“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman Review

Disclaimer: I borrowed this audiobook from the library.

The Graveyard BookThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to the audiobook, which I’d checked out from my local library.

In a way, this novel felt like a collection of short stories all featuring the same characters at different points of Bod’s (Yes, Bod. Short for Nobody Owens) life. That’s not overly a bad thing, but it was certainly different. I felt as if each chapter was meant to be its own story and that “The Graveyard Book” was just an omnibus collection of those short stories. It was certainly a different way of writing.

I found myself disliking most of the characters. They weren’t badly written. Quite the opposite. Each character was fleshed out in its own way so that you had a clear image of their personalities and their traits. They just weren’t the greatest people in the world. With some of them, those who were dead and stuck in the times they had lived in, it didn’t bother me as much, but those who were living – such as Scarlet (Gods, I hated Scarlet the most actually, even more-so than the bullies honestly) did because they weren’t good people. I did like Silas (for the most part) and Bod, but there were a couple things near the end of the novel I can’t reveal without spoilers that annoyed me about both.

Overall, I liked the story. I liked how the sections of Bod’s life all tied together, how each new character that was introduced impacted his life. It was wonderful storytelling. What I liked the best was how each of the chapters seemed to start with something that seemed to have no correlation with Bod and his life, but it would all be tied back to it in the end. Especially the discussion of ghoul gates. That was my favorite chapter because it started talking about how every graveyard has a ghoul gate and what to look out for, and as I sat there listening, I couldn’t help but wonder why there would be a mention of ghoul gates. However, Bod had a short adventure dealing with ghoul gates in which he discovered what they were and how they operated, but on top of that, he was able to use that knowledge near the end of the book (again, I can’t reveal more without spoilers).

This story was Bod’s story. Mainly. There were several “interludes” where we got glimpses into the lives of some of the other characters (Silas, Scarlet, and Jack), but overall it was Bod’s tale. That being said, it would have been interesting to know more about what Silas is/was and the Honour Guard. It would have been interesting to learn more about the Jacks of All Trades and their organization.

This is a good book following the life of a boy who grows up in a graveyard and those surrounding him, who (for the most part) are all dead. Neil Gaiman is a master at weaving a story that you feel compelled to read even if you don’t like the characters in the story (Gods… Friggin’ Scarlet…). If you like Neil Gaiman, you should read this book. And if you like audiobooks, I highly recommend listening to it. It’s read by Neil Gaiman and it’s perfection to listen to.

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