Book: Coraline (Coraline & Other Stories) Review

“Cats have no need for names”

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Surreal, Horror, Age: Children’s+

Released: 5th October 2009 (UK Version)

When Coraline Jones moves into apartment, the last thing she expects is to be able to travel through a tiny door into an alternative world. There, her parents love her and are willing to do anything for her, especially her other mother who has buttons for eyes.

When her real parents get kidnapped and Coraline herself must have buttons sewn on, she realises the terrible danger that she’s facing.

Warning! May contain spoilers!

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I love the fairytale-esque style of Coraline. It instantly draws comparisons with other classic stories for being whimsical and magical. It reminds me of a neo-Alice-in-Wonderland.

The lead character, Coraline, is an interesting a bright young girl that readers will like. Unlike other young characters, Coraline is very well spoken, and often says profound and interesting things. She also seems to have a good thought process, as she figures out the logic of the other world.

The main baddie is of course the other mother, who later turns out to be a spider-type creature that sets out traps for children. Although it’s never said whether she eats them, or feeds on their souls, she’s still a terrifying antagonist.

When things get really bad, The Cat (with no name), is her companion. He’s not too interested in humans, but the other mother threatens his existence, and he helps Coraline out.

Although there are interesting side-characters, and alternative versions of those, Coraline is pretty much alone for most of the book. The reader will hear her every whim and thought as she comes different situations. This might appeal to children more, especially since some of the scenes are simple, like eating, or exploring the garden.

The book slowly picks up pace, as Coraline is entangled more and more in the other mother’s web. The finale sees Coraline escaping from certain death with the souls of her parents and other children the other mother has taken.

It’s not horror in a conventional way, some parts are eerie but older readers won’t be outright scared.

It’s also better to treat this as a gentle story, rather than an exceptional piece of prose. Coraline has it’s own flare and style, and will be remembered as a charming story.

Rated – 3.5/5  For fans of modern fairytales, children and adults looking for whimsical horror. Great lead character.

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3 Comments

  1. I haven’t read the book yet, but the movie version was fantastic. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend it.

    Reply
    • I’ve seen the movie version a few times. It’s great too. ^^ The characters look amazing with stop-motion.

      Reply
      • I’m almost always disappointed with movies based on books, but that one was an exception. :D

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