Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Recommendation: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

I've gotten a bit behind on book reviews, so allow me to present The Graveyard Book!

One of the reasons it's taken me so long to review this book is that I wasn't sure for a while how I felt about it. It's a coming-of-age story set in a graveyard (based on The Jungle Book) and it's written by Neil Gaiman, so that should be enough to send you off to buy it.

Gaiman's worldbuilding is unlike anything you will ever see, which is probably why he's the only urban fantasy author I actually like. The interesting thing about all of his novels is that you only see a small piece of the unique world he creates. You leave his stories with a mix of wonder and a sense of incompletion, and I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

It's hard to pinpoint an age group for this novel. It's labeled as middle grade, but the writing style is very mature (and well-crafted, much more so than the other novels of his I've read), and as I was reading it, I felt like it was very much a children's book written for adults. It's very much one of those books with crossover appeal among children, teens, and adults alike.

The one aspect of the book that I felt iff-y about was the overarching plot, which centered around the book's main villain. The man Jack's motives for trying to kill Bod were cliche and silly, something that significantly weakened the book. Despite Jack's scariness, I had trouble taking him seriously as a real villain.

Do I recommend this? Yes. Go read it, or any other one of Gaiman's works. Neil Gaiman is truly one of those authors that everyone should sample in their lifetime. (And he's cool enough to be on The Guild and The Simpsons!) 
(I dare you to say you never fantasized about this!)

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