So far, I don’t think I’ve rated a Gaiman novel (or graphic novel) lower than four stars on Goodreads, and this book is certainly no different. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK
by Neil Gaiman
Children’s paranormal fantasy
Rated: / 5
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 . . .
There’s something to be said about story openings, and The Graveyard Book gives the opening of all openings:
It just grabs you, that sentence. And that picture? Horrifying. In fact, some of my little voldies were so morbidly riveted by the picture that I was made to read the first chapter over and over for them. What’s amusing is that the few little voldies I read to were perceptive enough to ask the most poignant question: “Oh no! Does the bad guy get the baby?”
Too bad I never get past reading about ghosts. I’m sure they would have liked hearing about the ghouls and witches and night-gaunts and the Jacks. But then again, the little voldies are frelling three, and all they really cared about are A) ghosts, B) the bad man whose name is Jack, and C) monsters. Not too shabby, though!
Anyway, it took me some time to figure out how all the chapters fit into the bigger picture of things, because I felt the chapters were all great short stories on their own (“The Witch’s Headstone” and “The Hounds of God” I could definitely see as stand-alone). That said, by the end, things get tied up fabulously, with an ending that made me kinda sniff and sigh with sadness and satisfaction. Also, Silas rocks.
As I said in my Goodreads, Gaiman is a wizard.
4 out of 5 cookies!