The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

31 08 2010

The Graveyard Book is a children’s book written by Neil Gaiman.  This book really took me by surprise.  I thought that the way it started was very grisly and far too frightening for a children’s book.  In fact, I was so disturbed by the opening chapter that I almost put it down.  Boy, am I glad I kept on reading!

This book is certainly for a more mature child, one that is used to reading things that might be disturbing to think about or to imagine.  The first chapter opens with the murder of the entire family of the child who is eventually named Nobody (Bod) Jones, and for the killer’s hunt for him (a child of only 2).  However, as the story developed I found myself enchanted with the idea of the plot and also with the characters, especially those of Bod and his “guardian” Silas.  And then toward the end when you find out about the “Jacks”, the action really starts to move and the whole book comes together.

The cast of characters is great and what creative and daydreaming child would not want to have as much freedom as Bod, as many special powers, and so many loving caring souls looking out for him.

For me this book is about the strength of the pure and unjaded soul of childhood.  It is too bad that as Bod grows up he has to lose his special powers and his adopted “family” but we all have to grow up and go out in the world.  At least Bod’s life will continue to be a great adventure.

This book was borrowed from the library.

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My Current Reading Kick – Horror

10 08 2010

If you have taken the time to look at my reading lists from 2009 and 2010 then you will see a pattern in the number of books I am reading that would fall in to the genre of Horror.  I am not sure why this is really, maybe because they are just for entertainment, maybe it is due to the current frenzy for vampires and lycanthropes on television at the moment.  Some of these books have been great, some just good, others complete rubbish.  Here are the books by category:

Great:  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer – Seth Grahame-Smith.  A great combination of historical facts woven into the fantasy that Abraham Lincoln was a Vampire Slayer and that the American Civil War was really fought to destroy vampires and remove them from the fabric of our society rather than to free the slaves which was just a fortunate by-product of the war.  This book is very gory and some of the scenes the author describes are quite gruesome, no romantic, sexy vampires here.  Just true demons.

Good:  The Forest of Hands and Teeth & The Dead-Tossed Waves – Carrie Ryan.   Books about the Zombie apocalypse.  These are Young Adult and are very easy reading.  I did enjoy them both but definitely preferred The Forest of Hands and Teeth, it seemed more genuine.  I felt like the author was trying to hard with the main character of The Dead-Tossed Waves.  Also, I didn’t think the story line made sense at the end. 

Rubbish: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – Seth Grahame-Smith.  I decided to read this after I finishedthe Abraham Lincoln book.  I have to say I am sorry that I bothered.  It was a tongue-in-cheek poke at the writing of Jane Austen.  I have no problem with that, I like her novels but don’t mind seeing them satirized for entertainment.  This book was just boring.  I kept thinking I should just put it down but then I kept hoping it would get better.  Unfortunately, I got all the way to the end and it never did.  I would read this author’s next book but would not recommend this one.

Rubbish:  The Vampire Diaries – L J Smith.  Let me start here by saying I am a great fan of the television show adapted from these novels.  Having said that other than a title and the character names the books and television show do not resemble each other at all.  I didn’t like the books one bit.  I am sorry to say I have nothing good to say about them.  The characters were annoying, I could not empathize with them at all, the plots were disjointed and had no cohesion.  For the first time I would have to say that I like the television show/movie better than the book.  When does that ever happen?

Rubbish:  Faces of Fear – John Saul.  I had always avoided reading anything by this author and this book just confirmed why.  I finished it but I will never read another of his books.

All these books were borrowed from the library.





Good, Fun Book – The Gates – John Connolly

16 03 2010

Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund Boswell are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Hallowe’en. Which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Avenue.
The Abernathys don’t mean any harm by their flirtation with Satanism. But it just happens to coincide with a malfunction in the Large Hadron Collider that creates a hole in the universe, a hole through which can be glimpsed a pair of enormous gates.

 

The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out…

So, begins this rollicking adventure to save the world as we know it.  Despite the subject matter, this book was good clean fun.  It really reads like a children’s book and is very humorous in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.  I finished this one in 2 days and it was a welcome light-hearted poke at religion and hell after reading Angel Time.

The full title of this book is – The Gates (of Hell are about to Open, Want to Peek?) a bit long but certainly to the point.  It is written by John Connolly whose works I recognize but don’t appear to have read before.  I will certainly be looking in to reading more.

This book was borrowed from the library.