This was my first venture into Neil Gaiman’s writing, and I have to say I was definitely impressed. More than impressed, even. The book is basically about Nobody, a young boy whose family is murdered one night by a man called Jack. Fortunately, he manages to toddle away and off to the local graveyard, where he is raised and educated by a bunch of ghosts. That is until the man called Jack wants to finish the job…
I love the premise; it’s just so unique (though it borrows ideas from The Jungle Book) and really cleverly exploited as Gaiman creates this entire world of the dead, full of the mysterious Sleer, Hounds of God and a horrific realm known as Ghulheim, populated by terrifying creatures, whilst ‘our’ world lives side-by-side in blissful ignorance.
The story is pretty gothic and gruesome but Gaiman is such a master storyteller it feels like you’re reading a classic, and the comic parts are laugh-out-loud funny. It deals with real-life issues too, like growing up, love and loss, whilst being charming enough to captivate young and old alike. The illustrations from Chris Riddell are beautiful too and help to bring the vivid world to life.
The only thing I found I didn’t like in this book, and it is just a small thing really, was the lack of detail given about certain characters, like Silas, though it does give them an air of mystery. Also, the chapters in the book are quite ‘episodic’ and the story doesn’t fully flow until the latter half of the book, but they are immensely enjoyable nonetheless.
The writing is simply exquisite, the plot magnificent with flawless narrative & unpredictable twists and the characters near-perfect. I cannot wait to see this on the big screen (please don’t muck it up movie-makers!) and couldn’t recommend it enough!
[SYNOPSIS: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 - an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family…]