PopSugar #12: A book of short stories.
I’ll be honest. After reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane I was not super excited to read another Neil Gaiman novel. That book was just very strange, and not really my cup of tea. So when my book club moderator chose this one, after reading 3 other Sci-Fi books…I was less than enthusiastic.
I was wrong.
American Gods is such a different book from Ocean. Ok, so I can see the author’s influence in both, but the perspectives are just in such a completely opposite spectrum. Ocean is written in a child’s dreamlike wonder, and AG is about a massive ex-con. Kudos to Gaiman to be able to do that.
Speaking of the perspective–the writing here is marvelous. You really get into Shadow’s head. There is a lot of confusion and frustration and pain, and you feel every bit of it. I will say, that unfortunately, for me, the ending was a little bit meh. Gaiman does a really great job of building up to what is going to happen, and then it just kind of drops off into blahness. That said, I was really tired when I finished this last night…so maybe I need to reread it again. I don’t want to believe it was that mundane.
What I liked best about this book were the gods. If you are into mythology at all, you are going to recognize a LOT of characters in this. And they are going to pop-up in random places. Think Men in Black, only with Greek, Roman, Norse mythological characters.
Oh, and because I feel like I should warn my fellow Marvel Fangirls. Beware. Loki looks more like Morgan Freeman than Tom Hiddleston. Just be prepared. I’m sorry. I had to let you know.
This book is going on my To Buy list for sure, even with the so-so ending. I want to reread it, because the rest of it was just that great. The storyline was so intricate, and I know there are details that I missed on the first read-through. Pick this up–you won’t be sorry.
Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
Neil Gaiman, American Gods