Hi everyone! This is Julia of The Broke and the Bookish, formerly blogging on my own at The Competitive Bibliomaniac.
I read mostly historical romance, but can often be found reviewing paranormal romance, young adult books (mostly distopian/fantasy), fantasy/sci-fi, classics, and the occasional non-fiction book about languages.
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I have read one other Neil Gaiman book in my life (The Graveyard Book which I loved), and I think it is important for me to start there. The problem with Gaiman is that is he super awesome and famous (a rough problem to have I guess) but it gives these high expectations to his books. I really liked The Graveyard Book and I've checked out Stardust for a car ride later today, but I just could not connect with The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
My favorite quote from book club was that this book at the same time felt too long yet underdeveloped. There were times I wanted to know more (everything with the Hempstock family) and times where I just didn't think anything was happening. It has this strange story like feel to it where you kind of expect something to be left up to the imagination, but I think the wrong parts were.
There were times in this story where I was quite freaked out (the nanny) and other times where I was enchanted (the kitty). But overall it has the feel of a short story stretched out into a novel, though it still only clocks in at a hundred fifty pages and some change.
If you are new to Gaiman, I would not recommend this be your first book. If you are a fan, you may like this. If you need a book for book club, I will say that this was a book that had a lot of different reactions that were really interesting to talk about. It ran the gamut on if people loved it or hated it and sparked really interesting discussion points. So I guess it is up to you if you want to take an afternoon to read this. Based on the reactions though, I would get it from the library first :)
Questions for Gaiman readers out there, what would you recommend be the first book in his back list for new readers to try? I'd say the Graveyard Book (since it is the one out of two that I've read and liked).
Note: This was originally published at my blog, The Broke and the Bookish, July 23rd, 2013. I've actually since read aka listened to Stardust and enjoyed that, too.