Monday, February 9, 2015

Book Challenge: A Book Set Somewhere You've Always Wanted to Visit

Book: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimain
Pages: 307
Date Read: 1/8 - 1/9/2014 (except I haven't gone to sleep yet, so it's still totally 1/8.)
Rating: ☆ ☆ 

Other Categories this book could 
have fit into:
A book with nonhuman characters
A book set in a different country
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet
A book you can finish in a day
A book with magic

First of all, in answer to the challenge, this book takes place in England -- in an old English cemetery, no less. Definitely someplace I would like to visit.

I wanted to like this book more than I did. I mean, I did like it, don't get me wrong, but I was expecting to love it, and I'm feeling kind of meh. It's an old problem with me -- whenever I read a story about Death, I'm always disappointed because of all the things I would have done differently.

For starters, if I'd written the book, Silas would be the main character. I don't know why the most interesting characters are always minor characters. I mean, not that Nobody wasn't wonderful, and he was definitely the appropriate main character for the target age group of the book, but I found myself getting bored with Bod's story as I wondered what Silas was up to. All the most interesting action sequences were summarized or skipped.

There were a lot of cool scenes in this. But the pacing felt off, and it was a struggle to keep up with the timeline. There were many times that it felt like the plot had been lost entirely.

But it is clever, and the world is beautiful. I love the Jack thing (that's all I'm saying, for fear of spoilers, but the Jack thing is super clever.) I really love the ghosts and the concept of a child being raised in a graveyard. I loved the uniqueness of Bod -- he was unnatural in exactly the way you would expect a child raised by ghosts to be.

I just loved the first half so much more than the second. This book had so much potential, and then I felt like it fell flat. I came out thinking of all the cool stories that could be told in this world, and definitely wanting to write some Silas fan fiction. Honestly, I would love it if Gaiman would write more in this world ... it's weird to want more from a book you didn't love. But I feel like there's still so much potential that could be tapped.

In the end, I was simply underwhelmed. I don't highly recommend this book, though it is an interesting world that has me thinking. I do appreciate it for the creativity it lent me alone. And Silas. Ok, it's totally worth reading this book just for Silas. Can Neil Gaiman write a book in which Silas is the main character? That's all I want.

(I really need to stop writing my book reviews at two o'clock in the morning.)



Ginny-Gin-Gin said...

Haha, it's funny to see how the other books I read at the same time influence the ratings of books I read around the same time. (For instance, I read this book after I had a loooong semester of reading contemporary short stories that killed my soul a little bit).

I agree with a lot of points in your review and they're actually the reason that I like Neil Gaiman, but he's not my favorite. (Even though I did rate this book really highly. But I loved some of the chapters and I thought the beginning was especially good.) I love his imagination, but there's just something about his stories that leave me a little hollow? I don't know. It's hard to explain and maybe I don't make any sense, haha.

The Hot Girl in the Comic Shop said...

The only other book of his I've read is Coraline, and it's one of my favorites. But there is something about his writing that's just... off. Part of it, I think, is that he knows his worlds so well, they make so much sense to him, that he forgets that the rest of us don't actually know how it all works. You always kind of feel like a stranger in his stories, and not in a good way. And "hollow" is not a bad way of putting it. It's like there's just something missing from his stories.