Top critical review
One person found this helpful
Great idea, weak execution
on August 9, 2013
I have loved a lot of Neil Gaiman's work ("Neverwhere" and "Anansi Boys," especially) but this one just fell flat for me. The plot is very thin -- it could be summed up in a sentence or two -- and has an ending I saw coming after about page 20.
One major difficulty with the story is that so much of it turns out to be irrelevant, or there only as dei ex machina. A lot of the stuff he created for the story -- the Macabray, the Sleer, the Night Gaunts, the Ghouls, the Honour Guard -- just strike me as "cool things Gaiman thought of throwing in." The story line doesn't hold together in any kind of coherent way, it just kind of meanders through a vague series of events that only have as a connection that they involve Bod Owens, who survived as an infant when his family was murdered because of a magical prophecy (sound like a familiar trope?).
I'm giving it two stars and not one because I do like Gaiman's descriptions, and it kept me interested enough to finish. But for a good, gripping story with a strong plot and strong characters -- look elsewhere.