see my reading list here) and as my first book for 2015, I eagerly picked up the children's book The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
This is the back cover blurb,
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.
There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks for it is there that the man Jack lives and he had already killed Bod's family.
Neil Gaiman's dark, rich imagination has always appealed to me, ever since I read Neverwhere. His tone of writing voice is thoughtful, poetic and often unpredictable, pulling you along through his stories.
The Graveyard Book begins in a very dark way - murder. It introduces us immediately to the assassin, the man Jack and the peril that our protagonist, Bod is in.
Gaiman's portrayal of Bod as a child, at different ages, is completely believable. In fact, the whole book, although strange on the surface (a child living in a graveyard amongst ghosts and ghouls) uses the familiarity of family, childhood, and growing up to bind the story together.
I was already two chapters into the book before I realised how entranced I was by it. I hadn't stopped to think or put the book down until that point. I'm a critical reader but The Graveyard Book is so magical and well written that the critic completely disappeared - poof.
It's been a while since I felt sad as I finished a book but that was exactly how I felt as I came to the end of this one. I miss Bod, the ghosts and especially Silas but I suppose that's how a good book (definitely an understatement in this case) should leave you - sad, a little teary and all the better for having known it.