Friday, October 1, 2010

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Rating: 5 out of 5
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Children's ed edition (20 Oct 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0747569010
ISBN-13: 978-0747569015

Opening Sentence: "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife."

In the dead of the night a family is murdered and Nobody (Bod) Owens is lucky enough to escape his family's fate, hiding in a nearby Graveyard. He is taken in and raised by the inhabitants of the Graveyard who just happen to be ghosts, with the mysterious not-dead-not-alive Silas as his Guardian. However the man named Jack is out there, waiting, hunting the boy named Nobody.

I am not a huge Neil Gaiman fan. The only book of his in the past I have liked is Good Omens which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett. I have preferred the movies of his books to the actual book, weird I know. However I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It was fantastic from the start.

Nobody Owens is a delightful character and very realistic. He makes mistakes and that just makes him more endearing. Silas is fantastic, very dark and brooding, but you can see he cares for the boy. Mr and Mrs Owens are kind, caring, and loving. But the girl Scarlett I did not like at all. Couldn't tell you why exactly, to me she just wasn't very nice.

The ending was quite sad, and it didn't go the way I thought it would after what was said in the book. Vague and cryptic I know but I don't want to give it away. It was touching and a nice way to end but still I felt a little let down. Like I had asked for sprinkles on my ice cream and didn't get it. The ice cream is still good but there are no sprinkles. Basically it boils down to I don't understand why the baddies were so hot to trot to kill Bod, even though it was explained, for me it didn't gel with what was previously written.

The book while being Young Adult would probably not suit a child younger then a twelve year old. It deals with death and murder and while not graphic you are left in no doubt as to what is happening. Its no more traumatic/graphic I think then Harry Potter. But it is very dark in its humor and story telling. There are no cutesy fairies, lovable unicorns, or adorable talking animals. You get ghosts, ghouls, and other nasties. Things do not always work out great, and the hero has faults.

All that being said the book is touching, sweet and clever. It is not perfect which is great, makes the story almost believable. It is an addictive read and you will want to know what happens next, so make sure you clear your schedule for this book. I really enjoyed the book and the ending only bothered me after the fact when I had time to think about it.

I would highly recommend this book.

Other Reviews
If you want some other reviews check out these great ones from some fellow book bloggers
The Eclectic Reader
Books and Musings From Oz
From My Bookshelf
Ticket to Anywhere
Polishing Mud Balls


  1. I haven't gotten around to reading this yet. Like you, I don't usually like Gaiman's books a lot. But I did like Odd and the Frost Giants, which I read a few months ago, so I might give this one a try.

    I'm surprised no one's made a movie of it yet!

  2. There probably is a movie in the works as we speak. I have not read Odd and the Frost Giants, might give it a try.

  3. This would be a good story to turn into a movie,and I probably would like it better than Coraline.

    The ending...I hear you about the ending, but I was talking about this with another person, and we both agreed, that ending seems open for a sequel. Not saying that is Gaiman's intent, but it would be great to read a continuation of where the story left off.

    At some point down the road, you should listen to the audiobook. The story will come alive to you even more so than it did through the reading.

    Fantastic review.

  4. Yes it would make a good movie and with cgi the way it is these days a pretty good live movie not animation.

    I agree it was written in a way that there could be a sequel. I think a sequel would be good.

    I have heard around the book bloggers that the audio book is fantastic. One day I hope to get to it, though I am not a fan of audio books as they generally put me to sleep.

  5. Hi there!

    After seeing you over a Twitter I thought I'd pop by and see how you are doing.

    I've not read this book yet, but I love the first line. That's fantastic and good sign of what to expect from the rest of the book!

    Seeing your comments about audio, I may have to 'read' it that way.

    *Excited* Thank you!

  6. This has been on my wish list for a while. And you might find it as an answer on my current quiz :)

  7. I think I have a copy of this one somewhere around here. I've been wanting to read it for some time now. I am glad you enjoyed it, Caspette.

  8. A book by Gaiman and Pratchett? That sounds quite intresting. I can't imagine what that'll be like, since that two authors are so different.

    But I have it on my wishlist now, with a bit of luck I'll find it beyond the christmas tree XD