The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Since I found Nymeth’s blog last year, I have learned about so many books and authors that were new to me and I am really grateful for that, because otherwise, I would have never discovered such wonderful fantasy books or authors like Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman. Often, Nymeth would mention Neil Gaiman’s books and how much she loved them and I must admit that she made me curious. Thus, I decided that it was time to read my first Neil Gaiman book and I have chosen to read The Graveyard Book.

Here are my thoughts on this amazing book:

Nobody Owens’ family was murdered when he was just a toddler and since then, he has been living in a graveyard. Raised and educated by ghosts and a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the dead nor of the living, Nobody (called ‘Bod’ for short), has learned a great deal of things and he has embarked on many engaging adventures in the graveyard. From an ancient Indigo Man and ghouls to the terrible Sleer, Bod has encountered many dangers in the graveyard, but he has also made many friends who have protected him and guided him through the years.

As Bod grows from a toddler into a young man, he befriends people from both the world of the dead and of the living, but he doesn’t quite fit in with either of these worlds. Since the young boy yearns to learn more about the world of the living, he is determined to explore the world outside the graveyard. However, there are many dangers that await him there, including the man Jack, who murdered his family and who still looks for Bod. As he explores both the world of the living and of the dead, the reader witnesses how Bod matures and how in the end, this brave young man learns what it means to be alive.

Inspired by Kipling’s The Jungle Book, The Graveyard Book narrates the story of an orphaned boy who, over the course of time, learns so many things about life and ultimately, about himself. As the story evolves, the reader witnesses how Bod changes and matures, and while Bod discovers new things and starts many adventures, we see how he always thirsts for more knowledge and how he becomes more courageous as the story progresses. I really cared deeply about Bod and the other characters and I loved to accompany Bod on his many journeys, including the journey of growing up. Overall, The Graveyard Book is a bittersweet coming-of-age story that is full of kindness, intelligence and surprises! You cannot help but feel touched by this book and you will treasure it like a precious jewel because The Graveyard Book is such a wonderful story that deals with important themes such as courage, risks, change and childhood. Yes, Bod’s story may be a little dark, but Neil Gaiman has accomplished so much with this book! He has narrated a tale that is inventive, warm, suspenseful and educative. The Graveyard Book is one of those books that everybody could read, no matter how old one is as it delivers some strong and important messages to everyone out there. The Graveyard Book teaches the readers that people should dare to take risks and live life to the fullest, as life is too short and we never know when it might come to an end. If we don’t step out of our comfort zone and don’t take certain risks, we might miss out on many wonderful things! Life is hard and there are many dangers out there, but this book teaches us that we have to be brave and believe in ourselves, because in the end, it’s all worth it. Bod sets a perfect example and people can learn so many things from him. Now that he has learned what it means to be alive, Bod is ready to embrace life and enjoy it, with both its good and bad sides. He will make mistakes, meet new people, experience pain, but also joy, as all these things are part of our lives. And if one has not explored the world with all its different facets, one has not lived at all!

Like other readers, I have only one negative thing to say about this book – it’s too short. While reading it, I wanted to learn more about the protagonists, especially Bod’s guardian Silas, Scarlett and Miss Lupescu (I am Romanian / German and although my German is better than my Romanian, I still immediately noticed Miss Lupescu’s name – it’s Romanian and it’s derived from the word ‘wolf’. Also, ‘Lupus’ is Latin for ‘wolf’ and the Romanian language is a Romance language, derived from Latin with 80 % of the Romanian vocabulary being Latin. In addition, on page 211, we find a reference to Miss Lupescu, and we learn that she calls Bod ‘nimeni’, which is again Romanian and means ‘nobody’ in English). Although the book was too short, I found it perfect for me, as it drew me in from page one and it made me think about its themes after I finished reading it. And I love books that make you think and that linger in your mind for a long time! Although I longed for more, I think I know how to satisfy my thirst – I will read more Neil Gaiman books in the future because I just loved The Graveyard Book. If I were to rate it, I would give this book five stars out of five!

Note: I would like to thank Danielle Bartlett from Harper Collins for giving me the opportunity to read and review such a great book!

Other reviews:

Things Mean A Lot

Booklust

Andreea

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renne Hieber

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is set in the heart of Victorian London, where dark and mysterious things are taking place. Dangerous spirits are haunting this beautiful city and six people have been chosen to safeguard the mortal world from these supernatural terrors. This group, known as The Guard, awaits the fulfillment of the Prophecy, which promises that a last member will join their circle in time and help them fight against the forces of evil.

Nineteen years later, orphan Percy Parker arrives at the Athens Academy in Victorian London. The eighteen-year-old immediately feels out of place at her new school, since she is not like any other girl. Her strange and unique appearance sets her apart from the other students and Percy finds it hard to make friends. The students and professors think that she looks odd and thus, they keep their distance; but if they gave this timid girl a chance, they would find out that she is unique in every way. Percy speaks multiple languages and she has the ability to see ghosts and speak to them. Furthermore, she is often haunted by strange visions. However, Percy does not know why these peculiar things are happening to her. The shy girl yearns for acceptance and wants to be like everybody else, therefore she doesn’t want to tell anyone about her abilities. Percy doesn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to herself, so she tries to behave like the other students. She tries to focus on school and she is concerned about the fact that she has to attend math classes. She is a bright student, but she isn’t good at math and therefore, she hates it. Maybe her attractive Professor Alexi will be able to change her mind. There’s just something about him that fascinates Percy and she cannot stop thinking about him. What does this mysterious Alexi have to hide? And what do these two unlikely characters have in common?

Vivienne at Serendipity mentioned this refreshing novel and when I read the synopsis, I knew that I had to get my hands on this book!

Thus, I was very happy when I received a copy from Dorchester Publishing and I couldn’t wait to read it! I just loved this compelling novel, since it drew me in from the beginning and it took me on an unforgettable journey through Victorian London!

Leanna Renee Hieber has created a charming and imaginative gothic story that is full of spiritualism, mystery and romance. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is an engaging novel and I was immediately captivated by the lyrical language, the mythic themes and the well-drawn characters. In the beginning, Percy is described as a shy girl who has no self-confidence, but when she meets Professor Alexi, she gains strength and courage. Alexi, unlike the others, doesn’t feel intimidated by her appearance; he appreciates Percy and becomes aware of the fact that she is a beautiful young girl who is intelligent, kind and special in every way! All in all, this book is lovely and beautifully written; I really liked everything about it, especially the Victorian setting and the gothic and supernatural elements. This is indeed a strangely beautiful tale!

For more information (trailer, excerpts and prologue), please visit Leanna Renee Hieber’s website.