The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman

This review is about the book, The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. This novel is one of the best books I have read, and its creepy, imaginative plot story line is an entrancing one. It all started in the way the best horror books do – with a murder……

One cold, dark night, a man Jack was attending to some business – killing an unsuspecting family in their beds. He had just one person left to attend to – a little baby boy. The most important of the lot. Not a very difficult task. Or so he thinks. However, his satisfaction on a job about to be well done turned into panic and fury, when he discovers the child is not to be found in the house. He hurries out into the dark, misty lane, to try and find the boy, and salvage the job before it was too late……..

What of the boy, then? An adventurous boy, he had fallen out of the cot and stumbled out of the house, in hope to explore. He goes into the graveyard next to the lane, and stumbles into an unsuspecting ghost couple. Mr and Mrs Owens have been quite happily married for about a few hundred years, in life and now death. Suddenly the spirit of the baby’s mother appears, and begs Mr and Mrs Owens to take the child, hide him and raise him as if he was their own. A kind-hearted couple who had wanted a child to raise, but had never had one, the Owens agreed. The entire graveyard pitched in to take care of the child, and Silas, a friend of the ghosts, agreed to become his guardian. They agreed that the child should draw as little attention to himself as possible, and the christened him as Nobody. Nobody Owens, Bod for short, who would be raised, taught, and educated by ghosts. He was given the Freedom of the Graveyard and was allowed to go anywhere and meet any ghost in the graveyard. He was safe, and the man Jack was thwarted. At least for now….

Bod grows up, quite happily, amidst the ghosts and Silas and even makes a living friend, Scarlett. He has some interesting adventures, with ghouls, an underground monster, a witch and a dance. But soon Scarlett has to leave for Scotland. He soon wants to learn more. He wants to go to school, out of the graveyard, and be around other living people. However, the outside world is not safe for him. The man Jack is still looking for him. But he still goes to school and nothing untoward happens.

Scarlett moves back from Scotland to her old city with her mom when she is about fifteen. She meets Bod again and become friends again. However, danger is lurking around the corner, and Bod’s enemies are closer than anyone realizes……

Can Scarlett and Bod save themselves and end the threat of their enemies?

This creepily fantastic novel is an amazing one. It has beautiful descriptions that make you feel as if you yourself are in that situation, with touches of sarcastic humour in between. You get lost in this book as take a journey in Bod’s world. This is an awesome work of Neil Gaiman’s. I will definitely read more of his books if they are this good. My favourite character was Liza. A beautiful story, slightly creepy with a bittersweet ending, this is definitely one of the best books I have read. It is perfect for a rainy afternoon, or if you are bored since it will certainly shake the boredom away. It’s originality makes it a must read, and even the people who do not like reading, will like this book.
I hope that he continues writing such good books. It is perfect for people liking creepy, fantastical stories, and I really hope you read and like it. You won’t regret it.

I recommend this book for 9+.

Keeper of the Lost Cities, Book-4 By Shannon Messenger

This review is about the fourth book in the Keeper of the Lost Cities series, Neverseen.  It’s an amazing book, and now let me tell you more about it!

Sophie Foster and her friends are officially in trouble. After sneaking away to the Himalayas to try and capture the evil rebel group, the Neverseen, with the help of the good rebel group, called the Black Swan, they are definitely going to be punished or expelled, or even… banished. It is no longer safe for any of them to remain in the lost cities. It was time for them to venture out in the world. Gain some experience. Time for them, to find the Black Swan, and demand answers. Time to uncover some truth.  However, just as they were setting out, of course something happened to make Sophie’s life even more dangerous and complicated. She is given the dead councillor Kenric’s cache, which contains some dangerous secrets, which, if the fell into the wrong hands, would doom the world….

After following some clues, they find one of the leaders of the Black Swan, Mr Forkle. He takes them to one of their hideouts, Alluveterre. They are going to stay safely there, and train their skills. They are going to train their skills, to rescue Prentice Endal. Prentice was a worker for the Black Swan, who’s mind was broken and he was exiled, on charges of treason. To achieve this feat, they all have to train for separate tasks. Biana has work on her Vanishing ability. Sophie and Fitz have to achieve Cognatedom. Dex has to work on the security devices. And Keefe…. has got the exciting task of reading (pretty much his hated job). However, they get side tracked by a plague which has been unleashed on gnomes. They suspect it was the Neverseen, allying with the ogres, (since their King Dimitar pretty much hates Sophie and her friends after an incident at Kenric’s funeral in the last book) but they have no proof. Also, their excursion to rescue Prentice goes horribly, with all twelve councillors turning up on what was supposed to be a covert operation. Fitz gets gravely injured and Sophie is forced to barter their freedom, with Kenric’s cache. The deal is formed, all of them including Prentice would be given freedom, on the condition that they would hand Gethen (a member of the Neverseen that they had captured earlier) over and go to Exillium….

Exillium is the dreaded school for the hopeless cases, and it is supposed to be a horrible school. However, their attendance to Exillium turns out to be remarkably useful (and hated). They learn some useful skills, and even make some new friends. They see the school, and see the incredible neglect there, courtesy of the councillors. Meet Tam and Linh Song. These two incredibly talented twins have an extremely sad story. They find that their glittering world isn’t as perfect as everyone thinks, it’s incredibly prejudiced and unfair. Too many secrets. Too many lies. And on top of it all, the threat of the gnomish plague is increasing. The only cure is locked in the legendary ogre capital, Ravagog. Can they all sneak into the most highly guarded lost city, steal the cure, and run? The fate of the entire gnomish species depends on them. No pressure……

An action-packed story, full of suspense, amazing surprises, and shocking betrayals. This book takes adventure to a whole new level. This was definitely my favourite book in the series so far. I swear, each book is even better than the last, which I thought was not humanely possible. But it is. The detail and intricacy in this series is really amazing. It’s a huge puzzle, like when a big revelation comes, then you see that all the clues and details were there all along, you just didn’t see them. And the variety in the characters is absolutely a part of the book that helps keeps it from going bland. I may be fangirling over here, but seriously, this book deserves it. This book totally fires up your imagination, and every page of it is super good. My favourite characters were Tam and Linh, and Silveny, who are yours? If you have read this book, I hope you like it as much as I do. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?! Grab a copy of this book now! (But you should read the first three books in the series before this, since this is book #4) I like this book because this something different, with a whole new world full of adventure and cool abilities (I would LOVE to be a Phaser :D) and it will keep you hooked. If you like fantasy/action, this is so for you.                                                                                                                                                                                             I recommend this book to ages 10+.

Ponyo on Cliff by the Sea By Studio Ghibli

This review is about the remarkable Studio Ghibli anime, Ponyo. This movie is directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and has some beautiful music by Joe Hisaishi. This is a sweet and amazing movie, and now let me tell you more about it!

Deep under the sea, there lives a little fish who lives with all her siblings in a big coral reef house. In that house, there also lives a scientist/magician, called Fujimoto. All her life, she has lived there, quite happily with her brothers and sisters, with Fujimoto taking care of her. However, part of her wants to go out, and explore.

She takes her chance to do just that, when Fujimoto is busy experimenting with potions in the ocean (hey, that rhymes!) and escapes by hitching a ride on top of a passing jellyfish, into the unknown……

Meanwhile, on a cliff by the sea, there lives a little boy, Sosuke, with his mother, Lisa. His father works in the navy, and is currently at sea. On that very day, he went to play in the sea before school, with his toy boat. When he got there, he saw…

That very fish, who was now stuck in a glass bottle (after an encounter with an ocean clean-up machine). He rescues it, and takes it home. He gets a cut from the glass, but the fish licks it, and…. it gets healed! He’s delighted, and he takes the fish home and puts it in a green bucket, and takes it home. Lisa goes to work (she works in an old people’s home) and he goes to school, taking the fish with him. He loves the fish a lot, and gives it a name: Ponyo. Meanwhile, Fujimoto is getting increasingly frantic. He needs to get Ponyo back, before humans discover that …….. Ponyo has magic powers! Sosuke and Ponyo are sitting in a small cove next to the sea, when Fujimoto spots them. He manages to rescue Ponyo, except……..Ponyo doesn’t want to be rescued. Both of them are really sad on being parted. She and Sosuke love each other, and now, Ponyo wants to become human, like Sosuke, and go back to him. Fujimoto is aghast. He tries to convince her that humans are horrible creatures, but she’s not so sure. Sosuke and his mother, at least, were very kind. She uses her magic to become human, and she somehow manages it, with the help of her siblings. What she doesn’t know, is that Fujimoto has a sealed room, with a well inside. The water is slowly rising in that well, and once the well is full, the sea will rise, and submerge the earth. The Era of Water. While trying to escape, she opens the door by mistake, and…….  the ocean water rushes in and now, the well is overflowing. The sea starts to rise…

She and Sosuke are reunited, but at a price. The sea is rising, and humanity is in chaos. And, on top of it all, Lisa goes missing while trying to help the folks in the old people’s home. Sosuke and Ponyo set of to rescue Lisa. Can they rescue Sosuke’s mother, stop the sea from rising even more, and can Ponyo remain in her human form, without Fujimoto trying to turn her back into a fish?

A magical story, it will keep you engrossed till the end. This is one of my favourite Studio Ghibli movies, and I hope you like it too!                                                                                                             

Very detailed, vibrant and colourful, this is a really sweet and interesting movie. The plot line is really intricate and I loved it from beginning to end. My favourite characters were Lisa, because she was so kind and funny, and the people in the old folk’s home, because they were really nice. (Who are yours?) A really imaginative movie it has an originality of its own. Studio Ghibli is definitely one of the best movie studios ever. I really hope that you try it. It is definitely worth it. This movie has the perfect balance of humour, sadness, love and action. There is a rich variety of characters, and that makes it all the more interesting. This engrossing movie will help you escape reality, and dive into the magical world of Ponyo.

This movie is a must for those who love amazing, sweet and happy stories. “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea” will deliver all that and more. I recommend this movie for ages 8+.