Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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Pic from Wikipedia
The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring....
In Coraline's family's new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it's different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there's another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to
change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

I saw the movie first when I was younger and it freaked me out a lot. Now, the book freaked me out a little less. A little. Just a very little.

It had the same sort of quality as a Grimm fairy tale in that it had a sort of spindly horror to it. It wasn't so much bloody or gruesome as quietly scary. The idea of having an "other mother" who would eat you alive... *shudder* The descriptions were so, so creepy. Just... so creepy. The whole mood was made to make your skin crawl a bit.

And yet I loved Coraline. She was plucky and resourceful and believable. I wanted to stick with her, even as she confronted the other mother and she went right into the other flat without complaining or thinking about fear. She did what I wish I would've been able to do, but it was all so realistic. Her thoughts were genuinely childlike but not naive. She was one of the better protagonists I've read, definitely.

The cat, too. He was awesome. His mildly sardonic comments made it entertaining and he was a really, really good supporting character.

The villain - the other mother - let's not talk about her. She's creepy enough without me having to elaborate.

PS: The illustrations capture it perfectly. They are scary. :)

I would say go for it if you're ready for a little creepiness.
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