After reading Trigger Warning earlier this year, I was inspired to read Neil Gaiman’s other short story collections. This one, Smoke and Mirrors, was his first. I bought it soon after reading Trigger Warning alongside Fragile Things, his other book of short stories.
Most of the stories are thrilling and creepy. Most are loosely themed on the idea of magic and illusion, and how they are created. A few stories have this theme very explicitly used (including a story about an author inspired by Victorian magic tricks to write short stories whilst struggling with a film script in Hollywood) although all have some element of magic or fantasy included. Some are humorous, some are not so humorous.
As always, I really enjoyed reading Gaiman’s writing. I enjoyed the variety of content and forms of the stories. Some are based on well-known fairy tales and stories, including a retelling of Beowulf with a werewolf hero and a monstrous sea creature. Another is a twisted take on Snow White which suggests that maybe Snow White is not as innocent as it seems. It portrays Snow White as a savage vampire-like creature who forces the Queen, her stepmother, to stop her and protect her kingdom.
Overall, it was another fantastic read from Gaiman.