TITLE: The Graveyard Book
AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
PUBLISHER: Harper Collins
GENRE: Fantasy, Children's Literature, Horror
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family...
What I Liked:
- I really liked the plot-line. It was a pretty simple story idea (based on 'The Jungle Book' in fact), which worked on so many levels! I was hooked from the first page, really buying into the danger of the situation and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about just how invested I was considering that the book is aimed at children. The structuring of it styled each chapter as a mini-adventure that Bod gets into, but contributed to the overriding sense of danger which I really liked.
- The characters were well-written and interesting. I loved watching Bod develop and grow over the course of the story. It gave a real sense of him maturing as the years went by, and he became cleverer and braver as time went on. Silas was probably my favourite character, Bod's powerful but purposefully detached Guardian who also develops along with the story.
What I Disliked:
- I would probably have to say the ending here. I liked the emotional value of it and I did shed a tear. But my reason for not being too happy with it was because the story-arc for one character took a completely unexpected turn which I didn't really like. I don't want to give too much away but early on, a character is introduced, leaves and then is reintroduced again. What happens to that character left me wondering the point of re-introducing her in the first place.
I was so pleasantly surprised by this children's book! When people recommended it to me (and a lot did) as a fantastic Gaiman book I was a little taken aback to see it was aimed towards an audience much younger than myself. However it had just the right amount of macabre, emotion and imagination put into it that made it very much a worthwhile read for all sorts of ages!