Friday, February 20, 2009

The Graveyard Book

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Children Lit
Published: 2008

Recommendation: Fun read for early teens and adults who appreciate well-written children literature.
Rating: 8/10

Summary: Nobody (Bod) Owens is an orphan raised by ghosts in a graveyard. This is the story of Bod growing up, exploring the world, making friends, discovering himself, and defeating the bad guys.

Reactions: This book received positive reviews from almost everyone, so I've been meaning to read it for a few months now. I've only read adult fiction by Gaiman before (Neverwhere is my favorite) and wasn't quite sure what to expect from a children's book by him.

On the outside the book is beautiful. My edition (pictured above) comes as a hardcover with nice thick pages and the illustrations in the book are very well done. The book seems to be targeted to pre-teen or early teen boys. The book is 320 pages long with a rather large font and the illustrations. Each chapter starts a shorter story arc of events that tend to be fairly contained but together make up the whole story. I imagine this is a great format for a bedtime book -- you could read one chapter every night and have a good place to stop each time.

I have never been a fan of ghost stories or horror movies in my childhood. I still haven't read all that many ghost stories. Reading the first chapter I had some doubts as to whether this is a book I would enjoy due to the rather gruesome start of the story, but I got into the story somewhere around chapter 2 and didn't look back.

One big reason I enjoyed the book a lot was Bod, the boy protagonist. He came off quite realistic and had this perfect combination of recklessness and obedience at the same time. Sometimes Bod came off a little TOO good, but he stayed likable throughout. Another character I liked even better was Bod's mysterious guardian Silas. He appeared to be more of a parental figure than the two "parent" ghosts who adopted Bod and weren't mentioned nearly as much in the book.

The plot as expected was fairly straightforward to match the intended audience. I was slightly surprised on how the book actually ended, leaving the reader to wonder what would happen next. Perhaps there will be a sequel -- I would certainly buy it.

Overall it was a quick, enjoyable read for a cold winter night. It's the sort of book that makes one comfortable and nostalgic remembering childhood adventures and the thrill of supernatural.

First Line:
There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

Other Reviews: Fyrefly's Book Blog, Confessions of a Book Whore, Lynda's Book Blog, Stainless Steel Droppings, Fantasy Book Critic, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent


  1. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this. It was certainly a marvelous story. I read it in novel form and then soon after picked up the audio version and listened to Neil tell the story. It is wonderful!!! I highly recommend listening to Neil read his stories, it always lends an extra air of magic.

    Neverwhere is my favorite as well, but this book certainly is near the top of my favorite Gaiman books.

    Great review.

  2. I am not sure how Gaiman does it. He just manages to weave a spell with his words. I am thinking of picking up Coraline now. I've heard a lot of good things about it.