This was my first Neil Gaiman read, and now I have to say, I see what all the fuss is about! Neil Gaiman is an excellent author, and I definitely want to check out his other works.
This was such a uniquely imaginative story. Honestly, it seems like so many authors are writing the same books these days but with different characters in different places. After having read Coraline, I feel it's safe to say that I have never read anything like it before. It was deliciously creepy, but it had that old-time fairytale feel to it. Coraline begs to be read aloud, like a tale you would tell sitting around a campfire on a spooky night.
I really liked Coraline as a character, too. She was just an average kid. Sure, she was intelligent, but she didn't have any unusual superpowers or anything. You couldn't put a label on her, and I liked that. What kid hasn't become bored with their life or their parents or their house? What kid hasn't wished for an "other" life? Unfortunately for Coraline, she learned the hard way that you have to be careful for what you wish for. Her "other" mother was downright scary. There was something deeply unsettling about those button eyes and how desperately she wanted Coraline to stay with her forever. I adored the other characters, too. They were so quirky, and that's what makes them unforgettable.
Neil Gaiman's writing is just incredible. I see why he is so popular. In the case of Coraline, he's written a children's tale, but at no point did I ever feel like he was writing "down" to children. This tale is just as enjoyable as an adult as it would be for a kid. Considering all of the times I've read a book as an adult and thought, "Eh, this was okay, but I would have liked it better as a kid," I'm glad Neil Gaiman didn't disappoint.
This was full of excellent quotes, as well. My favorite was when Coraline says: "You really don't understand, do you? I don't want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted? Just like that, and it didn't mean anything. What then?"
Overall, I thought this was a great read, and I'm anxious to read his other books.