I am almost tempted to call this “Neil Gaiman Lite” and not just because of the length. The writing was up to Neil's great descriptive standards but the story was not in places. It really felt like it was lacking his usual depth and was aimed at a young adult audience and not the adult one that was touted.All that side I still devoured this book. I must admit Neil can make the horrific seem almost normal in his worlds and the sense of whimsy is just enough to offset the horror. The main character's love of books will probably reach out and touch almost everyone that reads this that felt the same as a child. The Hempstocks were both scary in their power and symbolic as the three ages but they were also tempered with love and compassion. I would have liked to see the mother and grandmother as more than just caricatures but he made up for that in Lettie.This is what Neil does best and is why his portrayal of the deepest fears and highest hopes of childhood always resonate with me. If it weren't for some of the things lacking this would get a solid five but I doubt I'll reread this as I already have done twice with American Gods.