Release Date: September 20, 2007
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After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family.
The Graveyard Book was my first Neil Gaiman experience, and I must say that I’m very pleased! I definitely want to read more of Gaiman’s works, particularly Coraline and Stardust since I enjoy the movie adaptations of both, and I want to see what the source material is like. The Graveyard Book captured me from the very first page, and didn’t let me go until the final chapter.
The Graveyard Book is a lot darker than I was expecting. I’m not sure why I was expecting anything else, since it’s about a boy who grows up in a graveyard, but I thought it was going to be on the lighter side so as to appeal to children. Not that children don’t like darker books, but you know what I mean. Instead, the book starts out with a massacre in Bod’s home, and only he is able to escape by wandering into the local graveyard and being protected by the ghosts. If that isn’t dark enough for you, then I don’t know how to please you.
Gaiman’s writing reminded me a lot of Maggie Stiefvater’s, particularly her Raven Cycle books, wherein everything feels very whimsical and there is that odd humour that would feel out of place if anyone else were to try it. Gaiman’s writing is enticing and gripping, and also really funny.
I loved reading about Bod and his ghostly family, particularly his relationship with Silas. His supernatural family teach Bod to do ghostly things such as Fade and Haunt, and watching Bod grow to master these abilities was brilliant, especially since Bod had a tonne of other stuff going on as well. Silas and Bod’s relationship was the best thing about the book, and I thought they were all kinds of adorable.
There is a weird type of romance, although if you ignore the romantic undertones (which is easily done if you’re good at that sort of thing… like me) then it’s a really sweet friendship that I would have loved to have read more about.
I would recommend The Graveyard Book if you’re into darker stories filled with humour and excellent relationships between family. And if you like creepy villains similar to Naughty John from The Diviners, great endings, and slightly obscure stories, then this book is for you.