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Neil Gaiman – MirrorMask

June 11, 2008

76. MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman (2005)

Read By: Stephanie Leonidas
Length: 1h 20m (80 pages)

Genre: Short Story; Fantasy/Horror; Young Adult

Started: 10 June 2008
Finished: 10 June 2008

Summary: Helena Campbell is the daughter of two circus performers. When her mother gets very ill after an argument, Helena finds herself in a dream world that is split into light and dark. The White Queen, who looks like Helena’s mother, is in an enchanted sleep, and Helena must find the MirrorMask, a charm that will wake the queen and allow Helena to travel back to her own world. However, the Dark Queen has plans for Helena as well, and even more disturbing is the girl who has taken Helena’s place in her own world, bent on destruction.

Review: MirrorMask was originally written as a screenplay, then made into a movie, then novelized from the movie into this book. I haven’t seen the film yet, so I can’t compare, but as a book, it’s pretty “meh”. In pretty typical Neil Gaiman style (particularly Neil-Gaiman-for-children style), a bunch of creepy/spooky stuff happens, and very little is explained satisfactorily, and the whole point or message seems to be “Spooky, huh?” Perhaps things make more sense in movie format, but if so, it didn’t translate very well onto the page. The short run time is a mixed blessing; longer and perhaps Gaiman would have had more time to flesh out the characters and the action and maybe even explain a thing or two, but as it is, I was glad it was so short, so that I didn’t have to spend much of my time trying to figure out what the heck was going on. 2 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Fans of Coraline are going to be the most likely to enjoy this, but it’s not something that I particularly would recommend.

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First Line: This is the story of what happened to me last year when mum got ill and dad and I had to go and stay at Aunt Nan’s and I had my weird dream.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2008 2:27 pm

    I just watched the movie this past weekend!
    I’d recommend it simply because, judging by your review, the end seems to do a better job of explaining what happened.

    It’s not the greatest movie, but as far as indie-fantasy goes, it isn’t half bad.

    Plus the musical score features some fantastic jazz.

  2. June 11, 2008 6:53 pm

    I’ll have to move the movie up my queue. In fact, the reason I read the book at all is that Netflix had recommended the movie, and I wanted to read the book first… and then once I’d read the book I realized that the movie had come out first. Oops.

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