My rating: 5 of 5 stars
No matter what genre you prefer, try out a Gaiman book. I swear, he crosses all boundaries with his writing.
He’s magical, lyrical, beautiful. He’s the modern version of Lewis Carroll, J.M. Barrie or Rudyard Kipling — possessed of the same otherwordly, all-engrossing qualities of literary talent. To say his works transport you to another world isn’t quite adequate — they take you to that place between sleep and awake, the fever-dream you can never quite describe.
This particular book, despite the grim-sounding title and macabre-seeming premise is simply another great example of Gaiman’s inimitable talent. It seems to be inspired by The Jungle Book, in that the protagonist (Nobody Owens) is raised away from normal society by non-humans. In this case, though, the non-humans are not animals, but ghosts and vampires. Just as Mowgli is taught important life skills and lessons in The Jungle Book by his animal caretakers, so Nobody learns unexpectedly useful lessons from his otherwordly adoptive family.
Gaiman, as usual, revels in the use of wordplay and double meanings; dropping subtle hints throughout the well-placed plot that culminate in a satisfying ah-ha! moment at the end. The artwork gorgeous, and don’t imagine that because it’s illustrated it’s a children’s book — the reading level is young adult, not new/ beginning reader. The combination of the pen-and-ink drawings and the advanced reading level give a wonderfully nostalgic feeling for a time when books were entertainment for all, and most books had illustrations regardless of the targeted age of the reader.