Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Goodreads | Waterstones

There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house – the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back.

Thank you to Mark for buying me this book! I loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane when I read it last year and I’ve been excited to read other books by him. Mark picked this one up for me, and although I was really hesitant going into this book because I do have a fear of dolls, I did still enjoy it a lot (I don’t think I’ll be watching the film anytime soon though!).

This book follows Coraline, who moves into a new house with her family that has a door in one of the rooms that goes to nowhere. However, one day, Coraline walks through the door into an alternate life and universe, where her parents have black-button eyes and papery skin and want her to stay.

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist,

This story was so entertaining and very whimsical, in true Neil Gaiman style. I loved the atmosphere of this book and the alternate universe, and I could picture the world very well. This one reads like a middle grade fantasy for me, but I do think all of his stories have a very similar feeling in that sense and they all feel so whimsical.

There’s a beautiful author’s note at the start of this book which I loved, and it talks about how the story portrays bravery and courage through Coraline’s journey. I definitely felt this which I really enjoyed, and I can see why this book stays with people throughout their lives, as I’m sure it will stay with me throughout my life.

but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

Although this didn’t blow me away enough to be a 5 star read, I did still really enjoy it and I can’t wait to dive into more of Neil Gaiman’s adult releases!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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Goodreads | Waterstones

This is what he remembers, as he sits by the ocean at the end of the lane:
A dead man on the back seat of the car, and warm milk at the farmhouse.
An ancient little girl, and an old woman who saw the moon being made.
A beautiful housekeeper with a monstrous smile.
And dark forces woken that were best left undisturbed.
They are memories hard to believe, waiting at the edge of things. The recollections of a man who thought he was lost but is now, perhaps, remembering a time when he was saved…

This was my first Neil Gaiman book, and I’ve been recommended it more than once by friends and colleagues! After booking to see the West End play, I knew I wanted to finally pick it up before seeing it on stage. I finally picked it up the other night, just days before the play, and ended up finishing it in just one evening.

I read the beautiful illustrated edition with artwork by Elise Hurst and it fit the book so well. Hurst has done a beautiful job of creating haunting, dark, shadowy illustrations that compliment the scenes perfectly.

Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Gaiman, having not read anything of his before, but I knew it would be whimsical and dark. However, I found this book a lot more grounded than I expected, with more of a real life focus and magical elements, than a complete fantasy world.

I loved the writing and found it emotive but so easy to read. I flew through this book and easily read 100 pages in 45 minutes, which is very fast for me! This illustrated copy is around 80 pages longer than other editions, and I definitely feel like the artwork helped break up the reading experience and therefore made me speed through even faster. I just found that once I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down!

Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.

Overall, I feel like this one was a great one to choose as an introduction to Gaiman, and I’m excited to pick up another. Which do you think I should pick up next?

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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