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210 of 217 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It takes a graveyard
Imagine Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book"... but replace the animals with ghosts, ghouls, werewolves and other such supernatural creatures.

Such is the concept of "The Graveyard Book," which cleverly turns Kipling's classic story into an exquisitely-written, darkly witty fantasy. While it starts as the assorted supernatural adventures of a young boy raised by...
Published on 10 Oct 2008 by E. A Solinas

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life during death.
A killer is loose he has claimed three victims from one family but one escapes. He lives to fight another day. But there is something unique about this escapee.

He is a baby.

He does not know his name.

He finds shelter in a graveyard.

The ghosts who live in the graveyard, claim him and name him as No'bod'y.

Bod...
Published on 5 Feb 2012 by Jo D'Arcy


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210 of 217 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It takes a graveyard, 10 Oct 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
Imagine Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book"... but replace the animals with ghosts, ghouls, werewolves and other such supernatural creatures.

Such is the concept of "The Graveyard Book," which cleverly turns Kipling's classic story into an exquisitely-written, darkly witty fantasy. While it starts as the assorted supernatural adventures of a young boy raised by ghosts, the story slowly evolves into a beautifully ghastly confrontation between Nobody Owens and the people who want to do him harm.

"There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." A man named Jack kills an innocent family at night -- except for a baby boy, who toddles out to the graveyard.

With the approval of the Lady on the Grey, the Owens ghosts adopt the boy, whom they name Nobody (or "Bod" for short), and the mysterious not-dead-or-alive Silas is appointed his guardian. Bod slowly grows up, but his upbringing is hardly ordinary -- he is taught by a Hound of God, wanders into the horrific realm of Ghulheim, watches a danse macabre, and befriends a witch's spirit from the Potter's Field.

But the man named Jack is still out there, and for some reason he (and the organization he works for) still wants to kill Bod. And though Silas and the ghosts are trying to keep him safe, Bod is becoming curious about the world of living humans -- and about the man who murdered his family. And when they come for him, he'll be ready.

The world of Neil Gaiman is never a safe place -- it's always painted in shadows and shades of grey, and something horrible may be lurking around the corner. And the world of "The Graveyard Book" is no exception to this -- it's filled with strange supernatural creatures, hellish red cities with decayed moons overhead, and midnight parades where ghosts dance with the living.

The world of the graveyard is an intriguing one -- moonlight, crumbly headstones, a little stone church, and a creepy barrow where the Sleer lurk. From a lesser author this would be kind of boring, but Gaiman's beautiful prose brings it to life ("There was a silent implosion, a flutter of velvet darkness, and Silas was gone").

And Gaiman explores Bod's childhood with dark humour ("Can you imagine how fine a drink the black ichor that collects in leaden coffins can be?") and adventure. But the tone changes as Bod grows older, especially with the creepily professional Jack and his cohorts slowly closing in on him. It's a coming-of-age tale, and a bittersweet, sometimes terrifying one.

Bod himself is a lovable kid, who slowly explores first the world of the graveyard and then the world of the living. He's both ruthless and kind, sweet and strong. The mysterious Silas -- whose true nature is only revealed late in the book -- serves as a kindly but stern mentor, who pretty clearly loves young Bod like a father.

And there's a pretty wide supporting cast -- Bod's childhood friend Scarlett is rather bratty, but the ghosts make up for that. The snappy, witty witch Eliza, the kindly Owenses, Mother Slaughter, the fussy Mr. Pennyworth, and the schoolteacherish substitute guardian Miss Lupescu all round out the cast. And with only a few lines, Gaiman makes them seem practically real.

"The Graveyard Book" is a beautifully written, bittersweet coming-of-age tale with some moments of pure creepiness. A magnificent fantasy story, which is not to be missed.
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64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raised *by* the dead? That doesn't sound right..., 20 Oct 2008
By 
R. Hill "Rikk Hill" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
What one word best describes this tale of an infant whose whole family are murdered, and who toddles to the safety of a local graveyard, where he's raised and educated by the resident dead? That word, surprisingly, would be "charming".

And it is, in every sense of the word. It's eloquent without being condescending, comforting without being soft, sharp without being bitter, and it captivates your attention throughout its entirety, leaving you perfectly satisfied by the end.

The cast of characters are written to perfection. The dead maintain an eerie timelessness, whilst the other supernatural creatures are subtle yet distinct, ("Silas ate only one food, and it was not bananas"); the villains pull off the trick of being both evil *and* credible; the living have a refreshing mundane quality, and Bod the protagonist is left with the uneasy struggle of being neither fish nor fowl (nor dead).

A delight to read and a joy to think about.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book, defintely one of my favourites of the year!, 14 Jan 2009
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
I'd never read anything by Neil Gaiman before; "Not my thing", I'd decided. Then I watched the film adaptation of Startdust and thought maybe I'd give it a try after all. But I never did. And then all the publicity for The Graveyard Book started appearing ... and talk about judging a book by its cover. As a school librarian I should be ashamed to admit it but I decided to read the book purely because of the magnificent cover by Chris Riddell! I probably wouldn't have bothered if only the David McKean cover had been available. And what a mistake that would have been! Because WOW, what a book!
Bod is only a toddler when his whole family is murdered by the Man Jack; narrowly escaping, he takes refuge in a nearby graveyard. After many discussions, the ghostly inhabitants decide to look after him and he is adopted by Mr and Mrs Owens. Under the watchful eye of his guardian Silas, Bod grows up as a living boy in a dead man's world, with all the abilities of a ghost. But the Man Jack cannot rest until he has finished the job and is still on the lookout for Bod.
This is a fantastic fantasy book and a great coming-of-age book. There is lots of action, plenty of twists (some of them I did not see coming!) and enough gory creatures to keep fans of this genre entertained. But most of all, it is an amazing love story. Gaiman writes so well you forget that Bod's parents are in fact ghosts and his guardian a vampire; what you take away from this story is the sheer feeling of devotion for a child (the last chapter was heart-breaking for me but I think that's just because I am a mum and the thought of "letting go" of your child is quite hard!).
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71 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An evocative, touching, masterful book..., 11 Oct 2008
By 
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
Brilliant - sinister, lyrical and poignant all at the same time. Like 'The Jungle Book', it's a great evocation of growing up as an outsider, and the world is vivid and perfectly imagined; and, like 'The Jungle Book', the narrative voice is faultless. But it has more narrative tension than 'The Jungle Book', and a grimmer edge - the gothic elements (ghosts, werewolves, vampires) are picturesque without being cliched, and occasionally funny, but at the heart of the book there's a real engagement with fear, time, and loss. There were a couple of moments towards the end where I thought the structure was weaker, but that's just a quibble - on the whole I thought this was wonderful: an intelligent, elegant, and - in spite of the pervading sense of graveyard cold - warm book. And Chris Riddell's illustrations are beautiful - ethereal-looking line drawings that are witty and unsettling. I haven't seen the other edition but I can't imagine Riddell's drawings being bettered.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for those new to Neil Gaiman, 19 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
As someone new to Neil Gaiman, I wasn't sure what to expect - but it was very pleasant surprise. Both touching and really quite dark and sinister at times, I particularly liked the relationship between Silas and Bod. The book successfully portrayed a cemetery as a safe and welcoming place and you were never quite sure what was going to happen next. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Life during death., 5 Feb 2012
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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A killer is loose he has claimed three victims from one family but one escapes. He lives to fight another day. But there is something unique about this escapee.

He is a baby.

He does not know his name.

He finds shelter in a graveyard.

The ghosts who live in the graveyard, claim him and name him as No'bod'y.

Bod becomes one of them whilst still alive. He has a guardian, Silas and parents Mr and Mrs Owens, teachers throughout the cemetery who educate him on all scholarly and ghostly matters.

But the man who killed his REAL family still needs to complete his mission and that is to kill the one who got away. Can Bod survive to live another day or will the ghostly world in which he inhabits finally shut him out forever?

This fantasy book is predominantly aimed at children aged 9 - 12 and I think perhaps less advanced readers would struggle with it, vocabulary wise but would certainly enjoy the pace of the story. There are parts of the book where the plot was certainly lost on me and it had very resonant elements of the Harry Potter series, which could be a double edged sword. Youngsters might find it good to progress to such a fantasy book as this whilst others might find it is a disappoint without much reasoned explanation for why Bod's family are killed.

The latter being what I found as I thought at one point I had missed a huge chunk of the book out as to why Bod needed to be killed. However I think perhaps with adult eyes we look for more reasoned explanations whilst as children we would simply go with the flow.

Each chapter is a story within itself and they are all page turners and it was an enjoyable read with the right amount of fantasy, reality and enough creepiness without feeling too scared to read on. A book for all to enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lumber-room of the imagination, 7 July 2009
By 
Guy reid-brown "GRB" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
On the front cover of my edition is a recommendation from Diana Wynne Jones: `The best book Neil Gaiman has ever written.'

I thought of this as maybe somewhat hyperbolic in the manner of these things (think Stephen King taglines), as Gaiman has embarked on bigger projects aimed specifically at an older readership, but upon re-reading it to about half way through to catch up on myself, realised that this is probably true. Gaiman's imagination is like an attic stuffed full of the continuity of Ages Past, and the Graveyard of the book, dating back to Roman Times, is the perfect arena for his genius. As someone who pretty well lives slap bang in a Victorian Graveyard, I can assure you that Gaiman knows Graveyards and, as the Sandman cycle proved, he is unparalleled at recreating different ages, places, histories and mythologies Real and Imagined.

This one is immediately entitled to stand on the shelves beside the great British Childrens' Classics of the Edwardian and Victorian eras, Carroll and Grahame and the rest of them, and may indeed be the last true Classic of this genre, bearing in mind that my generation, just a little behind Gaiman's, must have been the last that still knew, played and recited the old games and rhymes, the pat-a-cakes and the ring o' roses and so forth. The lumber-room of Gaiman's imagination may well be the last place where it all still exists intact. He Bears the Flame but Scarlet will get her symbolic mobile phone and it won't last out her generation.

There are fascinating gaps in the narrative that suggest something deeper and older and sinister - past and future echoes of a Babylonian New World Order which may or may not exist. Gaiman knows, one feels. His own imagination is an incomparable dreamwalker.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A children's classic in the making, 11 Nov 2008
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
Structured so that each chapter works as a short story in its own right while also contributing to the overriding story arc of the novel, this novel includes all the wit, subtlety and bittersweet touches that you expect from a Gaiman book. It begins with the murder of Bod's family and his 'escape' to a nearby graveyard, where he is adopted by the ghostly inhabitants and Silas, a vampire in all but name, agrees to serve as his guardian. Subsequent chapters pick out incidents in Bod's life - one for each year as he ages, including his friendship with a little girl called Scarlett, a centennial dance involving the living and the dead, Bod's accidental visit to the Land of the Ghouls and his encounter with the ghost of a young woman murdered for being a witch. Permeating it all is the threat from The Man Jack who murdered Bod's parents and who, together with The Jacks, is still searching for Bod.

Characterisation is great, particularly Silas and Miss Lupescu (an East European woman who looks after Bod when Silas is on his travels) who are superb and utterly credible. Bod himself is likeable, and the incidents that Gaiman highlights from his life are interesting and believable - the chapter where Bod tries to go to a school for living children is particularly moving.

I would have liked to have seen more of Silas and Miss Lupescu's adventures as the Hounds of God, which Gaiman gives tantalising details of without ever really expanding (what's there works, but I'd have liked more description). I also wasn't enamoured with the introduction of the prophecy element towards the end of the book - it came far too late and I really needed to see it developed more and earlier for it to work and I couldn't help but wish that The Jacks had some other motive for hunting down Bod instead.

That said, I really admire Gaiman for not going for the easy happy ending here. Without going into spoilers, it would have been very easy for him to give the readers what they want and expect and wrap up his novel in a neat little bow. Although he doesn't do this, the ending he does provide is satisfying and fits in well with the characters and hopefully, will set up the possibility of their returning in future novels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book I have Ever Read!, 2 July 2010
This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Paperback)
I read this book as part as the carnegie short list group at my school. My teacher said i should read this book becasuse anohter girl in the group had read it too and said it was amazing. I therefore thought i would give it a go and see what happens. With in a week I had read 5 chapters (the chapters are quite long,) and I was persuading everyone and everyone to read it, as soon as possible. It took me 2 weeks to read it and i couldn't put it down, but whats more i loved it so much that I read it twice! Last week my teacher read it and agreed.

I would recomend this book to anyone who likes strange, spooky, and at times miss leading books. At the begging of the book i was really confused but by the second i understood every thing, at least thats what I thought. By the 4th chaptcher, I thought I knew what had and was happening to the not quite there 'Bod', but I don't think i could of been more wrong! It's an easy read, well written, described well, and the story is described even more by the pictures at the begging of each chapter. A VERY GOOD BOOK!

'The Graveyard Book' Won the 2010 Carnegie Book Awards, and My Teacher, Parents, Friends and I all agree that it really deserved to win! I know describe this book as "THE BEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ, AND PROBABLY EVER WILL!" Please read this book and persuade other people to read it too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Graveyard Ghosties, 26 Sep 2009
By 
Ms. B. Stevens "Berni" (Bushey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Graveyard Book (Hardcover)
I loved this book from the start. It's a wonderful idea - although Neil Gaiman freely admits he 'borrowed' it from the Jungle Book!
I liked the ghostly 'scarecrow' scaring humans away from the treasure in the crypt. The Danse Macabre was glorious creepy fun as was Bod's ability to 'fade' even though he is still human. The 'Man Jack' is a really scary idea although I did wonder what the point of all the murders actually was. Why did they target Bod and his family? Maybe I missed something . . . I did feel that each chapter almost stood alone as though the book had been written for a TV series rather than a complete novel. But that's a minor point. Chris Riddell's beautiful illustrations were a joy throughout. A gem of a book.
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The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Paperback - 5 Oct 2009)
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