This story comes across more as a group of short stories that describe Bod's escapades throughout his childhood, which is interesting, but left me wondering what the significance of the man Jack was for a longer time than I would have liked. I felt that the story went nowhere in particular for quite a long portion of the book, just sorta meandering from tombstone to tombstone waiting for the time when the real story would come into play.
The characters were interesting, I especially liked Silas, Bod's guardian. There was an air of mystery surrounding him that was quite enthralling. His true indentity came out as the book progressed giving you first an inkling, then a hunch, then a strong feeling before finally confirming what you'd always secretely suspected about him. His nature was revealed as Bod got older, so it was really like you were seeing Silas through his maturing eyes.
My favorite aspect of this book was when a new ghost would be introduced. Gaiman would write their name, then put in parentesis what their headstone said, like, "Jane Doe (1886-1903 Nothing runs like a deer, the exception being a Doe.)." It was really fun to read.
Dave McCean is amazing. I loved his work in The Savage, and he's basically the whole reason I checked this book out. His work here was a little more abstract and less raw than it was in his other book. It might have been the lack of coloration, but it didn't have the same wow factor for me as The Savage. I still really enjoyed his illustrations, they were a high point for me. I'd see a shadowyness coming through from the pages ahead, and I'd read faster to get to them and see what was next.
Here's a sample of his work:
I'd rate this book PG for the occasional scary monster-like thing and violents. No swearing2, so language gets a G. I'd say the age range given by the publisher is dead on, 9 to 12.
Overall, I give The Graveyard Book...
...Two and a half Zombies3.
Not my cup of tea4.
1 This book was procured from my local library. I was not in anyway coerced to review this book.
2 This is children's book, afterall.
3 This my lowest rating ever! It's a sad milestone.
4 Individual results may vary.