Neverwhere (London Below, The World of Neverwhere)
by Neil Gaiman
Under the streets of London, there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armor and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.
Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.
5 of 5 Stars
I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to pick up a Neil Gaiman novel. Perhaps all the popularity and hype kept me away for a while. I saw this book on my libraries website and decided to pick it up and I’m so glad that I did. It’s a bit of a slow start but it quickly builds. I didn’t like Richard Mayhew all that much at first. He’s awkward, stubborn, and slightly off-putting at times. As the story progressed he started to remind me a lot of the main character in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which I absolutely adore. I’m not sure if this is the reason he worked himself into my heart or not. I soon realized I liked him quite a bit, even when he had me rolling my eyes. As much as I grew to like Richard in an odd and often frustrated kind of way, I was instantly drawn to the other characters.
Door is magical, something about her makes you want to know her more. She’s been through quite a lot and always seems to be able to push herself a bit further. The Marquis is someone I could never really trust my feelings about. I’d become convinced he was good only to have something happen that would have me doubting my previous assumptions. There are also a plethora of other characters sprinkled throughout the story who are both wonderful and amazingly awful.
As much as I love this book I have to agree with some of the critics about it. Is Richard really a necessary character? Is this just a strange retelling of another book centered in the depths of space? (Do you have your towel handy? Also, don’t panic!). Perhaps because I love Douglas Adams as much as I do, I’m able to really enjoy this book. I don’t mind the fact that Richard is an almost useless character only seeming to do productive things on accident. I also admit I didn’t read into it enough to find anything sexist within the pages and even after reading a few of those reviews, I don’t feel the need to tear it apart in that way.
Overall, if you enjoy Douglas Adams I think you’ll adore this book. If you aren’t sure I recommend you give it a try to test the waters. If, however, you are one of the many that can’t stand that style of writing, this probably isn’t the book for you. For myself, I’m officially a Neil Gaiman fan and I’m looking forward to reading more of his books.
Have you read any of his other novels? Give me some recommendations in the comments below!