Rajiv's Reviews

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

book00006Coraline by Neil Gaiman (10th Anniversary Edition)
Released: October 13th, 2013
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Gift from Friend

Synopsis: 
Coraline’s often wondered what’s behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her “other” parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

 

I received this book as a gift from a dear friend, as he knew I enjoyed reading young adult/suspense/thriller/horror novels. Since I have never read any of Neil Gaiman’s books before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew that “Coraline” had come out as a movie that was critically acclaimed as few years ago, but I haven’t watched the movie either so I wasn’t sure if I would like this book or not. Having said that, I really enjoyed reading “Coraline”. Gaiman’s style of writing is simplistic, unique, captivating and creepy at the same time. The story-line has interesting characters, good pacing, and a lot of creepy elements added to keep the reader turning to the next page.

One of the main reasons I liked this book was because of the main character, Coraline and how she interacts and reacts to the situations around her. Even though she is scared when realizes that she is trapped in the other world, she doesn’t succumb to defeat, and always tries to find a way to escape. Also, I’m not a cat person in general, but I found the cat ally of hers to be adorable, snarky, and humorous. I also found Miss Spink and Miss Forcible to be delightful, and would have loved it if the author had written an additional chapter on Coraline’s interaction with the “other” versions of them.

I disagree with some of the other reviewers out there saying that this is mainly a children’s book and not scary enough for adults. I found some parts to be extremely unnerving, like when the disfigured form of ‘other’ father approaches Coraline to trap her, or when the hand starts crawling around the house while Coraline is sleeping. However, this is a book meant for young adults as the target audience, hence the reader should not expect a Stephen King like story-line out of it.

Overall, “Coraline” is a wonderfully written book that tells young readers that sometimes people will tempt you with false promises and lies, but you should be smart and believe in yourself and do what is right, and have true friends who would support you along the way. Now it’s time for me to watch the movie and see which one is better (although I feel the book will be slightly better)

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