Archives

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere – Neil GaimanTitle: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: September 2, 2003 by HarperCollins
Source: Gift
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 21, 2016
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, Stardust, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.
Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

bookreview1

NEVERWHERE was such a magical experience! I have Alyssa to thank for introducing me to Neil Gaiman and telling me to listen to the audio of this book and actually buying the audiobook for me! Neil Gaiman is an amazing narrator and I always love listening to authors narrate their own story because nothing is left to interpretation. You know they’re reading it exactly the way they want it told.

As much as the whole experience was magical, the characters really made the book. I absolutely loved Richard who is a sweet little cinnamon roll and just so much fun to follow on this journey. He’s so pure of heart and gets into this whole mess because he stops to help a stranger in need. I loved his sweet disposition throughout the book and he was just so utterly charming. I really connected with his characters so much. I also loved strong yet sweet Door and the quest that she’s on throughout this book. She’s a wonderful mix of confident, independent, caring, and thoughtful. And of course I loved the Marquis de Carabas who is part slick, part mentor, part questionable, and part father-figure. He was that character that I love who seems a little bit questionable and has a lot of gray areas when it comes to morals or doing the right thing but when it comes down to it, he really ends up protecting the other characters and has a soft spot deep down.

I will admit that the journey got a bit fantastical for me (which Alyssa warned me might happen because she knows my tastes so well). It wasn’t a bad thing at all, but I’m very much a rule person when it comes to fantasy worlds (which is why I get along with high fantasy so well!) so in spots where the reader is constantly learning about new places or meeting new people with no added history of what/who they are or why they’re a part of the story, my mind just begins to wander and tries to logic them into place, which isn’t the intent of the book. Again, not a bad thing and not something I mean to critique — just a point of why it wasn’t total 100% five stars for me! But when reading stories like these, I try my best just to go with the story and allow myself to get lost in it. I tried to take on Richard’s mentality of suspending the disbelief, which was fun too because it was a struggle for him!

I absolutely LOVED the ending of NEVERWHERE. I won’t spoil anything of course but it was such a wonderful way to wrap everything up. I loved being able to see Richard really figure out what he wants in the end and the final appearance of everyone just warmed my heart! I’m never disappointed in the endings of Neil Gaiman books and really, that’s such a crucial part for me as a reader. A bad ending could ruin a whole book and Neil Gaiman always wraps things up so wonderfully.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

NEVERWHERE was an amazing audiobook for many reasons. Firstly, because Neil Gaiman himself narrates it. He has such an amazing narration voice and I just love when authors narrate their own books because you know that everything is pronounced right, the inflections are all correct, and nothing is missed. It was also SO COOL because there were some neat sound effects (echoes when in a tunnel, muffled voices and static on the phone, etc) and I was just so giddy to hear them! They really made the experience so special. And if you read this, be sure to get HOW THE MARQUIS GOT HIS COAT BACK on audio too! I paid a few bucks for it but it was the full BBC production with a full cast, lots of sound effects, music — it was SO entertaining and so worth the cost of a cup of coffee for that.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Fantastical worlds. I do love fantasy but I’ll admit that I’m more of a high fantasy person than books that involve creatures and things like that. I did enjoy this zany other side of London and it was so much fun to experience in this sort of setting!
Left Me Wanting More: Rules. I always love world-building that has a lot of rules. It sets up a great structure for me and I adapt better to rules than to whimsy!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan of any type of fantasy, NEVERWHERE is a great read. It’s fun and light and still maintains a world of depth and danger.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE NEVERWHERE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    THE MAGICIANS

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil GaimanTitle: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: June 18, 2013 by HarperCollins
Source: Borrowed from Hoopla
Genres: Adult, Magical Realism
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 7, 2016
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, Stardust, American Gods, Neverwhere

A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

bookreview1

Apparently the end of 2016 was filled with Neil Gaiman after listening to two full-length novels and one extra, all on audio. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump and was looking for something comforting and that I knew would be pleasant to listen to and it doesn’t get much better than Neil Gaiman’s stories and his own narration.

I’m really glad that I waited to read/listen to THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE and didn’t pick it up right away. Magical realism is a genre that’s been growing on me over the years and I’ve reached a point where I’ve read a few books within the genre of which I’ve grown quite fond. Usually when I experience a genre clash, it’s all about reading the right books and my latest magical realism reads have just really been clicking. I fear if I had read THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE too soon, the magical experience of everything may have been lost on me and I might not have connected well and I’m so glad that I was really able to appreciate this book!

Alyssa, my friend and master of Gaiman novels, described this one to me as a children’s story for adults, being that the narrator is an adult who is telling the story but it’s about a series of events that happened to him as a child, all around when he was about seven years old, and I think that’s a great way to describe this novel. THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE felt very much like an adult-oriented book and yet it had the younger, children’s mentality due to its time frame and focus. Despite how well I think Neil Gaiman writes for any age, I feel like I tend not to wholly connect to a book that mixes or crosses ages like that. I don’t often like when adult books dip down into a childlike focus and the mix of mentalities can be a bit too much for me sometimes, and that seems to be why I didn’t totally 100% love this story.

I really did enjoy the magic that occurred throughout the book, though! I love magical realism because it doesn’t have to play into stereotypical creatures or situations that are so often found in paranormal or urban fantasy genres and yet it still connects with real life. That slight blur between the narrator’s home life and the magic of the Hempstock family was just delightful and I love the feeling of it being right on the surface. The little beasties and dangerous magical things are that much more frightening in THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE as well because the characters don’t know or understand the rules of their world and often time can’t predict how to control, discourage, or manage them. They’re that much harder to get rid of as well when there’s a limited amount of help and not an entirely fantastical community to offer support.

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE was a quick read and I loved the overall atmosphere and feel. I don’t like stories that dip into the childhood years as much because it’s just not something I connect with as much as I do young adult or adult novels but I still enjoyed it from start to finish. Neil Gaiman always creates the most wonderful atmospheres that have readers completely believing in these worlds and I loved being totally sucked into the story.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I borrowed this audiobook from Hoopla (bless you, Hoopla) because I was having an audiobook slump and needed a narrator I could trust who was also a male voice. I just wasn’t in the mood for a female voice after striking out a few times. I love when authors narrate their own books because I just feel you really get things EXACTLY the way they intended, especially parts that were songs (and actually sung)! Neil Gaiman has a wonderful narrating voice as well and his audiobooks are just so pleasant to listen to.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Magical Realism. This is still a new-ish genre to me and I’m finding that I’m enjoying these stories more and more!
Left Me Wanting More: Sophistication. The book was actually plenty sophisitcated, I guess, but I just don’t connect to that childlike mentality as much.

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you’re a fan of Gaiman, looking for a good audiobook, or attempting to get into more magical realism, this is a great place to dive in!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

BONE GAP    THE RAVEN BOYS

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods – Neil GaimanTitle: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: June 19, 2001 by HarperCollins
Source: Gift
Genres: Adult, Mythology
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 23, 2015
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, Stardust, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere

    Days before his release from prison, Shadow's wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, AMERICAN GODS takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You'll be surprised by what and who it finds there...

bookreview1

For February, I read AMERICAN GODS with my lovelies from On the Same Page! Alyssa is a huuuge Neil Gaiman fan and thanks to her suggestions I’ve read a couple of his books and really enjoyed them all so far so I was really anxious to pick up AMERICAN GODS which also incorporated something that I’m extremely interested in — mythology.

The book follows Shadow, a now ex-con with nothing left to lose so he joins the mysterious Mr. Wednesday on a quest to gather up some other, er… mysterious persons (*whispers* gods) for an epic and un-elaborated upon showdown. Right away, the book grabbed me and felt a little dark — a good kind of dark (wait, is there a bad kind?) — and I was sooo interested in what was about to go down! The only problem was… I quickly hit a lull in the action. I knew right away that this was going to be a book I would really have to pay attention to and that’s not a bad thing. It was more that I knew Neil Gaiman’s story telling would be very intricate, along with several subtle clues to pick up along the way (I missed a lot but Alyssa is a mythology pro and she clued me in) so it wasn’t something I could rush through. I tried to take my time but there was a section in the beginning that I was really struggling to get through. Thankfully it passed and I was once again totally hooked!

Mythology is actually kind of hit-or-miss for me as far as adaptations and retellings. I always have high hopes and I guess I never really know what to expect. Usually the more I know about the myths and the gods, the better the adaptation goes for me but I think the great part about AMERICAN GODS was that it wasn’t just a retelling of the story of X god in a modern world. These were the real and true gods, brought over to America by their believers and then abandoned, not sure what to do in this new world with no followers anymore. It felt like a totally original idea and an original story, not just adapting one that has already been told many times before. Instead of knowing what happens and seeing how the tale was interwoven into the plot, I was following a completely new plot and had no idea what would happen next! I was always excited to see what new god or character would pop, how they fit into the plot, and what could possibly happen as a result of their presence there. Not to mention how Shadow might fit into everything and why he was chosen for this mission in the first place (literally one of my first thoughts when I started reading).

Naturally, Neil Gaiman let everything unfold at the perfect time. Everyone slipped perfectly into place, their roles and motives carefully revealed when the time was right. The magic never felt unnatural or hokey and he had me believing that these gods could really be walking among us, the mortals and non-believers of this world none the wiser.

It’s hard to say too much about the book because as I said before, it’s one best explored as you read it, allowing the story to present itself naturally. If you feel a bit of struggle, push past it because this book was definitely worth it! I’m really glad I read with Alyssa and Amy because I might not have read it on my own (one of the things I always enjoy about the books we read for On the Same Page)!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

American Gods GR updates

character_breakdown1

Shadow // Character Obsessions: Laura, assisting Wednesday, going with the flow.
Shadow was a really interesting character. I really liked his laid-back demeanor despite his ex-con status. He was really fun to follow around in this book and I love what we get to know of him!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: A modern take on mythology. I really loved this modern take on mythology without the book being a retelling. I really got to see the stories and histories in a different way and it also made the gods feel much more real.
Left Me Wanting More: Smoothness. Really, the book was smooth. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing — BUT there was that one lull that really took a big hunk of enjoyable time away from the book for me. I still loved the rest but I wish I hadn’t fallen into the doldrums there!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was SUCH an interesting story! I really enjoyed how creative this book was on so many levels and I just really am finding Neil Gaiman’s writing wholly captivating.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE AMERICAN GODS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE RAVEN BOYS     THE NIGHT CIRCUS

On the Same Page: American Gods by Neil Gaiman | A Reading Roadtrip

American Gods road tripFor February, On the Same Page (Alyssa, Amy, and myself) read AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman as our book of choice. Neil Gaiman is a favorite author of Alyssa’s (like ALL-TIME FAVORITE) so I always feel a teensy bit of pressure when a favorite is involved! AMERICAN GODS was a new read for all of us, though, and it seemed like we all really enjoyed it! There were so many different aspects to the book that really struck my fancy and although travel really isn’t the main focus of the book, it definitely still plays a very large role and you could even argue that without travel, the book wouldn’t have had a purpose (since without travel, these gods would have never had a spot in America). Shadow and his boss Wednesday travel all over the continental United States running errands and completing tasks to fulfill Wednesday’s final end goal (which remains a mystery throughout most of the book) so besides the variety in characters, there’s also a large variety in setting.

I thought about including the mythology aspect in my post but as much as I enjoyed seeing all of the gods that appeared in the book, mythology really isn’t my forte. I always enjoy reading about it but I don’t have the strong well of knowledge to expand upon it in a post so I chose quite a different route (no pun intended) with a “reading road trip”, so to speak. A great portion of the book takes place in the Midwest (and there are many places not in the Midwest as well, but that seems to be where AMERICAN GODS spends most of its time) and that happens to be something I know a lot about! So come on a road trip with me, Shadow, and the gang with a brief collection of highlights from AMERICAN GODS!

First up, a complete map of all of the spots Shadow visited throughout AMERICAN GODS! I remembered quite a bit of these but this American Gods fansite (frowl.org) was a BIG help in filling in the blanks to what I had missed so I didn’t have to go back through the WHOLE book to track them all down! As you can see, this book really does span the whole country, for the most part!

AGmap

Now let’s pretend I’m sending you off on an AMERICAN GODS road trip! YAY! You can’t visit ALL of the places on the map (I mean… you CAN but they’re so all over the place)… But you literally can’t visit every place from the book because some don’t really exist. For those, I’ve taken small liberties to get you as close to the real thing as possible! I’m also a planner so the order of YOUR road trip will not necessarily be the order in which the characters took the trip. They weren’t exactly practical about how they went where… So let’s pretend you live in the center of the United States…

** MINOR spoilers for AMERICAN GODS below! I’m including facts from the book and nothing will give away major plot points but if you want to be kept in the dark, skip to the pretty picture of the map! **

  • Lebanon, KS: Ahh, the center of the United States. Really! Here is where some characters met for errr… a very important thing (also a major spoiler so I cannot say) but it’s the center and therefore, neutral ground.
  • Cherryvale, KS: The birthplace of actress Louise Brooks. Passing through due to Shadow’s interest!
  • Cairo, IL: Home of Mr. Ibis and Mr. Jacquel, where Shadow stayed for a while
  • Rock City, Lookout Mountain, GA: An important gathering place for the book!
  • “Eagle Point, IN”: A fictional place… For the sake of the road trip, I’m just estimating it’s around Indianapolis to make it easier!
  • St. Louis, MO: Where Shadow’s plane is redirected on his way home to Eagle Point and where the story more or less begins.
  • El Paso, IL: Shadow drops off Sam Black Crow
  • Chicago, IL: Shadow meets the Zorya
  • Madison, WI: Madison is mostly just an in-between point where they catch a plane to head west… but you’ll probably need to pass through to get to…
  • The House on the Rock, Spring Green, WI: A very interesting scene involving the World’s Largest Carousel and Shadow meets a few new important characters
  • “Lakeside, WI”: Lakeside is also a fictional place, but it’s extremely close to the UP so I estimated pretty far north and east in WI (PS — go camping there. It’s gorgeous!)
  • Minneapolis, MN: Another stop, where a… car switch happens. It doesn’t sound interesting but what’s going on at the time is!
  • Sioux Falls, SD: Some more pivotal moments in South Dakota and we get some more insight on what the gods can do
  • Lebanon, KS: Back to Lebanon, KS — the center of the United States. You’re home!

AGRT

 So what do you think? Would you take the road trip? Have you been to any of the locations from AMERICAN GODS before?

OtSPcirclebanner250

Thanks again for checking out this month’s feature for On the Same Page! We had a blast reading AMERICAN GODS and sharing our thoughts with you! And don’t forget to check out Amy & Alyssa’s posts today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places) // Amy (Tripping Over Books)

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Stardust – Neil GaimanTitle: Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: August 29, 2006 by HarperCollins
Source: Library
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 24, 2014
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere

    Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

bookreview1

STARDUST is my second full-length novel by Neil Gaiman and pretty much as soon as I finished listening to THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, I knew I had to pick up another audiobook written and narrated by Neil Gaiman as soon as I could. I had actually never seen the movie OR read the book before so I was really anxious to see how I would like this one!

I had one major qualm about STARDUST before I started and that was that it dealt with fairies. I’m almost never a really big fan of fairy stories and books about fae so I was a bit nervous that STARDUST wouldn’t be enjoyable for me, but really anything that Neil Gaiman narrates can’t go that wrong, right? The book did surround a major fairy plot in that the main character Tristran is half-fairy himself and he goes on a quest to find a fallen star that landed in the realm of Fairy to bring to his heart’s desire. Did I hate the fairy-plot? No. Did I love it? Not really. Statistically speaking, I’m still not a fan of fairy books but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! I really appreciated this new fairy tale for the modern age from Neil Gaiman (compared to The Princess Bride. I DIED.) and how it really relates to both children and adults alike!

Of course I loved the banter back and forth between Tristran and Yvaine. (And of course I had to look up how to spell their names because I don’t get to see these things in audiobooks!) I just love bantering relationships and hate-to-love relationships. Obviously the two don’t get along at first. Tristan’s sole purpose of this voyage is to capture the Star and bring her back to Wall. Yvaine is a strong personality and what woman wants to be captured in any way? I really liked their back-and-forth and how throughout the journey, both of them really came to appreciate each other.

Really throughout the whole book, I wasn’t exactly sure how the two separate story lines would come together. Once they finally did, I realized I really should have seen it coming but for some reason I couldn’t fit those pieces together until the reveal. I thought it was a very nice ending to the book and I really enjoyed the way everything wrapped up!

For some reason this was a really hard review for me to write… I think because I was just lost in Neil Gaiman’s narration and the world that he created for this new fairy tale. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is still my favorite Gaiman to date (not like I’ve read that many yet haha) but STARDUST was definitely enjoyable and light but with dark plot points as well.

character_breakdown1

Tristran // Character Obsessions: Victoria, finding the fallen star. Tristran was an interesting character. He’s a teenager and yet there was such an air of innocence that surrounded him. He felt naïve, either a fool in love or a boy who needed to mature. In a way, I guess he was both and he certainly did mature on his quest.
Yvaine // Character Obsessions: Hating Tristran, healing her leg. Naturally, I loved Yvaine. I love girls with strong personalities and I really enjoy that love-to-hate relationship. I was actually rooting for her more than Tristan half the time! She was totally my kind of lady.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Fairies. Statistically speaking, I don’t like books involving fairies. They’re just not my thing. But I really appreciated that this was a sort of traditional fairy tale so the concept really didn’t both me. I think that’s sort of a new revelation! I don’t hate all fairy plots but I guess it depends on how they’re involved in the book.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. I mean, it is a fairy tale. And the weird thing is that the settings are split up between Fairy and the “human” town of Wall. But even still, I think I wanted things more grounded in reality and that’s why I don’t do well with fairy plots. Sometimes things just seem like they get a bit too carried away and sometimes it’s just not my style.

Addiction Rating
Read it

STARDUST was good! I was never bored but it never exactly blew me away either. It’s a Gaiman classic and really enjoyable, especially listening to his narration!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE STARDUST

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        The Princess Bride   Tiger Lily

Mini Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

Mini Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil GaimanTitle: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: September 17, 2013 by HarperCollins
Source: Shelf Awareness
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 27, 2013
Related Posts: Stardust, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere

    You know what it's like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad's in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he's got to do. And the most important thing is DON'T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back. Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

bookreview1

I had actually passed my copy of this ARC along to Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks when I was at BEA because I really don’t read middle grade/children’s and I hadn’t read any Neil Gaiman before, but after finished The Graveyard Book, I pretty much wanted to read more of Neil Gaiman’s books ASAP!

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK was a delightful little story. It’s quick, fun, and always engaging. The story begins with two children whose mother is out of the house so their father is taking care of them. They’ve run out of milk for their cereal and him for his tea, so he has to run to the store to get some more. On his way, he encounters aliens, dinosaurs, time travel, hot air balloons, and so much more, all the while, his kids skeptical of his outlandish story.

I had so much fun reading this and I loved the creativity involved in the various adventures and tribulations that the father has to go through. I don’t read a lot of children’s books, but this had me laughing out loud and I easily read it in one sitting. The illustrations were so cute too and definitely enhanced the story! It was an ARC so not all were filled in, but I loved how they gave me a better picture of how all of these fantastical creatures looked. They added a lot of whimsy to the book!

It was really fun to read, super quick, and perfect if you enjoy whimsy or want to read it to your kids! addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Children’s & Middle Grade. This was just a lot of fun and looking for more Neil Gaiman books, was a natural choice for a quick and easy read. I’m glad I picked up the ARC!
Left Me Wanting More: Time Travel! I love time travel and I loved how it was adapted into this book. It was super cute and everything about the book was just so much fun.

Addiction Rating
Library Read!

I know a lot of people probably won’t buy this since we’re mostly YA readers so I’ll recommend it as another “borrow from the library” read. It’s another fun book if you have kids to read it to and of course, fun for adults too!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE FORTUNATELY, THE MILK

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          The Boy on the Porch   Harry Potter

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book – Neil GaimanTitle: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: September 30, 2008 by HarperCollins
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 10, 2013
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, Stardust, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere

    When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

bookreview1

When I asked for recommendations for audiobooks — especially one more geared toward Halloween & Spooky themes —  naturally Alyssa was more than happy to suggest Neil Gaiman to me, specifically steering me towards THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous because it was my first Neil Gaiman book EVER, which is kind of a big deal. I clearly had nothing to worry about because 1) Alyssa is a Super Librarian and is excellent at recommending books to people. 2) She already knows my reading taste and what I would like, and 3) I’m sure Neil Gaiman fans would agree with the simple statement that… It’s Neil Gaiman.

The thing I loved the most about THE GRAVEYARD BOOK was how delightful the macabre was. For Bod, the graveyard is his home. The dead are his friends and family and being dead is commonplace and everyday. His normal lessons include learning about creatures like ghouls and night gaunts as well as learning how to “fade”. Bod has the freedom of the graveyard which means he can travel wherever he’d like within in the confines of the graveyard. It was all perfectly normal to Bod and felt nice and comfortable to cozy up to a graveyard! I really loved seeing everything through Bod’s point of view and how really honestly delightful ghosts and spirits can be! (Since, you know… I’m a big old scaredy cat.)

I absolutely loved the different sides of the graveyard we get to see as well — It’s not just ghosts and spirits who surround Bod, but Silas who is quite the mystery and sort of falls into a category all on his own, ghouls, night gaunts, witches — and the danger of the living as well. Bod is in the graveyard for his own protection against one specific living person… The Man Jack. He’s also quite the interesting character and there is something so intriguingly dangerous and horrific about him that I was instantly drawn in to how he propelled Bod’s story and how their paths would ultimately have to cross again at some point in the future!

One thing I appreciated the most, I think, was how much of the book focused on Bod’s relationships. He finds a home with his new parents, Mr. & Mrs. Owens and with his guardian Silas. He learns how to make friends in two different ways with Scarlet and with Liza. He learns how to interact with people — even though most of them are not even living — and I really feel like his relationships pull him through the tough spots and he learns to rely on the people who care about him.

I know this was technically probably a children’s or MG novel, but it was so lovely and really all ages can easily enjoy it! I’d love to hear from people who have already read THE GRAVEYARD BOOK! It felt delightfully magical and just really, really special to me. It was about a boy who grew up in a graveyard so you expect it to be creepy, but it actually really warmed my heart. (And it was appropriately dark at times too!)

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I get it, guys! HIIIII. This was my first Neil Gaiman book EVER and naturally, I had to listen to the audio because I’ve heard how spectacular Neil is with narration and I really think it’s something extra special to listen to an author narrate their own books. I feel like it’s a much more personal experience because you get to hear exactly how they intended voices, pauses, tones, etc and it’s not left up to narrator to interpret, however fantastic they may be. I LOVED Neil Gaiman’s narration. Every word felt… gentle. Carefully calculated and spoken but so comforting and peaceful. It just felt really, really special to listen to and I was almost sad once it was over because I really could listen to him speak all day! He has such a wonderful voice and puts on such a lovely performance of his book. If you haven’t listened to one of his audiobooks, narrated by Neil himself, I HIGHLY suggest it!

character_breakdown1

Nobody Owens // Character Obsessions: Freedom of the graveyard, making friends, learning lessons. Bod was simply adorable. We get to see him grow up from a baby — and I felt all the warm fuzzies as the “residents” of the graveyard decide to take him in and protect him — to a young boy to a teenager. I really liked that the book spanned over so much of Bod’s young life because we get to experience his lessons as he learns them and we really get to see his character grow and mature, leading us up to a perfectly bittersweet ending when he matures into a young man and has to question his place in the graveyard.
Silas // Character Obsessions: Missions, guarding Bod, overseeing the graveyard. Silas was… mysterious. And I LOVED IT. He was neither here, nor there. He was maybe human? Not a spirit. He didn’t belong with the living and he didn’t belong with the dead. He was important. And he was very, very respectable. He was definitely one of my favorite characters and incredibly interesting. I could read a whole book about Silas himself.
The Man Jack // Character Obsessions: Assignments, finding Bod. The Man Jack. WOW. He was so interesting and just a little bit bone-chilling. The story actually kicks off with him as he… well, no light way to say this — murders Bod’s family. Bod was supposed to be taken too, but he miraculously evades The Man Jack. It then becomes his mission for the rest of the book to ultimately make right what he messed up when Bod made it away. The BEST is how everything comes back together in the end of the book. He is absent for a while but you know he’ll be coming back into play (not really a spoiler… I mean, that’s the whole reason why Bod’s in the graveyard and can’t leave, ya know) so really the best was just how the whole end of the book came together. What it meant for Bod, what it meant for The Man Jack, and how it all went down. PERFECT narration from Neil Gaiman there. OOH. I got chills with his narration of Jack.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Macabre. This was a bit of a macabre and things that are normally dark & scary (graveyards, ghosts) and made to feel comforting, happy, and normal. I just loved the FEEL of this book.
Left Me Wanting More: Neil Gaiman! I can’t wait to read more Neil Gaiman and hopefully LISTEN to more audio because it was really so spectacular!

Addiction Rating
BUY THE AUDIO!

Read the book, because it really is so wonderful, but if you can, get the audio! It really was fantastic and I LOVED my drives, excited to turn it on again. I absolutely, positively cannot say enough about it and really loved it.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          HP1          The Night Circus