Click HERE for my Lunch.com review or read the same below the cut.
Coraline sounds like it should be a very good story; after all, I've heard nothing but praise for author Neil Gaiman, and the recent movie has also gathered positive reviews. And the plot itself sounds interesting: Coraline, bored after moving into her new home with parents that ignore her and trying to escape her batty neighbors discovers that one of the doors in her house, which usually opens to a solid brick wall, actually leads to another world. Here, her Other Mother and Other Father give her the attention and love she's been craving...but something's not right. Coraline soon finds that the Others don't want to let her go, and she's not the only one who's in trouble.
First off, the story is short: only 162 pages in hardcover. So it's hard to get worked up about the exciting events of the book when you know that it's got to end pretty soon. And because it's so short, it feels like there's no time for anything but a very superficial story. A lot could be done to explore and explain the Other world and even the characters, but nothing is. We're introduced to something, then the story moves on. We never find out exactly what the Others are, how the world came to be, or anything else. It simply is.
Coraline is also a pretty boring character. She's an inventive young girl, but nothing particularly stands out about her and if you find yourself rooting for her, it's only because the only other characters of note are evil. Her parents are the typical absent-mindedly-ignoring-their-child type that you can find in half the books with child protagonists out there.
How this book became a bestseller, I don't know unless it was solely because of its author's name power (I have read nothing else by Gaiman, but I have heard nothing but praise for his books so this is entirely possible). When the most interesting thing about a book is the name of its main character, it's probably worth a pass.