This book shows why fairy tales will never grow old. This was actually my first encounter with Gaiman in written form, but I have watched (and geeked out over) his masterful Dr. Who episode “The Doctor’s Wife”, which I think may be the best hour of television of all time.
This short novel shows Gaiman’s ability to make the mundane absolutely terrifying. The story centers around a boy who has an encounter with a horrific creature that threatens to destroy his entire world. But the creature looks like an attractive young lady, and no one believes the moody, dreamy boy who lives too much in a world of books anyway.
He gets help from a young girl who may or may not be a witch, but his involving her may have unexpected consequences for him, for her, and for their families.
As good as Gaiman is at ratcheting up the tension, the reason I really like this book is a haunting and beautiful ode to childhood memory that was the saddest, most beautiful ending that I had encountered since I first read the Lord of the Rings. It’s worth reading the whole thing, only to experience the wistful beauty of the end.