by Neil Gaiman
This is not the first book I've read by this author. I tried Coraline a few years ago and really didn't care for it. (My main complaint was although the story was very imaginative, the characterization was...I can't quite remember if I could call it "weak," all I remember is that I could've cared less what happened to the characters. A huge flaw for a reader like me, who primarily reads for the characterization.) I've also read Good Omens (written by Gaiman and Terry Pratchett), and I liked that book a great deal, but I attributed that to Pratchett.
But I'll take it back. I really liked this book. It may have something to do with my penchant for fairy tales and how I'm always searching for authors to write new fairy tales for me. And the fact that this was a brilliant fairy tale, very imaginative and beautiful. I loved the three old witches in the wood; the brothers killing each other off for the crown; the woman enchanted to be a bird; the fallen star. And even the bits of humor and wisdom that got thrown in...very nice read.
The ending, however, was a little anti-climatic. When the witch finally meets the star, I was expecting some kind of a showdown, not just a conversation. It works with the story, of course, and it is a nice ending, but it didn't end with a bang. Not that all books have to, of course, but it left me feeling like I had just watched another Hayao Miyazaki film where so much could have been built up to some incredible climax, but he always sidesteps the big boom, and everyone ends up friends at the end, warm fuzzies all around...