Author: Neil Gaiman
Review: The opening to Coraline was good and very different to its movie counterpart, we meet Coraline after she moves into her new home and she is adjusting the way any child would be exploring and generally getting under foot. It is right at the beginning of the book that she uncovers the door that goes nowhere and isn’t really to curious about it even when there are strange noises in the night she doesn’t really think much of it. When Coraline discovers the other world for the first time she isn’t really surprised or even curious about the people living there and how the brick wall just magically disappeared, some of this can be put down to a child’s imagination but I didn’t immediately connect to Coraline the way I did with the movie version of her.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel we see Coraline’s parents disappear for two days before she even thinks about calling for help. She first calls the police who aren’t any help and she realises that she has to go back to the other world despite being afraid of the other mother. One of my favourite characters in this novel so far is the cat because he offers advice to Coraline which she doesn’t understand at the time but it will become clearly like telling her to bring protection and to challenge the other mother in order to get her real parents back.
As we cross into the final section of the novel we see Coraline prepare to face the beldam after she learns the truth of the other world and how she fits into it. I loved how the ghost children helped Coraline almost continuously during her struggle with the beldam although I did feel she found all the souls too quickly and it was over before it had really begun. This is where I feel the movie was better because Coraline really struggled to get all the souls and win her freedom back into her own world. I also felt the movie provided more backstory with Wybie because she gives Coraline backstory on the house aka the pink palace and provides her with the curiosity to go looking for the other world, so I was disappointed that he wasn’t included in the book. I also felt the movie had better imagery and portrayed the beldam’s evil nature better despite the book having some great illustrations you don’t get a full sense of how the other world works and what the beldam is and what she wants.
Overall, the pacing was a little off as everything seems a little rushed and there was no breathing space between events and I feel it would have been better if the novel was a little more drawn out to allow the reader to process all the information they are being fed. The character though were great and I would have liked to see more of them especially the beldam and her history and how she captured and killed other children before Coraline. I also wondered about if the children died in the other world, they would have gone missing from the real world so how could no one like Miss Spink and Miss Forcible who presumably have lived in the house for a long time not know about several children going missing in the past. I do recommend Coraline for it fun story and creepy nature but there are some flaws with the book in general.
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