Sunday, April 12, 2009

Book 14: The Graveyard Book

I finished this book yesterday morning and haven't really thought of how to articulate my thoughts on it. I picked up The Graveyard Book on Friday at 3pm and I finished it at 8:30am Saturday. (I did sleep, but dinner was a slapdash affair.) Very compelling reading.

This is a novel length fairy tale about a boy raised by ghosts, in a graveyard, after his family is murdered by a mystery man. Neil Gaiman is really adept at fantasy writing in a way that feels more modern-- it lacks the moralizing of the Grimm Brothers but also the Everything Goes Morality of say, Heinlein.

His style is a bit more spartan than the genre usually goes. I really liked that Gaiman didn't have this elaborate architecture of his fictional world. I sometimes thought that if JK Rowling wasn't so intent on showing off her elaborate plans for the Potterverse that those books would have been a great deal shorter.

The origin of the mystery has an ambiguity that young adult books don't normally have, but this is not a set up for a series. Thank God-- I hate that feeling that most of an author's purpose in book 1 is to get me on the hook for a series that doesn't really have teeth. There is sound, final resolution and the gates of the graveyard are clearly closed for good.

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