Annalisa's Reviews > The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Jul 16, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, childrens, magical-realism
Read in July, 2009

The premise of this book is a boy growing up in a graveyard raised by ghosts. As long as he remains in the gated cemetery home learning how to fade and scare, he is safe from the assassin in the wide open world hunting him. As a parent that need to protect a child and fear of sending them off into the big bad world touched a chord with me. I loved Bod's relationship with these personalities past that loved and shaped him the best they could with their antiquated knowledge. I especially loved Silas, his wise guardian stuck between the world of the living and the dead.

The book starts off dark, with the murder of Bod's family, but the graveyard characters are enchanting not eerie. It is the graveyard that is the refuge and the world of the living scary. I loved the ghoul's gate, the unmarked territory for witches and suicides, and the ancient tomb with magical protection in the cemetery. I also loved the tricks of the cemetery and that the only one who could see him was a child and therefore he was attributed to her imaginary friend. Gaiman has a talent from making fantasy, even dark fantasy, alluring and metaphorical.

I do however think the Jack of All Trades were underdeveloped and never really explained, particularly the history and purpose and powers, as were the Hounds of God. I would have also liked to know exactly what type of being Silas is. I have suspicions, but I could be wrong. I also think some of the scenes could have been more magical, especially the macabre dance. I know Gaiman is capable of that level of magical realism I love. Gaiman doesn't quite delve deep enough into the emotion, magic, power of the story as I know he can.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Rachel I am SO curious about this book. I've had several people tell me I HAVE to read it...

Annalisa I'm curious too :).

message 3: by Rachel (last edited Jul 13, 2009 01:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel What do you think so far?

message 4: by Annalisa (last edited Jul 13, 2009 02:09PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa I'm 50 pages into it and so far so good. I don't know if I'll like it as much as Stardust. That was so enchanting; this is a little darker. It's hard to tell this early in the book, but it has illustrations which I just love.

Rachel Cool! I'm excited to read it :)

Bonny I completely agree with you that the Jacks and the prophecy were never developed enough to truly understand why they needed to kill Bod. Maybe I presume too much, but I was sure that Silas was a (view spoiler). He's neither living nor dead, avoids daylight, sleeps in the chapel belfry where he comes down head first, consumes only one food but that isn't bananas, flies "like the strobing flight of a bat" when Bod is in the police car, and has no reflection in the table top at the pizza place. I kind of like all these scattered clues!

Annalisa Bonny,
I think he is one too. It's been awhile since I've read this but I remember Silas the best. I liked him.

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