Saturday, January 3, 2009

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This review is going to be in two parts. If the first part is satisfying to you, feel free to skip the second. :)

This is a great kids' book. Optimum age range is probably 10-12, but there's a lot of leeway. It does start out scary, and has one or two more scary sequences, but a kid who's into that funny-gothic thing that's going around now should love it. The writing is pretty simple, the characters are cute, and the ending is tied up neatly. Some similar books are A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, which has 13 books and would take up more time, and The Wednesday Tales, which is a work-in-progress with its third book coming out on the 27th.

Since that's most of the good things I have to say, we now embark into part two.

This book was really disappointing. All the experiences I've had with Gaiman and all the hype I saw for it really had me hoping for something special, and all I got was... lame. There were some interesting ideas, but nothing had me sit up and go "Ooh! That's new!" There seemed to be too much emphasis on "quirky worldbuilding" and not enough on plot. Most of the book is about Bod growing up in the graveyard, which, honestly, is boring as heck. The coming-of-age stories that exist already are like unto grains of sand on a seashore.

Then, after the plot picked up, I guessed all the twists, and that was annoying. On top of that, the ending was way too sweet and inspiring and it didn't go with the tone of the book at all. There was one character that I loved, Silas, and I especially loved the way he was sort of talked around in the narrative, but the book wasn't about him. If it HAD been, THEN I would have loved it.

This just really didn't do it for me because I was expecting something a lot better. If I'd just expected a cute kids' book it would have been great.

Buy The Graveyard Book


  1. We're in line at the library for a copy for my nearly-12 year old; I plan to read it, too. I think he'll like it. It'll be my first Gaiman book, so who knows!

  2. I adore this book unconditionally, I think it's brilliant and clever, but I guess it's not everyones cup of tea and Coraline is scarier.

  3. Thanks for visiting! Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you -- I'm behind on my blogging. I've added a link to your review.

    This book sure seems to do it for some and not for others! I wasn't super impressed with Gaiman (so-so opinion on his writing) until I read American Gods.


Hi guys, made some changes to the comments... You don't have to go to the separate page anymore, and I had to start requiring word verification because of a bunch of spam comments.