Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
Oh Neil, why hast thou forsaken me in my hour (or 5) of need? I chose this book completely on the grounds that a) it was Neil Gaiman speaking his beautiful mind on topics weird and wonderful and b) said mind was being honored with a full ensemble of actors and their respective sound effects to boot -all courtesy of Audible.com. Anywho...I asked (and answered) myself:
-Were the sound effects nice? Yes!
-Did they compliment what was going on? Definitely!
-Were they absolutely necessary? Without a doubt! With this book's brain hopping and awkwardly navigated time leaps, I think the printed version would have been both distracting and confusing. This is the first of what will grow to be a small (well defined) garden of negative points. I like it when the full cast renditions are on point and in congruence with the overall desired effect because they let the author wield it like a well honed literary sword not so with a script that depends on it so badly that it is now used like a plot crutch.
-did Neil Gaiman deliver a story on par with his other, more popular, books? Kind of. The story is about a boy named Nobody Owens, also known as Bod. Bod's family is murdered one night while he was just a babe and he manages to escape the fate that befell his family. The boy winds up in the graveyard where ghosties and other nighttime inhabitants reside. The graveyard accepts him and offers to take him in and make him one of their own. He can fade into backgrounds without being detected, he can speak with the graveyard's inhabitants and even roam the grounds freely. Almost nothing happens with the world building throughout and the character development is miniscule BUT I did like Bod. Bod is a charismatic, sweet-natured child, whom I believe will be universally loved. I enjoyed the whole premise and execution of the Dance of the Macabre AND detested Scarlet's entire existence (negative point!). The bad guys were not scary at all and their come-up-uns were disappointingly quick blips on the book's radar (another negative point). I won't divulge too much but the book didn't even give us a satisfying ending imho. It was sad. Why not leave off in a better place, back at chapter 7, as a GR friend (Cait Grace) suggested in her kinder/more forgiving review? This ending left all invested parties (OK, maybe parties is an exaggeration, It was just my husband and I) feeling as if we wasted our time ingesting the literary equivalent of fast food that ultimately lead to the Fangirl diarrhea rating (ugh...TMI?). I am sorry about that and about being this harsh on Neil, who I wholeheartedly believe to be a legend, a genius and an expert purveyor (if you will) of synaptic pleasure.
The idea of this naive little boy interacting with the various occupants of the graveyard was novel and cleverly done. There are only a handful of times that my husband and I have agreed on a rating and this book was one such time. We both agreed that the league of Jacks were underdeveloped as were their demises'. The book was slow and somewhat boring at times which left us frustrated and then there's Scarlett... don't even get me started on Scarlett! We (and Bod) felt like we were both abandoned as well as gifted with an unnecessary dose of depression.. yet another negative point...see? Those negative points sure are stacking up hence the rating dilemma.
All in all Neil made living in a graveyard seem not only pleasurable but preferable with a side of weird necro-familial closeness (yup...I'm going to coin that term). The graveyard characters were interesting though they could have been explored a bit more. Back and forth, back and forth I go, for days on end, between the pros and cons...should I mitigate my displeasure and disappointment and give a more flattering rating? Or should I take a slightly more realistic approach and give it a ghastly (tee hee) review? You be the judge. Just don't go into it with the normal Neil Gaiman party hat on!