I saw the movie before picking up the book. And it was CREEPY! Who'd have thought a kids movie would shake me up so much?! Needless to say, I was eageI saw the movie before picking up the book. And it was CREEPY! Who'd have thought a kids movie would shake me up so much?! Needless to say, I was eager to read the book after it and it didn't disappoint.
This story is about a girl, Coraline, who moves into a old house, divided into four flats, with her parents. She gets bored pretty quickly with the new place, what with her parents being too busy to spend time with her, so she takes to exploring.
She finds a small door which has been walled but can't get in as it is locked and she doesn't have the key. When she meets her neighbours, Ms Spink and Ms. Forcible (retired stage performers) and Mr. Bobo (trains mice to perform circus tricks), they warn her saying she's in great danger and she ought not to go through that door.
But, like any red-blooded kid, she does anyway.
Once there, in the "Other" world, she finds it is a mirror image of her own world, complete with an "Other" mom and dad. Only, these people have buttons for eyes and want her to join them and stay with them forever.
(view spoiler)[When Coraline refuses to exchange her eyes for buttons and runs away, back to her own world, she finds out her parents have been kidnapped by the "Other" mother. So she sets out to rescue them - saving the souls of three ghost children along the way, who, instead of going back to their own world, had decided to stay with the "Other" mother (who had then tricked them and eaten their souls). (hide spoiler)]
I'm surprised this book is classified as a kid's novel, but this is me, speaking as a twenty-something year old; if I try to put myself in a kid's shoes, though, I can see the allure.
Coraline is a fine character. She is just like any other regular kid, nothing more, nothing less; Inquisitive, reckless, scared but yet brave and bored of anything "normal". Gaiman creates a trio of unique, odd-ball characters in the form of Ms. Spink, Ms. Forcible and Mr.Bobo. The "Other" Mother was truly scary - or maybe it was just my imagination fueled by that excellent movie (must watch, BTW)
A good book to read right before bed for those who love a bit of horror every now and then. Four stars for the sheer brilliance of Gaiman's imagination....more
It isn't often one comes across a book by an Indian author, with a sequel. It is even rarer when the said sequel might just be better than its predeceIt isn't often one comes across a book by an Indian author, with a sequel. It is even rarer when the said sequel might just be better than its predecessor.
Tripathi once again delves into Indian mythology and spins a fascinating tale around many of the names heard in tales told at our grandmothers' knees, portraying them as mere mortals. Last left, Shiva was about to launch an attack on the dreaded Nagas to avenge Brahaspathi's death. The book's blurb gives you enough indication, and then some, that Shiva's plan might not be that easy to execute. His desire, and ours, for answers takes him all across India in this book, with the city in focus being Kashi.
I'll give the book this, the author has good command over the story and doesn't let it meander, with something or the other always afoot. Filled with secrets, shocks and betrayal, this book is a page-turner from start to finish. The reveal of the Naga's identity was shocking, to say the least. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING, PEOPLE! The "secret" of the Nagas, however, was something I had long suspected so I wasn't blown away by the "cliff-hanger". As for that Master Pupeteer, I think it's (view spoiler)[Bhrigu (hide spoiler)]. There's a suspicious character if there ever was one!
But, the book is not perfect either. Many issues are brought up and then never addressed again, or explained properly. For example, the awfully gross "ritual" the Branga people perform in Kashi - what is THAT about? Or this mysterious plague that seems to affect them, nothing is mentioned as to what it is or why it is happening or how it started and it is never brought up again after that chapter.
Sati annoyed me a bit in this book. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be OK with leaving my 6-month old son and going off to fight lions or planning a break-in because I'm wondering what the King of Kashi is up to when he disappears mysteriously into his palace every now and then (BOUNDARIES, woman!). Anandamayi, however, was a delight to read about. I couldn't help but grin every time that feisty, saucy girl sauntered onto the page!
The author often uses the story to put forth his opinion on many issues - like Karma, ethics, consequentialism, existentialism and the balance of Good and Evil. Though it is clearly intended to make you think, sometimes it does get a bit too much. What I also found jarring was the use of certain words/phrases that didn't quite match with the era the book is set in. I get that the author has tried to give the story as modern a take as possible, but I can't quite digest the fact that these people know of "radio waves" and "accumulator machines" OR that they say things like "You're a 180-year old virgin??" (Was anybody else reminded of Twilight here? No? Just me? OK.) and "I never understand their mumbo-jumbo". But maybe that's just me.
Q. What do you get when you throw together - -> A newly appointed "Death Merchant" in charge of helping souls find the right bodies -> An infantQ. What do you get when you throw together - -> A newly appointed "Death Merchant" in charge of helping souls find the right bodies -> An infant girl who has the ability to kill people by merely pointing at them and saying "kitty" -> A lesbian who "borrows" her brother's Armani suits to hit on Yoga instructors -> A sixteen-year old goth girl who has a penchant for all things dark and broody -> An ex-cop with a disturbing obsession for dating websites for desperate Filipino (wo)men -> A Russian lady who has an odd fondness for bears -> A Chinese lady who swipes dead pets to make soup out of them -> A fellow "Death Merchant" named Minty Fresh, who wears only lime green clothes -> A homeless man who thinks he's the Emperor of San Fransisco and owns an army - of three dogs -> A female Buddhist monk who creates fashionably-dressed stuffed animals and animates them using the souls she steals -> Two old women who fake their own death and absolutely, positively refuse to die -> Three creatures of Darkness who lurk around in sewers and heckle at you as you pass by - and then try to kill you -> Two giant, black hell-hounds named Alvin and Mohammed, who'll eat anything from frozen chicken to fire extinguishers?
A. One hysterically funny book you SHOULD NOT MISS....more