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4.4 out of 5 stars242
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 October 2009
My first thought about this book is that I almost wish it wasn't marketed as a children's book. It is very dark and grisly, and had I watched or read this when I was a young girl, I'm pretty sure I would have had nightmares.

A brief synopsis: Coraline Jones moved into part of an old, pink house. Her parents are busy and often neglect her, and she is discontent and lonely. The new house has very strange neighbors, such as a crazy man trying to train a mice circus, and two aging retired theatre actresses who own many Scottie dogs and dream about their lost youth. Coraline finds a small door in her flat that during the day opens up to a brick wall. Yet that night she opens it again and it leads to a parallel world, where she has an "other mother" and "other father" and everything seems to be a dream come true. Yet this world is a twisted, evil mirror world, and once she has fallen into it, she discovers it is very dangerous for her and for her parents.

I love the imagination of Neil Gaiman, even if he does follow the same format over and over--girl or boy stumbles into a hidden mirror world: London Below in Neverwhere, the world in Mirrormask, gods who are actually in the real world like in American Gods and Anansi Boys and The Sandman, the world of magic in The Books of Magic, and the almost separate world in the graveyard of The Graveyard Book. Yet this was a very tidy book--the motifs tie into each other well, no loose ends are left untied, and it definitely develops a sense of suspense in the reader. Gaiman is very good at creating an atmosphere and entertaining his readers.
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on 19 December 2005
I was attracted by the amazing artwork on the cover of this book, but was totally unprepared for the surprise inside. It is a pleasure to read out loud and was chosen as a bedtime story for our 8 year old child. OOps - very scary indeed, talking animals, rats singing cautionary tales, haughty cats, an impossibly long key, souls of dead children, the truth seen through a stone with a hole in it...... a girl trapped in a parallel world unable to leave until she rescues her parents.... The Other Mother and Father with large black buttons sewn on their eyelids, waiting to stitch up Coralines eyes..... I'm such a fan, can't you tell. Anyway, some clever person has bought the film rights and I can't wait. There's also a great website.. Look out for and click on the rats when they scurry over the page, they will sing their chilling song for you. Enjoy if you dare.
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on 27 November 2006
I discovered this book a little over four years ago. It was the first Gaimain novel I had come across, and remains--despite my delving into the fascinating depths of Neverwhere's London Below, the dangerous beauty of Stardust's Faerie and all the rest--my absolute favourite of all his works. His clear, unconvuluted style is really allowed to shine through here as this story is primarily for children, giving a wonderfully bleak, chilly feel. Also, Gaiman's masterful tendency of leaving much unexplained and not feeling the need to rationalise the extraordinary is, no doubt one that will appeal to children greatly.

Admittedly, the basic idea of a 'Looking-Glass' world is not original, but the intricacies of the storyline certainly are. This novel has that feel that so many horror films try (and largely fail) to obtain with their demonic children and evil dollies; Coraline is awash with a kind of twisted innocence that is infinitely eerie.

Black buttons have ever since made me edgy.
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on 17 April 2012
Generally it is a good copy, but in places the type does not come out as it probably is in the printed version. It has bits that are underlined and says rather than shows how it should be written. Brings you out of the story a bit, but as it is so minimal it is not a problem.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 October 2013
I am falling more and more in love with Neil Gaiman's creations. Coraline. Such a quirky, fun, adventurous young girl with huge imagination who sees right from wrong in a weird world of old houses, brick walls behind the doors, empty snowglobes and buttons instead of eyes. Did I mention singing mice, bat-dogs and a talking cat?

And the hand in the end! You just have to read it to find out all the quirky stuff. And it will only take you half a day. This creepy, a bit frightening tale is an absolute pleasure to read. It is fast paced and very well written. I highly recommend to share "Coraline" with children - but beware, there might be a few sleepless nights in store for them. Compared to The Ocean at the End of the Lane (which I absolutely loved!), I think Coraline is much more suitable for younger readers (I found the slow-motion film was actually scarier than the book).

Enjoyed and recommended!

This paper copy of the book is to treasure - the illustrations are beautiful.
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on 15 October 2008
I bought this book (for my daughter) on recommendation. I wasn't sure what to expect. I read it before I gave it to my child as I invariably do. I gave it to her with a smile and a wink and assured her she'd be scared (her idea of a good read! she's 9!) She marched downstairs the next day and declared she didn't know what I was talking about and it wasn't scary. The following morning (after having read a couple more chapters) she gave me the biggest smile and said "it's brilliant! I love it!" Apparently it had then become scary enough for her. :0)
That was 3 weeks ago - now most of her friends mothers have bought it for their children and even her teacher is reading it to the class.
It's just fabulous. I can't recommend this book enough. Buy it! Read it!
We've bought two more Gaiman books now and are eagerly awaiting the release of the film at the cinema next year. What a cracker!
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on 17 October 2002
Neil Gaiman is a fantastic writer and this latest book conjured from his warped imgination proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
The story is definetly written for children in mind but Gaiman manages to create an ambience so eerie and chilling that it will have any adult reading with the hairs on the back of their neck standing up.
You'll follow Coraline (Not Caroline!) into a world exactly like hers but counterfeit and with counterfeit parents. A world which wants to keep her there forever and always offering everything a child could wish for. But she's no fool and soon figures that there are things that are just too good to be true. Be it in this world or another.
The book is within the same genre as alice in wonderland but has many original ideas which will dare you to put the book down and not read it in one sitting. I was not up to this dare and finished it within one read. I am now currently reading it to my partner who is enjoying it almost as much as I did!
I'll be buying a copy for all the children and fantasy loving adults I know.
Highly recommended.
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on 19 May 2015
I absolutely love this book because it is written so cleverly and clearly. I was glued to this book and i managed to finish it in an hour! totaly recomend it so pls let me know what you think of it below
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on 10 March 2013
I watched the film when i was younger and i will admit- i was terrified of dolls ever since. Now i am in my teens i am no longer afraid (or as afraid as i was!) I still have a thing about black buttons though! Anyway, when i decided to read the book, i expected it to be better than the film because of the reviews i had read.
Don't get me wrong, its a great imaginative story, but apart from that: the characters are flat and boring, the description is poor and Coraline just has no personality.

Here is a brief summery:
young coraline and her parents move into an old house. The neighbours are nice enough, but unsettlingly wierd. Her parents are always busy and leave coraline to "play". Instead of that, coraline explores the house, and to her surprise, she finds a small door. Annoyingly, when she opens it, it leads to a brick wall.
But that isn't the end.
The following night, coraline dreams that the door doesn't lead to a wall- but a world like her own.Except better.
Her other mother and father are kind, funny, everything she wants them to be. The food is delicious, the toys are exciting. There is only one drawback: everyone has black buttons, instead of eyes.When coraline awoke, she is determined to get back.
Ignoring the neighbour's warnings, coraline rushes to the door, and to her delight, the other world is still there. But there is a sinister side to this world. Coraline's other mother claims only to need someone to love. But surely she has other needs. Like something- or someone- to feed on.

I this has got you hooked, read the book if you want.
But i have better advice: WATCH THE FILM!!! Also i would NOT recomend this for children who are:
a) Younger than ten.
b) Easily scared.
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Nobody can drench a book in creepy, dank atmosphere like Neil Gaiman -- and it doesn't matter if it's a kid's book.

And "Coraline" -- now being released as a movie -- is no exception to Gaiman's track record. It's a haunting little dark fairy tale full of decayed apartments, dancing rats and eerie soulless doppelgangers, as well as a gutsy heroine who finds herself in this ominous "other" world.

Newly moved into an aged apartment, Coraline (not "Caroline" is bored. Her parents are too busy to do anything with her, and her neighbors are either insane or boring.

It's the sort of relentlessly dull world that any little girl would want to escape from -- until Coraline does. She encounters a formerly bricked-up door that leads into an apartment in another world, which looks eerily like her own. In fact, it's so similar that she has a taloned, button-eyed "other mother" and matching "other father," as well as a chorus of singing, dancing rats and magical toys.

At first Coraline is fascinated by the other world, especially since her other parents are very attentive. Then she finds her real parents sealed inside a mirror. With the help of a sarcastic cat, Coraline ventures back into the other world. But with her parents and a trio of dead children held hostage, Coraline's only hope is to gamble with her own freedom -- and she'll be trapped forever if she fails.

Without Neil Gaiman's touch, "Coraline" would just be another story about a kid who learns to appreciate her parents. But he infuses this story with a dark fairy-tale vibe -- decayed apartments, dead children in a mirror, beetles, disembodied hands, monsters that cling to the wall with souls in their grip, and rats that sing about how "we were here before you rose, we will be here when you fall."

That dark, cobwebby atmosphere clings to the increasingly nightmarish plot, as Coraline navigates a world where the other mother has every advantage. And Gaiman's wordcraft is exquisitely horrible -- the other mother's hands are compared to spiders, her hair to undersea tentacles. And the fate of the other father is a magnificently ghastly thing.

He even infuses poetry into the horror ("A husk you'll be, a wisp you'll be, and a thing no more than a dream on waking, or a memory of something forgotten"), and a fair amount of macabre humour ("I swear it on my own mother's grave." "Does she have a grave?" "Oh yes. I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back").

Coraline herself is a wonderful little heroine -- strong, sensible, self-sufficient but still fairly freaked out about what is happening around her. The sarcastic cat is a wonderful counterpoint. And the other mother is the stuff of nightmares -- she's utterly inhuman and merciless -- who "wants something to love. Something that isn't her. She might want something to eat as well."

Neil Gaiman creates eerie, slightly warped worlds like nobody else, and he does an exquisitely horrible job in "Coraline." Just never go through the door.
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