Let me begin by saying I love Neil Gaiman! He is definitely one of my favourite writers. I first discovered him some years ago when reading Coraline. I still remember how Coraline, despite being a YA book, managed to send shivers down my spine.
When I first discovered The Graveyard Book I had no idea this gothic YA would be a fabulous reimagining of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I was drawn to the book purely by the beautiful cover and Neil Gaiman’s name. Soon I was lost in the world of ghosts, vampires, and werewolves or (The Hound Of God) as Miss Lupescu might say.
The story opens to a young baby boy who escapes being murdered with the rest of his family. The young baby is taken in by the deceased Ms Owens and educated by the caretaker of graveyard Silas, (an ancient and formerly evil vampire). The story goes on to follow Nobody Owen’s (Bod for short) as he grows up in the graveyard until his past comes back to find him.
Like The Jungle Book, each chapter consists of mini-stories that are episodic by nature, the book is also divided into two parts as Bod grows up. What is so clever about this tactic is you are able to gain interest in different characters over the course of the different years. In typical Gaiman style, each anecdote becomes important in a grand story of death, murder and betrayal.
My favourite character is without a doubt Miss Lupescu a.k.a the hound of god. She was incredibly easy to visualise and I couldn’t help reading her voice with a Romanian accent. While she at first comes across as strict and cold we soon get to see she is truly trying to be helpful and kind.
I have read this book a few times and with each reading, I find it more endearing. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes gothic YA fiction. It was nice to see the mythologies of monsters re-imagined in a modern context. There was almost an ‘Adams Family’ vibe about the book especially with the vampires and other monster ensembles used in the book. Nevertheless, Neil Gaiman still managed to create truly evil villains that match the likeability of the hero’s of the story.
I have since thrust the book onto my youngest siblings and shall be taking Niel Gaiman’s advice and reading Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.