I’m listening to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman for the umpteenth time. The audiobook is narrated by Gaiman himself, and he is almost as good a narrator as he is a writer, and he’s a damned good writer in my honest opinion, easily one of my favourite authors. I find his voice absolutely wonderful to listen to, and it gives the reading the added bonus of knowing that you are hearing the tones and inflections in the book exactly as the author intended them.
IMHO There are very few authors capable of writing children’s books that match Neil Gaiman’s. Off the top of my head I would put Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and Garth Nixes’ Abhorsen trilogy in the same league. Nix has another young adult series, The Keys to the Kingdom, which, while good, I don’t find to be level with Abhorsen quality-wise. I may have to listen to it again, as it’s been quite some time, so I’m basing this off the impression of it that is still floating around in my head. If I can find where I hid Abhorsen, I will probably go through it again as well. Of course I have a strong preference for Young Adult fiction that has a macabre feeling to it, so if you don’t like that type, you’ll probably disagree.
The book follows Bod, a boy who was taken in as a baby by an entire graveyard when his family was murdered. He is raised by a ghost couple taking on the roles of his parents, as well as many of the other inhabitants as guardians, teachers, friends and whatnot. Neil Gaiman takes what for many is one of the most frightening places to be, and turns it into a safe haven, the rest of the world being the scary part.
And to include some of what I promised on my first post about books in general:
1. Pacing – 9/10. It isn’t really what I would call an action packed book, so it might seem slow to some.
2. Humour – 10. Not that I mean it has a lot of humour, but what it does isn’t corny and suits the mood.
3. Good use of metaphors/similes/allegories – 9/10. Being more of a children’s novel it isn’t really as big on the metaphors and whatnot.
4. Characters – 10. Love the characters. Love them.
5. Logic – 9? 10? I don’t recall thinking anything sounded out of place.
6. Twists – 10
7. Vocabulary – 10
8. Flow – 10