I probably shouldn't really write a review because listening to a Neil Gaiman book is always a five star experience regardless of the story.
For those of you who desire the in-a-nutshell review, here is the short version: it was amazing!!
For those of you who enjoy details:
First of all, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was extremely well written. Neil Gaiman is a master with words and descriptions: he never blatantly tells you anything. Instead he shows you what he means through decadent description. Second of all, it's a different listening experience when the author himself is reading it to you. You know that it is being read in the right way, the way that the author intended it to be read. Third of all, the story is genius. Personally, I love fantasy, especially the kind that Gaiman weaves in this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the plot. However, sometimes Gaiman crosses the line between "show, don't tell" and "say random things that make no sense and then don't explain them." Fourth, the characters are extremely interesting. Over the book you really grow to love and care for the main characters like Letty and her mother and grandmother. Similarly, the villains are just fascinating!!
All in all, this book was a home run for me and I would definitely listen to it again.
I was assigned this book for an upper level literature class and had no idea what to expect. The story is great and I bought the audio book in addition to the hard copy because I have a long commute. I quickly found out that Neil Gaiman is not only a very talented writer but also terrific at reading. I was mesmerised by his production of this audio book. I recommend to all!
So it's a fairytale told by the adult version of the child hero. It's a lot like Coralline except better. It's some of the best of our modern authorship. The best.
I, at first, was put off by Neil Gaiman's voice, which makes one feel like a man is reading to his children, but got used to it after a bit. The story was engaging until pretty near the end and then it fell flat for me. The epilogue was messy and didn't add anything to tie it together for me... I liked it overall, but didn't love it.
loved it. a beautiful mystical story of life, sacrifice, ancient wisdom, and the thread of time that binds us all to the beginning and together
As an avid Neil Gaiman fan, I now only listen to his books if he is also the narrator. His quirky writing is only amplified and better brought to life by his velvety and rich voice reminiscent of a young Alan Rickman.
Gaiman is a true literary artist, a wordsmith, and this book is honestly one of his best. Every time he sets out to write a book, I believe it is a children's book that is written for adults. Like He Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane evokes childish innocence and a textural beauty that can only be seen through a child's eyes. The struggle of fantasy and reality and the juxtaposition of what imagination is to an adult versus a child is the true artistry here and in most of Gaiman's darker works.
I loved the premise here. The tangled mess of memories and the knowledge of imagination and reality being completely intertwined make this fascinating and haunting. Gaiman doesn't shy away from dark topics and terror. He allows his characters to describe their fear and their shortcomings unabashedly and without apology. It makes them easily relatable.
This book was another that I had trouble walking away from even to go to work! I just loved the story and wanted to hear what came next. I would recommend this to anyone of any age, as long as they are past the point of overactive imagination that leads to nightmares. So for most people, around twelve or so, but for avid readers and artists with their heads in the clouds, twenty two. Or thirty depending...