Author - Neil Gaiman
Rating - 4 Stars
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .
Despite having read two other Gaiman books, I was quite hesitant in reading this one. For one, it seemed to be marketed for quite a younger audience but for another ir would the first Gaiman book that I would read without having a foreknowledge of the source material, this made me rather nervous. I was not ready to dislike Gaiman just yet.
To be honest, I should not have worried. It seems the best stories might be a coming of age stories. This novel is about Nobody 'Bod' Owens who got his name due to an unfortunate incident where his parents are killed by the man Jack and is adopted by a group of ghosts a mysterious otherworldly man Sylus.
This book plays a lot on mystery, page on page you are faced with quuestion after question like who is the man Jack, why did he kill Bod's real parents, what is Bod's real name and what type of creature is Sylus.
Gaiman in his usual style does not attempt to answer all of the question, leaving an air of mystery even after the boom is done. It had me thinking about it long after I had stopped reading it. It's one of those books where you stare at the back cover wondering why it's missing it's last few hundred pages.
I loved this book. Bod was a perfectly defiant, intelligent, loving, smart and sometimes naive perfection of a narrator. This book, having been set in a graveyard had a perfect mix of dark shadows and bright lights of childlike enthusiasm. The powers that are granted to Bod are not only unique but incredibly creative which is a wonderful change from the usual shapeshifters and blood suckers.
It seems that Gaiman also loves the Hempstocks as they have found a way to get from the Stardust to his novel. Liza Hempstock is a brilliant character with a great mix of teenage mutiny, wisdom of the dead and witchcraft. I feel like I watched a toddler seamlessly transit to a teenager and I did not feel like I saw any considerable time jumps.
This is a brilliant book that can be read by children or adults and is equally entertaining. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
P.S. Did I mention Bod dances with death, literally.
Paperback, 289 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury, 2008
Author's Website: http://www.neilgaiman.com/