Coraline-Stand Alone-4/5

By Neil Gaiman

Stepping through, she never imagined what might follow.

Coraline cover

On a rain swept day, a bored young girl named Coraline convinces her mother to unlock the strange door in the drawing room, only to find it bricked up. Soon Coraline’s search will uncover a secret world, full of wonder and mystery. But all is not as it seems, and before long Coraline will have to fight to reclaim the ordinary life she once longed to escape.

What follows is a delightful story that touches upon many classic horror tropes, cleverly couched in the tone and style of a young fairy tale. Fans of either genre may feel a certain familiarity with the plot, but find themselves too engaged by the narrative to bother looking ahead. Details are few but well-chosen, cultivating a strong air of vague foreboding while keeping the overall tone of the story very mellow. If one can fault this story for anything, it would be its brevity.

The careful management of information keeps audiences focused, but leaves little room for background information. The story can only hint at the true depth of its characters and ideas, leaving audiences to read between the lines.

Of course for some this is not a flaw at all. Many will enjoy the ease with which they fly through this story, while others may dig deeper, building upon what the author has provided.

+Strong, brief scenes
+Strong narrative flow (pacing & foreshadowing)
*Strong but familiar plot
*Mellow, young, easy read
*Brief (can feel rushed)


Next Time…

7 thoughts on “Coraline-Stand Alone-4/5

  1. I saw a review for the movie based on this book last week and it really looked very interesting. I have to say that I haven’t seen the film, nor have I read the book, but the story for it really appealed to me. Today at work I was speaking to a colleague of mine, and she said the same thing I did: we really need more hours in a day lol. So many cool things I have yet to see/read. As always: great post! 😀

    • Thank you.
      It is a fun, and a quick read. It’s also interesting how, most of the time I feel like the book is better than the movie, but this is one case where I feel like the movie honestly learned from the book, and built upon it, rather than simply translating it. But I still love them both.

  2. Pingback: Hellbound Heart-Stand Alone-4/5 | Write Thoughts

  3. I can’t remember if I’ve read the book or not, but I loved the stop-motion film. (I also love stop motion, so perhaps I couldn’t help but love Coraline.) However, my opinion of Neil Gaiman isn’t…as enthusiastic as most people’s. I felt kind of underwhelmed by Stardust and a short story I read by him. His prose just seems a bit overwrought to me at times, so I haven’t read a lot by him and I never manage to convince myself to give him another try.

    • I’m also a big fan of stop motion. It has that added texture which drawn & digital struggle to achieve. Of course Selick is also a master of stop motion.
      I would agree that some of Neil Gaiman’s work can be underwhelming. While I haven’t read Star Dust I have read some other titles by him that, while interesting, did not strike me as strong. If I may, you might try the Sandman series. It’s a graphic novel series, but it has some very smart writing, and more than a few interesting ideas. In many ways it’s a series that sidesteps many of the common conventions, like a clear protagonist/antagonist relationship. No pressure of course 😅.

      • Maybe the texture is part of what I like about stop motion. I never really thought about it before. I think I just liked the idea of being so creative and finding ways to make tiny objects!

        I have read Vol. 4 of the Sandman series and I liked it. It’s like you’ve read my mind! I should see about reading the rest of the series.

Leave a Reply