Review 11: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

About the Author

Neil Gaiman is an English author who writes comics, books, graphic novels, short stories, film and theatre and has won many awards for his work. He was a great reader from an early age and states that JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a major influence to him and he read it a great deal as a child. Gaiman started his career as a journalist and his first book was a Duran Duran biography. Gaiman now lives in the United States.

Blurb

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Apart from the fact that he lives in a graveyard and is being raised and educated by the ghosts, and his guardian belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of should; friendship with a witch; and so much more.

But it is in the land of the living that the real dangers lurk, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.

Review

I was so excited to read this book after reading the short story in Coraline and Other Stories which is the fourth chapter in this book. So on my next bookshop visit I managed to buy a copy of the book. Sadly though I was rather disappointed with the book as a whole.

The book is about the life of Nobody Owens as a child and teenager and the struggles he goes through. Nobody or Bod for short escaped the same fate that his family went through and was protected by the ghosts of the Graveyard he wandered into and his guardian, Silas who is neither in the land of the living or the dead. 

Bod is a typical boy growing up, he is full of wonder and the drive to learn however he lacks the fear and trepidation that most people feel because he has seen death is not all that bad. His best friends are ghosts, death holds no fear for him. He has also sampled the powers that the dead have and that the living do not and knows that they are very advantageous. 

The first chapter shows how Bod came to the graveyard and I must admit I almost shed a tear when Mrs Owens finds him. The chapter was full of emotion and you can not help but desperately root for Bod, but also wonder how the ghosts of the graveyard will look after the child. 

The subsequent chapters show snippets into Bod’s life at about yearly intervals. These chapters I must admit frustrated me as it left me wanting more and the things that were in the chapters were quite often never touched on again or even mentioned. I also wanted to know more about Silas and Miss Lupescu but that was not to be and the reader is left guessing. The character Jack and his kind are only lightly touched upon and this was another disappointment, all the time I wanted to know more details. My favourite chapter still remains The Witch’s Headstone.

The concept of Sleer was brilliant, I really liked the idea of a creature who is unbelievably ancient that nobody even remembers its reason for existence or even that it does exist. Sleer still remembers its purpose though but at the same time is desperate for somebody to become its master again. In a way it is like Bod, Bod wants answers and adventures and Sleer just wants a master a reason for it to still keep protecting.

There were moments in the story that really pulled on my heart strings and almost brought tears to my eyes and I absolutely loved the character of Bod and Mr and Mrs Owens. However I also found myself losing interest in places and that is one of the main reasons for the lower rating. I think reading the fourth chapter first as a short story was a mistake because the rest of the book just did not live up to my expectations.

The edition of the book I read had some beautiful illustrations in by Dave McKean which really added to the story and worked brilliantly in setting the dark mysterious scene of the graveyard. Here is one of my favourites.

A good read for adults and children and I think it would make an excellent film one day. 

Just 3 stars out of 5 from me.

Lady Book Dragon

Mid Week Quote

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all having a good week so far.

Before the quote I would just like to say a massive thank you to all of you who have followed me, liked and read and my posts and just generally supported me and kept me going. It really has warmed this Book Dragon’s heart. Thank you.

Anyway here is the quote for this week, enjoy.

You Can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

Maya AngelouLady Book Dragon

Review 10: Dead Men by Richard Pierce

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Dead Men by Richard Pierce

About the author

Richard Pierce is an English author who was born in Doncaster and educated in Germany and St John’s College, Cambridge. He now lives in Suffolk with his wife and four children. As well as writing he also paints, administers to two charities and writes poetry.

Blurb

Birdie Bowers is a woman with a dead man’s name. Her parents had been fascinated by by Henry ‘Birdie’ Bowers, one of Captain Scott’s companions on his ill-fated polar expedition. A hundred years after the death of Bowers and Scott, she sets out to discover what really happened to them…

The discovery of Captain Scott’s body in the Antarctic in November 1912 started a global obsession with him as a man and an explorer. But one mystery remains – why did he and his companions spend their last ten days in a tent only 11 miles from the safety of a depot that promised food and shelter?

Dead Men tells the story of the two paths. One is a tragic journey of exploration on the world’s coldest continent, the other charts a present-day relationship and the redemptive power of love.

Review

I was so delighted to receive this book off Richard Pierce to read and review. My first book received from an author to review, as you can imagine I was very excited and it went straight to the top of my to read pile.

I finished this book a few days ago and it has been on my mind ever since, it really has stayed with me. It’s made me think a lot about Scott and the Antarctic expedition and the things done to push one’s self beyond the normal capabilities of the human body. I really can not believe that this is Pierce’s first novel as it is just brilliant. I can really tell that Pierce did a great deal of research for this book and spent a lot of time to perfect the story and intertwine the past and the present together.

The book contains two tales, the tale of Scott and his expedition to the Antarctic and the tale of Birdie and Adam. Birdie who is named after Henry Bowers is obsessed with the Scott expedition and finding out why Scott lost his life and did not make it to the safety of the food depot which was only 11 miles away. This obsession she got from her dad and losing him has made her even more determined to get the answers she seeks. Adam is the other main character who meets Birdie unexpectedly on the train and whose life is changed forever from that day. Birdie and Adam are very different people, Birdie is an artist who has a very artistic temperament and can be difficult to get on with. Adam works with computers and everything is organised and planned in his life, he never does anything out of the ordinary and keeps himself to himself. 

The story shows how Birdie and Adam become friends and help change each other for the better, whilst trying to solve the Scott mystery. 

I really enjoyed how all the way through the book there are flashes back to the past, these sections really moved me and at times almost brought me to tears. Quite often after reading these sections I also just sat and thought about what Scott and his people must have gone through, how alone they must have felt out there on the ice. 

This book is a wonderful read and a beautiful love story and I got to learn some history as well. It really got me interested in the Scott expedition and I fully intend on doing some more reading about Scott and Amundsen. At just under 300 pages this book packs a lot of punch and you get a great deal of content in such a small book. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if you are a fan of books with history, love and the power of nature.

A massive 5 out of 5 stars from me.

Lady Book Dragon

Birthday Treats

For my birthday my wonderful husband bought us both tickets to see The Cursed Child parts 1 & 2 with a one night stay in a very posh hotel.

So this weekend found us both in London at the Palace Theatre.

I remember reading the script as soon as the book came out in 2016 after waiting and waiting for the book to arrive. I will be honest the story was a slight disappointment however the actual play was amazing! On Goodreads I only rated the book as 2 stars, my husband gave the same rating.

I am so pleased the script did not put me off as I would have missed out on an amazing stage production.

The first thing that struck me was the amazing stage effects, how they did all the magic was just wonderful and the choreography that went with it was the icing on the cake. The second part was the music, there was no hint of the music from all the Harry Potter films in it. The music stood on its own and was just stunning, it really helped back and move the storyline forward. The only thing I would say is that sometimes the music was a little on the loud side.

Finally there was the acting. The actors were phenomenal, how they kept their energy up for the two parts was unbelievable. The star of the show in my opinion was the actor who played Scorpius. He was amazingly talented and his energy was electric. I think the actors who played Harry, Ron and Hermione were excellent, as they had hard acts to follow from the three actors we know so well from the films. Ron in particular was my favourite, he was just as fun and as happy as he always was and I am happy that did not change.

All in all I loved the play even though I still can not get used to the storyline, it was an amazing day and I can not recommend it enough.

I also visited a new book store during the gap between the two parts. I went to Foyle’s bookshop and I loved it! Sadly I did not buy anything from there as I did not want to be carrying lots of books in to the theatre but I had a good explore. I really loved the layout so open and brightly lit, and the sheet music selection was incredible! I was completely overwhelmed but I desperately want to go back (another trip to London in the planning I think).

Sunday was a relaxing day exploring The Natural History Museum and I might have bought a T-Rex toy wearing a Christmas jumper because dinosaurs are awesome and even better in Christmas jumpers.

Lady Book Dragon

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A Surprise Dragon

So I’ve had another busy weekend, not quite finished yet but I promise I will update you on it all tomorrow. It has a literary theme!

I just had to share with you this lovely surprise in the hotel room.

It’s a Dragon mug! So I had to have a calming peppermint tea and a read of my new Kindle book before bed.

Review 9: Clean Sweep Ignatius by Jeffrey Archer

Clean Sweep Ignatius 

About the author

Jeffrey Archer was born in England in 1940, he is a former politician and author. Archer was a member of parliament from 1969-1974 but did not seek re-election due to a financial scandal that almost bankrupt him. Facing bankruptcy Archer began to write and in so doing revived his fortunes. Archer’s political career has been filled with scandal and in 2001 he was sent to jail for perjury and perverting the course of justice, in 2003 he was released. All his life experiences influence his writing and make for interesting reading.

Blurb

Nigeria’s newly appointed Minister of Finance is determined to make his country sit up straight with his rigorous overhaul of the system, soon earning him the nickname ‘Clean Sweep Ignatius’. But, somehow, large sums of money are still falling through invisible cracks. At his wits end, General Otobi grants Ignatius with the authority to take whatever means he deems necessary to track down the errant funds . . . 

Review

Another breakfast short story review! I do like these free short stories on Kindle. This short story was shorter than I expected and took me only about ten minutes to read if that, I had not even finished my bowl of cereal. I was rather disappointed that most of the book was a sample for his latest book. 

However short this story is I did enjoy it, it really showed Archer’s talent for getting the point across in as few words as possible. It was a clever story and I did not see the ending at all. 

Ignatius is trying to rid the system of crooks and frauds and does everything in his power to accomplish this. General Otobi is desperate to make his government run legally and gives Ignatius all the power he can to rid the system of all the crooks. As Ignatius becomes more successful in his mission he becomes popular with the general public and gets a reputation hence the nickname ‘Clean Sweep Ignatius’.

The story was well delivered and easy to read however I can not say more about it without giving away spoilers. All I can say is if you have a few minutes spare give it a read. A short review for a short story.

I gave the story 3 out of 5 stars due to it just being too short for my liking and in my opinion not his best short story.

Lady Book Dragon

Friday Poetry

This week I have been trying to read a few poems, when I have the time and to be honest the inclination. I am determined in my quest though and will continue to read as much poetry as I can.

I chose this week’s poem because it made me giggle, and what better way to like something than when it makes you giggle. Also frogs and toads were my favourite animals as a child and I still have a soft spot for them. Happy reading!

“I’m nobody! Who are you?”

I’m nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too?

Then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell!

They’d banish us you know.

How dreary to be somebody!

How public, like a frog

To tell your name the livelong day

To an admiring bog!

Emily Dickinson

 

Lady Book Dragon