30 November 2012

Audiobook Friday #8 - Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Published: 30 September 2008 by HarperCollins

Pages: 320 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Paranormal, Young Adult

Source: Own library

Audiobook Version
Published: 31 October 2008 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Narrated By: Neil Gaiman

Length: 7 hrs, 48 mins

Check it Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository ~ Audible

Synopsis

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 . .
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My Thoughts

I've always been a little ashamed that I haven't read a Neil Gaiman book, after all, it's hard to find someone that doesn't like his writing style and story-telling prowess. I was determined to rectify that with The Graveyard Book, even if I was a little unsure about the intended audience.

However, I'm now seriously regretting NOT reading a Neil Gaiman book earlier. Right from the beginning I was completely entranced by The Graveyard Book - the characters, the setting, the tension and the enormous creep factor.

I loved Bod - it was easy to like him, empathise with him, and travelling with him through Neil Gaiman's mind was like going on the best creepy holiday ever. The supporting characters are equally engaging or villainous and although I couldn't figure Silas out in the beginning, by the end I was almost in tears. The Man Jack is incredibly villainous (I just wanted to use that word again!) and the ghouls were fantastically creepy and macabre.

Although not all the parts of the plot are completely connected to the story, I did enjoy the sideways wanderings into other, unrealised, plot lines. For me it helped to build the world of the graveyard, the kooky spooky characters and kept me guessing as to just how things would play out.

The Graveyard Book is marketed as a young adult book, but as a reader who is quite far past that particular audience, I found it captivatingly creepy. The ending also fell into the category of unresolved plot lines, but sometimes I don't want everything to be wrapped up nicely - I want to imagine for myself how things really ended up.

The Audio Version

Books narrated by their authors are unusual, but to find one that is superbly narrated by the author is a rare chook indeed. Therefore, I hereby christen Mr. Gaiman a rare chook as The Graveyard book is one of the very few audiobooks I could just listen to - no playing Sudoku no half eye on the scene outside the window, it was an audiobook where I could just close my eyes and enjoy the storytelling.

Passion for his story and characters, great inflection and a creepy musical score made The Graveyard Book a wonderful listen.

12 comments:

  1. I have both read and listened to this book and I think having Gaiman narrate it definitely adds an extra shot of special into the story experience.

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    1. I don't think I would have liked it quite so much reading it, but he made it such a wonderful book to listen to!

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  2. NGL, dear, much as I think Neil Gaiman is an amazing man, his books aren't quite right for me. I still read them and like them over all, but they tend to fall in the 3-4 spectrum, and don't approach my favorites. The audio of this one is stellar, even if Gaiman does suck at sounding like a girl. He just has an awesome voice. His accent. *swoons* He did do a marvelous job with Man Jack. So true! This is my favorite of the three Gaiman books I've read. :)

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    1. Well, hold on, I liked the graphic novel Sandman better, but whatever.

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    2. It's probably why I avoided them for a while, I was quite worried this particular one just wouldn't work for me.

      But yeah, the accent makes it even better!

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  3. I have been hearing this authors name a lot lately and I had no idea what books he had written. This one sounds really good! I had thought from the cover it was MG but apparently not. I think I'll have to pick one up by him just to say I've read something of his. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It could be MG, depending on the reader - I'd have probably read it as a 12 or 13 year old, but my brother would have had terrible nightmares. But he's a bit of a wussy ;-)

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  4. So far, at the request of a really good friend, I've only ever read American Gods by Gaiman, but man, am I glad I did. He is such a master story-teller, constantly infusing his books with mystery, word-play, creepiness and mythological/supernatural elements. This is why he rocks! Since finishing American Gods, I've been meaning to pick up another one of his books and it looks like this will be it! So happy you liked it!

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  5. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I love The Graveyard Book. He's got this twisted sense of humor that I love and I adore that he has this mixture of darkness and hope in a lot of his works. I also try to find his books on audio if he's done the Narration because he's fantastic. I'd recommend the audiobook of his short story collection M Is For Magic. One of my favorites.

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  6. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors too. I love The Graveyard Book, I read it last year and intend to reread it soon. From what you've said, I am going to buy the audiobook to give it to my hubbie - he just loves audiobooks and this one seems to be perfect for him ^6

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  7. I liked the Graveyard book, but I had more with Annansi boys and Stardust :) Great review!

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  8. I have yet to read a Neil Gaiman novel, but this one is on my TBR list for 2013! And it is nice to hear that the audio is really well read! I like having good audio options! Thanks for a good review!

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