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October has been a slow month in terms of books for me but I was able to get in a couple of Halloween reads. I don’t particularly like really scary books because I scare pretty easily and then I can’t sleep and then it’s bad for everyone so I went with a middle-grade book and one that appeared to be more on the funny side. Both of these had their moments of scary but neither got out of control. If anything, Eat, Brains, Love was more on the creepy side and Coraline was just kind of weird. Still, I’m glad I read both of them. You can see what I thought of each down below. If you’ve read them, I’d love to hear what you thought of them too!
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart:
My initial thoughts upon finishing this book were split between love and hate. I loved the interesting and different take on zombies and that it had more depth and emotion than I had originally thought it would. It had a sort of Warm Bodies feel to it in that sense. I also liked the characters. Both POVs offered unique personalities as character types we don’t see often, one as a teenage slacker turned new zombie trying to understand his new situation and the other as a psychic teenager working for the secret government agency that hunts zombies. I also liked that they offered two sides to the same story. They had an interesting connection and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen when they finally met up. But there were other aspects that I really didn’t like. For one, the ending. I hated it. The book felt incomplete. I really don’t understand why it ended the way it did. Had the book been a series, it would have ended in a perfect place. But since I can’t find any information about this one being a series anywhere, I can only assume that it is a standalone and that the book’s ending was completely cut short. There are so many loose ends hanging out there. I don’t like that. Also, I really hated the Alastair character. I understand that we aren’t suppose to like him, but he was super creepy. The book was light and silly sometimes and then Alastair would show up and suddenly it felt like Kevin Spacey walked into the room and was just staring at me. I want a book to decide if it’s going to be creepy and weird or fun and unique. But maybe that’s just me.
Overall, this book ended up being okay for me. Great on some fronts, really bad on others. If you don’t mind loose ends and like your villains extra creepy, you might love this book. If you want a not-too-scary book with zombies to read for Halloween, this could be it as well. Just one little tip for you, don’t eat while you read this one. It gets gory.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman:
Coraline is a fairly creepy, easy to read middle grade book by Neil Gaiman. Coraline is having a not great day and goes off in search of some adventure. What she finds is a creepy woman living in an abandoned flat next to hers. Next thing she knows the woman wants Coraline as her own child and kidnaps her parents. Coraline goes in search of them and must find their soles, along with a few others, that the woman has taken over the years. If she can’t do it, she promises to live with this woman for the rest of her life. If she finds them, she gets her life and her parents back. The journey Coraline goes on is sometimes creepy and sometimes random and just weird. A few parts jump around and are hard to follow. I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the characters. Coraline was fine, especially considering she is a child, but she does get a little whiny. For the most part she tries to be brave and do her best. And in the end she learns a couple of good lessons about appreciating the things you have and thinking about others. Her parents are terrible. Not mean or abusive, just completely unconcerned with her. The other mother is creepy enough. The best characters were the pair of women downstairs and the man in the attic. Also, the style of writing wasn’t my favorite. I know this is a book for kids but the writing was very simple. It wasn’t scary for me as an adult, but I can see how a younger reader could get very wrapped up in the story and find it exceptionally creepy. I would recommend Coraline to kids who want a scary book but I would think twice before handing it to a more sensitive child.
Coraline certainly wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read but it was a quick, easy read especially appropriate for October! I much preferred Gaiman’s Fortunately, the Milk to Coraline, but I would still recommend both and am interested in checking out some of Gaiman’s other books!