Rating: 5 out of 5
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Children's ed edition (20 Oct 2008)
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.
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