Mylissa's Reviews > Coraline

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
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's review
May 25, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-books
Read in May, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I've been meaning to read Coraline for ages and ages. I've heard lots of good things about it, and then the movie came out. I didn't see the movie because I like to read things before I see them, but the previews made me want to read it even more, but I kept putting it off. But a friend lent it to me, and I had the movie out from Netflix, so I obviously had to read it before I watched.

I found it really enjoyable. It's told in very much the style of a fairy tale - and I do think it's meant to be a modern fairytale, but it's much more the style of, say, the original Grimm stories, rather than say, the Disney retelling of them. This pleases me for several reasons, one of them being that it's silly to dumb down material aimed at children, or to soften the edges because society doesn't think that children can handle things that are more complicated than good versus evil.

This one still ends well, it's comforting to believe that good always conquers evil as long as we work hard and have a pure heart, or at least learn to have a pure heart. I don't think that is always the case, nor do I think that children wouldn't be able to deal with it, but it's good to write out hope, so I can't complain about it too much.

Since this is the illustrated version, I didn't have the opportunity to imagine things out myself - how things looked or whatnot, but I was okay with that. I found the illustrations to be very well done, and to be appropriate for the story. They weren't the sort of soft childish thing that one might get when illustrating a children's book. They were scary, they fit with the scary themes of the book.

The story is well put together. Not too long, just enough intrigue. I didn't think it was too predictable either. I didn't trust the other-mother, but I still didn't know what she was going to do ahead of time, just the idea of something bad. Gaimen has done a great job illustrating the story with words and the illustrations by Craig Russell support that nearly perfectly. I was a little surprised at how well put together I found Coraline, because I wasn't a giant fan of Stardust (and honestly prefer the movie), but I found this to be much more carefully put together than Stardust.

My favorite part is that after she locks off the other world, she still has to deal with Other Mother's hand. The idea that the hand could live without Other Mother and would fight on to get what Other Mother needed is a great wrap up to a villainess character. I get tired of defeated villains not continuing on their path to their idea of greatness. They want something and they don't have the same morals as the heroines, so there is no reason for them to stop. I'd like to think Other Mother continues her attempts to escape. It's only a well, sooner or later she'll get one and try again. Maybe not Coraline, but there will always be someone.

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