Review: The Graveyard Book
Illustrated by: Chris Riddell
Released by Bloomsbury on 30 September 2008
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.
There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod's family.
If you ask me what my favourite Doctor Who episode is, I would probably, first of all, cry about how I can’t just pick one episode, and then mention The Doctor’s Wife, which is an episode written by Neil Gaiman. I believe it’s one of two episodes he wrote, the other being the one with Clara and the Cybermen (I honestly forgot the title, oops). So yeah, it was only natural that I would pick up some of Neil Gaiman’s books. I did this a while back when I read Stardust, and now with this book.
The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody Owens, Bod for short. He has lived in a graveyard for as long as he remembers, having been raised by the ghosts that inhabit this graveyard – and his guardian Silas. We follow Bod as he explores the graveyard and eventually the world beyond, where the real danger lurks. The man that has killed Bod’s family is still out there, waiting for him to finish the job.
I found the concept of this story very intriguing, a boy living in a graveyard among the ghosts. And I have to say the story was written out very nicely. I did have some trouble getting into it at first, but as Bod got older, I found it easier to read more pages a day. I loved meeting all the different ghosts, who all had their own stories of course; but I think my favourite has got to be Liza. View Spoiler »I felt a bit dumb though that I didn’t realise that Silas was a vampire until I was more than halfway through the book. All the signs were there, but I guess it’s just because it wasn’t clearly stated in the book that I didn’t realise this until then. Oh well, he’s still cool! « Hide Spoiler
Near the end, the book started getting super exciting, and I really couldn’t put it down. There was a bit of a plot twist that I hadn’t seen coming until it was almost revealed at least, and oh it was really thrilling. View Spoiler »I was a bit sad though that Scarlett’s memory was erased and I really hoped Bod would find her later on in the story and she’d remember and they would become friends again, but that didn’t happen. « Hide Spoiler The book did have a slightly open ending, and honestly, I would have loved to read more about Bod’s adventures outside of the graveyard, but I guess I’ll just have to fantasise about that.
The illustrations in the book are also amazing, though I secretly would have loved to have more of them instead of just one a chapter (and they were long chapters, I believe in total there were only eight or so, while the book was almost 300 pages long). I am just a sucker for stories with illustrations, and not necessarily children’s books.
The Graveyard Book was a very easy read, and I honestly loved Neil Gaiman’s writing. It felt so different from Stardust though, partly because this book was written more for children rather than adults. And I honestly think that’s magic – being able to write such different-sounding books, but still having it being obvious Gaiman books. I am not sure which of his books I am going to pick up next, maybe I’ll pick up a physical copy of Coraline and reread that (and then rewatch the movie).
I recommend this book to everyone who enjoyed Coraline (whether it was the movie or the book) and just everyone who loves fantasy stories.
My opinion in one gif: