By: Nicholas Switalski
If you are a fan of Neil Gamin you will enjoy
The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was a highly enjoyable modern take on a classic fairy tale story, with everything from immortal cats and transforming magic worms to an unkillable immortal 11-year-old. On top of that all of this is viewed through a little kid’s eyes which makes everything a more fantastical and horrifying experience, especially the way he views adults with the utmost reverence.
My favorite part was showing how powerful and scary Ursula Monkton, the primary antagonist is. When she finally stops trying to be friendly around our main character and lets her power show, it is truly something special. Even more so with her main goal of giving everyone what they want. That makes her role of a twisted Mary Poppins even more unsettling.
My least favorite part is how little they explore the more fantastical parts. As always with a Neil Gaiman book, he always leaves a lot unexplained. Most of the time that is fine because normally his books are a longer length allowing for more depth.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane only being 178 pages long has left me with a whole lot of unanswered questions and also a longing for more of the story. Some of the fantasy elements feel less fantastical and weirder. For some reason the magic cats aren’t born, instead they are pulled from the ground and they never really explain it past that. Knowing how Neil Gaiman likes to work in symbolism and myths/legends I am sure that this is either a reference or he is trying to symbolize something. It’s not like symbolism or using a myth would be too hard for this book either. After all, the three main helpers seem to be based on ‘’The Triple Goddess’’ (The Maiden, The Mother, and The Crone). The book also doesn’t fully explain why the opal miner’s death is causing the events of the book.
With the specific issues I pointed out I feel as though it could have easily been fixed with a few changes here and there. But to explore more of the fantastical world, I feel that would require the book to be much longer. I would give this book an 8/10. It was extremely enjoyable but I wanted more.