I'll make it not a secret that I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan. From the Sandman comics to one of my favorite books ever, American Gods, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed a great bulk of his imaginative works. With that in mind I will try not to let my admiration of this author get in the way of my review.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about a boy (though a man at the very beginning of the book the book deals with his childhood. So I will refer to him as a boy.) who is never named in the story. I personally think the fact the boy is never named works well for the story given the style which I’ll touch upon later in this review.
The boy in the story becomes involved with an odd and mysterious family comprised of three women. Considering that the women were loosely were an old woman, a middle age woman, and a child, I wonder if Gaiman was trying to evoke the imaginary of the triple goddess archetype. It would certainly be fitting.
In a fairytale like quality the boy finds himself dealing with forces beyond his knowledge yet in a way is so familiar to any child who has had nightmares or complained of something living under his bed. And the only way to rid him of this dark intrusion is to get help from the Hempstock family.
This story reminds me slightly of a preview books of Gaiman's called Coraline. Not so much in plot but in style. Like Coraline, this book has a fairy tale style. It feels like something that you would read to a small child. And like in a fairy tale, more so in their original, grim form, there is that seed of warning and darkness within the story.
For rest of review and rating, please check out Musekicker's Reading Place.