Graveyard Book Review

14 01 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I’ve been a fan of Neil Gaiman for close to fifteen years. It began with The Sandman, one of the first series that I collected when I began to read comics, and has continued through his novels (Anansi Boys and Coraline are particular favourites). While I haven’t liked everything he has written, his recent Eternals comic was interminable and I thought American Gods was too dry in parts, I was especially excited by The Graveyard Book, which has been billed as gothic fantasy meets The Jungle Book.

For the most part it lives up to the hype. Being a young adult book it’s a quick concise read and I literally had to pace myself to read a chapter each night. Much like The Jungle Book the chapters can be read as short stories, each dealing with another period in our protagonist Bod’s life. This approach works well – each chapter is gripping, inventive and with interesting twists.

I also greatly enjoyed the approach Gaiman took with conventional horror standards. The Danse Macabre is deconstructed as a festival held between the living and the dead. Silas, a vampire (who is never named as a vampire), is Bod’s guardian and antithesis of a villain – if anything he is the hero of the story. While Miss Lupin is quite possibly the coolest teacher werewolf ever. 

The overarching plot of the book involves the murder of Bod’s family that opens the novel and it builds nicely throughout the novel with a twist that genuinely surprised me.

Gaiman has talked about possibly revisiting the world of The Graveyard Book and I for one will be there if he does.

8/10

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