Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Review: Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book"

A fun, fairy-tale like YA novel, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is filled with magic, both literally and figuratively: many scenes are constructed such that you truly experience a sense of wonder. Magical books are a cliché, yes, but reading TGB reminded me of the books I loved as a kid, and how the world seemed new and filled with opportunity afterwards. What is magic if not that?

Not surprisingly given its title, the book starts with a murder. A boy’s parents are killed, and the only thing that saves the boy is being adopted by the ghosts and specters of the local graveyard. They raise him as one of their own, and his ongoing education is a fun take on the myths and history of these supernatural creatures.  (It's apparently loosely based on Kipling's The Jungle Book.) In particular, Silas, a vampire that takes the boy – now named Nobody Owens – under his care, is wonderfully depicted in how his fatherly nature and vampiric nature conflict and complement each other. My only criticism is that the story can occasionally feel a bit too pat, but that's probably the result of the genre more than anything, and certainly a minuscule price to pay for this little gem of a book.

Cross Posted on Thought Ambience

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