The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

Rating: 2/10

I will admit that I have never been a big fan of Neil Gaimen’s work. At least not his novels (except Coraline) and the Sandman series, cause that series is amazing. I thought that American Gods would have made a better graphic novel and I thought that Anansi Boys was a little boring.  Sadly, this book was no exception.

I didn’t like the writing at all. He has a tendency to overuse the word “and” which was really distracting since I kept rewriting his sentences in my head. It read like a book at a much lower level than adult fantasy.

None of the characters were developed enough for me to care about the outcome. Nothing was very clear as to what was going on. There was this whole magical world the he was trying to create that made no sense at all since he didn’t explain anything. I was left rather confused as to how anything as happening and why. I feel that the magic that he was creating would have been interesting had he spent some time actually laying out how this world worked. Who exactly the Hempstocks were was never explained, which was annoying. What exactly was this magic that they were using? Was it magic? What exactly were the things they were making sure didn’t cross over into our world? Nothing was explained! It’s not like there wasn’t enough room. The book itself was really short, and I feel that not explaining anything really hurt the book.

Honestly, if the book wasn’t as short as it was I probably would not have finished it. I still respect Neil Gaiman since I do love some of his work, but I really disliked this book. I feel that there are more interesting fantasy worlds and magical goings-on than the ones that Gaiman half created in this book. If you’re looking for a good fantasy read, this isn’t it. However, if you really feel the need to read some Gaiman I would suggest Sandman or Coraline.

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