The first thing that comes to my mind when I try to describe The Graveyard Book
is "interesting format". Instead of being a continuous tale over a shortish period of time broken up into chapters, The Graveyard Book
is a series of short stories, with each telling a tale from a different period in Bod's life amongst the dead of the Graveyard.
Each of these stories is both open and closed, and this is one of the book's greatest strengths. Each adventure/tale is complete, but when pieced together the short stories tell the whole tale. In a way it is like being shown a photo album of a person's life and being told the story accompanying each - there are still blanks, but the feel and the major events are still there. In other cases this format might not work, but Gaiman handles it beautifully and the format becomes an asset, and not a problem.
Like with the other Gaiman stories I have read, the characters of The Graveyard Book
definitely make the story. Each one of them has their own little quirks and ideals, and it was interesting to watch how Bod's relationship with them changed as he grew old - and they, being dead, did not. I found myself wishing for more information about these characters because of little glimpses of who they were and what they were doing (like the young couple who died several decades apart and are now stepping out together) but the way it was handled it was enough at the same time. As Bod grew up, so did his view - and thus ours - of the different characters changed, which was a pleasant thing to see. From the Owenses, to Silas to Miss Lupescu to Liza Hempstock and to the rest of the dead society, each are portrayed as different, interesting and unique people, and overall I loved the concept of a community within a graveyard.
For those of you who like interesting, quirky and Gaiman-y type tales with characters that belong in that world, then the collection of stories inside The Graveyard Book
will definitely appeal.