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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't sing it's praises enough
I love Neil Gaimen. So I expected no less than to love this book but any long term fan knows an author can have a dud.

This is not that book.

This is where Gaimen thrives- lulls you into a feeling of an average story of adults reminiscing about childhoods and then, easy as you like, it becomes a fantastical tale of a boy and a girl (who's been 11 for...
Published 6 months ago by Kitandler

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, dark and enjoyable, but not a book for everyone
In much the same style as he did with Coraline, the master of really imaginative and surreal fantasy returns with the Ocean at the end of the lane.

Once more we are launched into a dark and quite disturbing world in this tale about the adventures of a young boy when he was just seven years old. In much the same manner of Corlaine this book felt quite disturbing...
Published 9 months ago by GOTTON


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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I finished it in one sitting, I just couldn't put it down., 19 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Hardcover)
The characters are fascinating and the story gripped me from start to finish.

The innocence of the narrator was touching and made some of the events all the more chilling when seen through the eyes of a child.

I've no doubt that I will re-read this book many times in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars odd, interesting but not wholly satisfying, 17 Jun 2014
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This is a well written book with some haunting moments. At it's heart is an idea of another world, a darker, older more brutal world at the beginning of time. It's an unusual story and it's pretty easy to read. However, it doesn't quite succeed in fully realising this other world or telling much of a story. It's an interesting diversion but I doubt I'll remember it for long.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars solemn, 16 Jun 2014
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A big fan of Gaiman from Sandman to Graveyard Book, I was left slightly cold by this one. This isn't quite a book for kids… and nor does it quite work (for me) at adult level. The 'action sequences' seem protracted and depend too much on eliciting sympathy for the downtrodden protagonist. And the whole (and this really is in contrast to his other work such as the Graveyard book and Anansi boys) seems to take itself all a bit too seriously.

However these are grumbles, because anything by Gaiman is a pacy, interesting, colourful read and this is no exception.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, Coralinesque tale ...but ..., 11 May 2014
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E. A. Williams "Ani :o)" (England) - See all my reviews
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I read The Ocean at one sitting and was transfixed by a vivid, relaxing story. The narrative created all the beautiful pictures in my head (the fields turning gold, the dark thundery skies, the lashing rain, even the black kittens) and I loved the characters. But I do feel this will appeal more to fans of Coraline than some of Neil's other work.

Some reviewers have suggested a 'teen fiction' placement but I can't totally agree (the bathroom scene would have generations of teenage boys never bathing again!) and I can only suggest it's Coralinesque (almost teenage-with-caution!). So: why only 3 stars when Coraline is one of my favourite books and movies of all time. Because although I could visualise all the characters in The Ocean, it feels more 2D as a story for certain key characters - not quite fleshed out/as finely crafted in areas.

**SPOILER ALERT!! - DON'T READ FURTHER unless you want to know story detail**

Where 'the other mother' in Coraline was truly terrifying - complex (including terrifying other characters) and she had the backstory of needing to take souls - I wasn't terrified by Ursula in the same way. Even though the scene in the field (grey rags) was excellent, her characterisation seemed handed 'straight there on a plate' rather than slowly developed. Even before she arrived you knew she was going to be the problem; and I felt her function of 'giving people what they wanted' could have been built on further to give her character more depth/fear (almost in a Stephen King 'Needful Things' kind of way). Particularly if other reviewers observations on the Hempstocks/Trinity are accurate what better foil than an entity confused by the power of 'giving whatever is asked' (surely that's how many misinterpret a prayer function?). But the way she isolated the boy from his family 'just happened' so you didn't share that gradual fear/desperation she was winning and could actually do anything she wanted using her tactics, leaving him powerless against her without the help of the Hempstocks. If the 'Needful Things' type power had been brought together with the dark purpose of Ursula, a truly terrifying foe could have been created - the boy would have been terrifyingly isolated from his family if each of them was getting everything they wanted/things going well for them while Ursula was there.

Likewise with The Ocean, whilst it became apparent it was a gateway it would have been more intriguing to know what else was there even if it was hinted at. Was Ursula one of the things that slipped through, or the main thing from the other side? And the view of not being able to stay there/dissolving was particularly interesting.

But I loved the Hempstock ladies and felt each of their characters was well defined.

All the way through I could see a beautiful animated film and that made me wonder if this is why some elements weren't defined further - to enable this to meet an animation timescale. That said, I do hope the makers of Coraline will pick this up for production.

In summary, a beautiful story with wonderful characters but I just wished there could have been a bit more complexity to Ursula, and a glimpse of what else was the other side of the Ocean along with the birds.

A very pleasurable read, I just hope it's revisited and developed as a longer format at some point in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but slight and underwhelming, 6 May 2014
By 
A. Whitehead "Werthead" (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A middle-aged man returns to his home for a funeral, only to be drawn back into the long-forgotten events of his childhood, when he travelled through an ocean, visited another world and brought back something that did not want to leave.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman's first novel for adults for eight years. It started off as a novella and grew larger than he first intended, though at 250 pages it's still on the short side for a novel. This is a book that touches on a number of themes, such as nostalgia, memory (and how it is mutable) and how a child's perception differs from that of an adult's. The book also ties in with some of Gaiman's other work, bringing in the Hempstock family from Stardust and The Graveyard Book. This is a novel that operates primarily as a mood piece, evoking the feeling of a childhood idyll and then darkening it with a nightmarish intrusion from another place. It's a classic trope, taking the idea of childhood as a sacrosanct time of warmth, fun and protection and then violating it with a force of darkness and evil.

That said, it's a story that Gaiman seems to shy away from exploring fully. Our unnamed protagonist has a rather capable of group of allies in the form of the Hempstock family, who know everything that's going on and have a solution for every problem that arises. It's difficult to build tension when your main character has a group of powerful magic-users on speed dial (effectively) to call upon at every turn. The book's structure is also odd: the novel is short, but it's quite a long time before the evil force arrives and it departs some time before the end of the book. It's almost like Gaiman wanted to write a moody piece about childhood but then decided he needed some sort of existential threat to be introduced and defeated because, well, it's a fantasy novel.

It's all well-written, as you'd expect, and there's some very nice moments of humour, characterisation and even genre-bending (the Hempstock occasionally evoking atomic physics and dark matter to explain magical events). But it's also a slight novel, with an odd structure and some fairly straightforward plotting. Gaiman seems to have always struggled a little with plotting in his novels, oddly as it's something he does very well in his comic and TV work, and Ocean doesn't address that issue.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane (***) is a readable, enjoyable and, ultimately, disposable book. It passes the time but does not lodge in the mind the way Sandman or Neverwhere did. So, the wait for the undisputed Gaiman masterpiece novel continues. Ocean at the End of the Lane is available now in the UK and USA.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it, 10 April 2014
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Really enjoyed this book, surprisingly so, loved it in fact- go on - give it a go, you will too!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 25 Mar 2014
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I was totally enthralled from start to finish. This author is fast becoming a favourite of mine, he's such an amazing storyteller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creativity personified, 25 Mar 2014
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I've been trying to find books that stack up to the creativity of Iain Banks for some time now. I like stuff that really takes me places and challenges the realms of the real world (without going all the way to sci-fi though). Neil Gaiman is superbly creative and this book will really push your imagination.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful story, 23 Mar 2014
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I often wonder where Neil Gaiman gets his ideas from, some of them are scary, some funny. For some reason I'd class this book as thoughtful or thought provoking, caring, a tale of childhood and childhood monsters....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Neil Gaiman wonderful as always, 18 Mar 2014
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B. Jordan "mummyroobekah" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book unsure of what to expect as I had not heard the best things about it. I am a huge Gaiman fan, and this nearly lived up to the other books, falling just slightly short. Brilliant story and quite scary.
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Hardcover - 18 Jun 2013)
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