Top positive review
Gripping, Exciting, and Absolutely Beautiful
Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2018
This review originally appeared on herestohappyendings.com.
I really loved the original Coraline - I'll admit that I saw the movie before I read the book, but the movie prompted me to buy and read it, and I guess over the years I have read Coraline so many times it's got to be in the double digits by now.
I also didn't realize that a graphic novel adaptation of Coraline existed. I'm not sure how I didn't know this, but I didn't. I managed to come across it on Goodreads one day when I was browsing graphic novels, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. I purchased it the same day, and waited rather impatiently for my two day shipping from Amazon Prime. When it finally got here, I read it all in one sitting. And then I read it again.
"Spiderwebs only have to be big enough to catch flies."
Coraline and her family buy part of a big house and move in - in the flat below live two elderly women who used to be actresses, and in the flat above lives an elderly man who is busy training a mouse circus. The flat next to theirs is still empty.
Coraline feels bored often - there aren't any other children and school didn't start up yet, so she finds herself wandering the house and the ground, exploring and entertaining herself. When she comes across an old door in her flat, she wonders where it goes, only to find out that it is old and bricked up, going nowhere.
Except one day, the door isn't bricked up, and Coraline ventures through - only to find the world quite like her own, but incredibly different. Her parents aren't there, but her Other Mother and Other Father are - and everyone has button eyes. Things seem better there at first, but then Coraline realizes that it's a true nightmare, and she tries to escape from the Other Mother's clutches, only to find that she has kidnapped Coraline's real parents in an effort to make Coraline stay with her forever.
Coraline fights for her parents back, because she wants to leave this place with the Other Mother and go back home.
The novel Coraline is incredibly different from the movie, and I honestly thought it was much creepier. The graphic novel? Even creepier. The way that the illustrator, P. Craig Russell, has depicted the Other Mother and Other Father, as well as the decaying "other world" that the Other Mother created, is, to be frank, downright terrifying. But I loved it (as did my daughters, who frequently borrow this book).
The story is fully laid out, illustrated in a charming and colorful way - it's such a great graphic novel adaptation of one of my all time favorite reads. The illustrations depicting the Other Mother are hair-raising; the way the amount of detail is put into every character in the book is amazing. The story itself is not only gripping, but it's the original story, not just a random adaptation. I love that so much - my favorite quotes and parts of the book were all there.
I bought the hardcover format of this book (it's also available in ebook and paperback), and it's so gorgeous. There is a dust jacket with the book, and the cover under the dust jacket features the same art. The inside is just as beautiful, the glossy pages really add to the reading experience.
I can't get over how beautiful and detailed the artwork is and how it really complimented the story. I wasn't sure what it would be like, and if it would ruin the way I feel the characters look when I read the original Coraline, but if anything, I believe that it only enhanced the way I saw everything in the book when I read it. It was definitely a great companion to the novel.
Here's a bonus: if you haven't read Coraline or saw the movie (which doesn't do the original book or this graphic novel justice, in my opinion, because it's so different), you will definitely be fine with picking this one up, because it follows the novel perfectly. It's essentially the Coraline novel, only fully illustrated.
My older daughter, who is about to turn nine, is a bit of a reluctant reader, and I'm trying to get her to read new books. She loves anything with pictures, and she is obsessed with Coraline after seeing the movie, so she loves this book, as well. I have to recommend picking this up if you're a fan of Coraline, or even if you've never heard of the book before and want something that will add a bit of adventure to your bookshelf.