Book Reviews

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – Book Review

Coraline by Neil Gaiman Book Review Cover

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – Book Details

TITLE – Coraline

AUTHOR – Neil Gaiman

GENREmiddle grade, fantasy, paranormal, horror

YEAR PUBLISHED – 2002

PAGE COUNT – 162

MY RATING – 4.5 of 5

RATED ON GOODREADS – 4.06 of 5

Initial Thoughts

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit I’ve never read anything by Neil Gaiman before. But this October is when we are changing that!

I’ve heard wonderful things about this author. I’ve heard that he is an amazing storyteller who can appeal to readers of all ages. But what exactly I could expect from his book – I had no idea. For some reason, it just looked like a perfect choice to get me into the Halloween mood.

Coraline is a teeny tiny book. Cute drawn cover. Large font and illustrations throughout the book. It is a middle grade horror, the first one I’ve ever read. Or even heard of, to be honest.

Apparently, when she was 4, Gaiman’s daughter loved imagining scary stories about girls trapped by witches pretending to be their mothers. So, he went to the bookshop to find her some good scary stories for little children. Of course, he couldn’t find any.

So, he decided to write one for her. But, the story turned out to be much longer than originally expected, plus life got in the way. He finally finished Coraline 10 years later, just in time for his younger daughter to be just big enough for it.

Now, I’ve heard that Gaiman is an excellent narrator and that the best thing you can do with his books is listen to them as audiobooks. But, I’ve decided to leave that for his next books and just read a physical copy of Coraline, mostly because of the illustrations…

What It Is About

Coraline by Neil Gaiman book quote: “How do I know you'll keep your word?" asked Coraline. "I swear it," said the other mother. "I swear it on my own mother's grave." "Does she have a grave?" asked Coraline. "Oh yes," said the other mother. "I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back.”

Ah – the mischiefs a kid can get into while bored during a summer break… 🙂

Coraline is bored in her new home. The only thing she can do is wander around and explore. So, when she finds a door with a secret passage behind them, there’s really only one thing she can do – go and investigate.

What she finds is a parallel universe with her other family living in an apartment very similar to her own.

At first everything seems only slightly different. The food is better. The toys are more interesting. The other parents never ignore her.

Which may sound perfect, until Caroline is asked to, in exchange for this new family, give up her real, flawed, imperfect mom and dad and her boring little life on the other side of the door…

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – My Review

After finishing Coraline, I can even less believe I’ve never read Neil Gaiman before!

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to spend days wandering around and exploring. This book brought me back into some of the best days of my childhood and I love it for that.

I thought the beginning was a bit rough. One sentence would be absolutely brilliant, then the very next one would seem painfully unnecessary.

But that stopped after 30 or so pages, and everything that followed was just amazing. The creativity. Simple yet effective writing style. The details. The imagination. And the best kind of weird!

I also loved Coraline. She was so easy to relate to and even admire. She is smart, brave, curious and adventurous. I almost forgot how it was like – being a child and not backing down even when you really should.

But Coraline is also kind. She listens what other people have to say and takes their advice into account.

Coraline is a perfect children’s horror story. Not too scary (I think) for kids, but more than entertaining enough for adults.

To me it felt right in the middle between Alice in Wonderland and The Addams Family without actually being either. And I cannot think of a better combination.

If there’s anything I could wish it was better, it would probably be the characters. Everyone except Coraline was given very little space, so they felt a bit flat. But, this is a super short book, so it didn’t bother me all that much.

I can even see myself rereading it every October. And I can’t wait to read more from Neil Gaiman, especially his adult books.

Oh – there’s also an animated movie ‘Coraline’ from 2009. I just watched it and – I enjoyed it very much!

My Signature

(8) Comments

  1. This sounds like a delightful novel. I admit, I’ve also never read Neil Gaiman before, though I’ve heard amazing things about his writing. Maybe this will make for the perfect start. 🙂

    1. Yes! Not only it’s a great book, but it’s pretty short, so if you like it – great, keep reading his stuff. And if not, well – at least you didn’t waste much of your time… ❤️️

  2. This is such a great review. I’ve never read any books by Neil Gaiman before either.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! Well, if you’d like to try out his work, I think this is a great book to start with… ❤️️

  3. I haven’t read the book but I’ve watched the movie and I admit it was a bit creepy for me. 😂😅 But I liked the plot and I’m sure the book, as always, is even better. Thanks for this wonderful review! 💕

    1. Thanks so much, Elle! ❤️️ Yeah, I think Gaiman is pretty famous for his creep factor 😂 But I like to get a bit scared every now and than. And I think his creativity and his storytelling ability are completely worth it… ❤️️❤️️❤️️

  4. I love this movie so I’ll have to read this book! I love the idea of seeing the illustrations and reading not-too-scary books in October! I love your review, also. Very inciteful and gets me excited to read!

    1. Thank you so much! ❤️️❤️️❤️️ I loved both the movie and the book, I’m sure you’d enjoy it as well… 😘

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