Book Review: M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman

I am a sucker for short stories, with my ever-dwindling attention span, and I’m also a bigger sucker for Neil Gaiman for his wild and imaginative stories. So for me, another short story book is a perfect summer read.

Like most other short story books by any author, you get a mixed bag of good and not-so-good stories, but the positive side of things is that you can always skip the ones you do not like. With M is for Magic, unfortunately, I did skip many stories – many were already included in previous collections I have read, and others did not trigger my interest.

However, there were three notable stories I particularly liked. The Case of Four and Twenty Blackbirds is quite an interesting take on Humpty Dumpty, turning the whole story into an in-depth criminal investigation. The second story I liked was Troll Bridge, which tells a tale of the relationship between a kid and a troll. At face value it is a decent enough story, but with a little bit of a creative effort on your part you can project the scenario into your adult life.

The piece I particularly loved the most was Sunbird, primarily due to its nature: food. It is the story about a group of very rich friends who have eaten everything possibly edible (with over zealous descriptions), except the elusive Sunbird. I found the story particularly fascinating. Again, I was probably hungry.

Overall, M is for Magic is a good book, however, if you want a better collection of short stories I would recommend Fragile Things by the very same Neil Gaiman,

Book Review: Fragile Things

Ten Word Summary: Short, wonderful, imaginative and highly entertaining for the most part.

There are a few books nowadays – unfortunately – that are capable of throwing you into an inexplicably odd world where you can find yourself comfortable and restless at the same time. Having a book with not one story, but stories that do just that, is a piece of marvel in itself.


Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things is a wonder – and Neil has no issue at all in putting that word as part of the extended title. This collection of short stories sends you into magical world after magical world. When it succeeds, it captivates you, immerses you into a touching story (often thought-provoking) and genuine atmosphere. I have, at times, felt I was sitting along with the months of the year as they shared their stories over the bonfire. I have been tormented by a demon in Hell for the sins I have committed, for being weak.. I have clubbed with aliens, ate cat meat, been a psychotic mess, been in love and out of it.

Granted, not all stories are going to appeal to everyone – certainly I could not help myself to finish a couple of stories, and the greater lot of the first quarter of the stories were subpar… but as I flipped the pages, the stories got progressively better and more bizarre. And there’s 27 of them.

Bottom Line: If you have little time to spare, or short term memory, this is your best place to be re-introduced to literature.