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Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book was the most recent choice for my campus book group, and the group was overwhelming pleased with the read.  I, however, was more pleased with the listen.

Having recently attended a Gaiman reading in Chicago, I found some of his short stories to be fabulous when he read them.. even though I didn’t like them when I originally read them in print.  So, I downloaded a sample of this on my nook, but ultimately, I decided it’d be much better with his voice and rhythm.  I was right.

The story: When the man Jack sets out to murder an entire family, only the wandering toddler escapes.  He leaves the house, toddles down the hill and through the bars of the graveyard gate.  Happily, a ghostly couple adopt the child, name him Nobody, and he is raised in a cemetary with ghosts for friends, tutors, and guardians.  But why was the man Jack out to kill him anyway?  And why is he still looking for him?

The folks in my book group thought it might be a bit scary for its target audience, but I think they’re underestimating children.  I loved horror books as a child (so much that the school librarian worriedly called my mom, actually), and while this one has a couple of scary scenes, it isn’t really a horror, and it isn’t terribly graphic.

It was cute, well-written, and with Neil Gaiman’s voice, it was just a pleasure to listen to.  And while it was good, and I would recommend it (especially on audiobook), I think it had more potential.

There were so many half-explored ideas that left me wanting more.  The other world.. with the ghouls, what was that like?  How are ghoul gates created?  I want to know more about the night-gaunts.  And the danse macabre.  And the stuff with Jack (being vague to avoid spoilers).  And the Honor Guard.  And the Sleer.  And..

I wonder if there’s fanfic.  A coming sequel?  A book of short stories than Neil Gaiman will write, just for me, to answer all these questions?

Neil Gaiman has created a fascinating world of ideas.  A world that, if fully explored, could fill a Harry Potter length series.  And he shoved it into one short book.

And I want more.

Have you read The Graveyard Book?  Were you left feeling satisfied, or wanting?  Did you think it was too scary for kids?  Know of any good fanfic?  Comment, and let me know!