Book Review: Coraline

Title: Coraline

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre/s: Children, Young Adult, Horror, Fantasy,

My rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads synopsis:

The day after they moved in, Coraline went exploring….

In Coraline’s family’s new flat are twenty-one windows and fourteen doors. Thirteen of the doors open and close.

The fourteenth is locked, and on the other side is only a brick wall, until the day Coraline unlocks the door to find a passage to another flat in another house just like her own.

Only it’s different.

At first, things seem marvelous in the other flat. The food is better. The toy box is filled with wind-up angels that flutter around the bedroom, books whose pictures writhe and crawl and shimmer, little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. But there’s another mother, and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Other children are trapped there as well, lost souls behind the mirrors. Coraline is their only hope of rescue. She will have to fight with all her wits and all the tools she can find if she is to save the lost children, her ordinary life, and herself.

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Years ago, I watched the movie Coraline not really knowing what it was about. I found it disturbing, eerie, and really really good! I simply loved it. Then I learned that it was actually based on a novel, and so it became a goal for me to read it. And now I did!

The writing

The writing style was simple and innocent, yet eerie and haunting. It almost reminded me of Leigh Bardugo’s writing style (especially in The Language of Thorns). I loved the writing style of this book because it showed me the honest perspective of an extraordinary young girl’s mind. Her thoughts and actions hold so much innocence and sadness and bravery.

Aside from being eerie and haunting, there were also times when the writing style was philosophical and very poetic which added more impact for me as a reader. It was short, but it managed to give me intellectual depth and emotional impact in between its pages. I just really, really loved it!

The characters

I loved the characters. They were really interesting and so, so mysterious. I loved Coraline and her innocence and bravery, but I think my favorite character in this book would have to be the cat (hahaha!). I loved the cat in the movie, and I loved him here in this book as well. He was philosophical and mysterious, and his tandem with Coraline is one of my favorite things in this book (plus I really adore cats hahaha!).

I also really loved the Other Mother. She was disturbing, and manipulative, and evil, and those buttons for eyes really mess me up! Despite her being the villain in this story, I really loved her—she was really interesting, and she really knew how to persuade victims (and she really gives me the creeps).

The plot

The plot was also so, so good. I mean just the idea of entering another world that is so similar, yet so different than yours is already interesting enough. (And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I really, really like the idea of alternate universes). And then you add the disturbing aspects like the Other Mother and Father, and the fact that they have buttons for eyes, and that the Other Mother steals children and their souls. It was really interesting and disturbing, and just filled with horror and mystery. I loved it.

Book vs. movie thoughts

Alright, so, now that I have finally read this masterpiece I can finally compare and contrast the book and the movie.

The movie is different from the book. There were some aspects in the movie that did not appear in the book at all. It surprised me, but it made me realize a few things. The changes that were incorporated into the movie really made it more interesting on its own. The movie took the story into a whole new different level, and I really loved that because it was both disturbing and brilliant.

For me, both the movie and the book are really good in their own way.

Quotes from the book

“The names are the first things to go, after the breath has gone, and the beating of the heart. We keep our memories longer than our names”

“I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted, just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?”

“…when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”

“Flee, while there’s still air in your lungs and blood in your veins and warmth in your heart. Flee while you still have your heart and your soul.”

“Now, you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.”

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5 stars for Coraline! Which also happens to be my very first book of Neil Gaiman. Now I want to re-watch the movie. Hmm. How about you book nerds, have you watched the movie, have you read the book? Tell me in the comments below!

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