Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Reviewed by Ronnie Alvarado

There are few writers in the modern fantasy canon whose style is as definitive and whose prose is as magically transcendent as Neil Gaiman. For the last two decades, he has been delighting readers with his witty, chilling, and at times downright frightening stories. His latest work, Trigger Warnings: Short Fictions and Disturbances, does not disappoint, as its brims with fantastical tales of varying lengths and plots.

Each piece contained in Trigger Warnings sparkles in its own individual right, but several stand out specifically as truly memorable and haunting. In “The Thing About Cassandra” the reader encounters an unnamed protagonist who upon chatting with an old friend from college, curiously learns that a girlfriend named Cassandra whom he made-up impress people as an adolescent, has an online presence. Several days later, his mother mentions that she met Cassandra by chance at the supermarket. In the culmination of the story, a meeting between the protagonist and the supposed Cassandra, and here the reader’s expectations of reality and self will be shaken.

Feminists and fairy-tale lovers alike will devour “The Sleeper and the Spindle,” a imaginative re-telling of the timeless stories of “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” In Gaiman’s re-telling, the events of “Snow White” have already taken place, and that titular heroine is a strong queen, who for the sake of her kingdom, undertakes a quest to investigate the mysterious sleeping sickness that has overtaken a nearby kingdom. What she and her fearless dwarves discover is shocking enough to keep readers up at night.

For every mystery lover who ached for another Sherlock Holmes’s mystery, “The Tale of Death and Honey” is a treat. At his brother’s deathbed, the aging Holmes is tasked to solve the greatest mystery of all: how to conquer death. Never the one to decline solving a complex mystery, Holmes spends years at the task and travels across the globe in an effort to solve the immortal riddle. Only the deftest of mystery readers will be able to even guess at the final result.

Rounding out the collection are two dozen additional compelling tales, including: a tribute story to the cult television show Dr. Who, a novella companion to Gaiman’s bestselling American Gods, and several free verse poems. With all of these pieces of great fiction, Trigger Warnings is a definite “must-have” for any Gaiman-devotee or fantasy enthusiast, and a great find for any reader looking to indulge in a collection of brief, but compelling, tales.

Click Here to Purchase Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances

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