Wednesday, April 24

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

When Coraline Jones moves into a new home, boredom consumes her. Her parents barely pay her any mind and the neighbours don't listen to a word she says. Upon discovering a strange door, Coraline enters into a world that is an eerie reflection of her own. Everyone is interesting and attentive and all her other mother wants to do is love her and play games...but these games might prove to be far more sinister than any mere child's play.

'Coraline' is a vivid story and the descriptions pulled me right in. It was as though the world around me was clouded by fog and I was lost in the setting of the novel. It has a sleepy feel to it, but in an atmospheric way, not a if-you-read-this-in-the-bath-you-may-drown kind of way. I read it well into the night and my attention did not wander. Except for the fact that I kept reading "Miss Spink" as "Miss Spank" but to be fair, that's probably what I would have called a woman who consistently failed to get my name right.

The plot is well paced and there was always something happening. There was a story goal tied to high personal stakes and no part of the novel felt irregular or off-tangent. There was plenty of suspense, though it was subtle, like a thing which lingers in the dark and only makes the slightest noise. A thing for the keen of ear and not the faint of heart.

Coraline is an interesting character. She had the potential to come across as whiny or irritable but instead shows a sheer sense of resilience and determination, both in her own world and the world of her other mother. When Coraline first enters the realm of the other mother, she seems quite unperturbed. Curiosity consumes her. It isn't until later when she is aware of the threat that her terror ripples underneath the surface. Yet she is brave in her determination and makes for a sympathetic and compelling protagonist.

I will admit I had seen the film adaptation before I read the novel and it is rather well adapted from the text. Yet, the illustrations in the book by Dave McKean were still a haunting addition, particularly those of the other mother.

This is the third novel by Neil Gaiman I have read but it is the first one that captivated me. A fact which I'm sure will have many of my friend feeling rather triumphant. There seems to be this nonsensical notion floating around that I fail to enjoy thing on purpose. I can't understand it.

I would recommend 'Coraline' to anyone who is looking for a creepy and curious read.
In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer borrowed this book from the library. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Harper Collins and is used solely as an aide to the review.


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