This post is going to be brief and biased. Brief, because I don't want to talk too much about the plot or characters of The Graveyard Book, I simply want you to discover them for yourselves. And biased, because ever since I picked up American Gods six or seven years ago, I have been a huge fan of just about everything Neil Gaiman has created, from its sequel Anansi Boys (an excellent marriage of fantasy and comedy) to his collaboration with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, and his endlessly entertaining short stories.
So here is a brief synopsis. Nobody Owens is a 21st Century Mowgli, orphaned as a toddler and taken in by the kindly spirits that inhabit a cemetery atop a hill that looks down over the Old Town. At first, Nobody (or "Bod" as he is known) grows up blissfully unaware that his life is any different to that of other children. But the outside world soon begins to creep in, first in the form of Scarlett, a childhood sweetheart, and later on Bod becomes curious as to the circumstances that brought him to the graveyard. Why doesn't he go to school like other children? What happened to his birth parents? And who is the man Jack, that everybody seems so afraid of?
Anybody familiar with Gaiman's work will appreciate the skill with which he writes the sinister dialogue of the villains and the quirky but earnest voices of characters like Mrs Owens, Bod's adoptive mother, and Liza, the young witch buried just outside consecrated ground. And the novel's climax, while giving nothing away, provides the reader with a huge sense of satisfaction as Bod makes use of the otherworldly education he has received.
The Graveyard Book gets a whopping 5 out of 5, A++, 100%. And now I just have to sit and wait for Gaiman to write something else.