Neverwhere By Neil Gaiman
I am ashamed to say that until this year, I had never read a Neil Gaiman book. It wasn’t through choice, particularly. I simply made the (foolish) assumption that his books were more towards the horror end of the novel spectrum, and I’m too much of a wuss to read horror.
Anyway, in December 2018, my friend started a book club, and the book chosen, off the back of several recommendations, was Neverwhere. I bought a copy of the book in hardback format, and got the illustrated version because… Chris Riddell… need I say more… 🙂
And so I began. The story got moving almost instantly, and after a more than momentary urge to punch Jessica in the face, I was happy to see Door appear. Her arrival on the scene was the true signal of the start of the story, and once meeting her, there was no going back.
I tried to limit myself to only reading a chapter a day, because I didn’t want it to be over too quickly, but on more than one occasion, I found myself reading two or three chapters.
The plot is amazingly simple and complex all at the same time, with the characters pulled along on a journey, which changes them completely; particularly Richard, who turns from doormat to hero in the course of the book.
The characters are all incredibly believable. Even Croup and Vandemar, who, let’s face it, are despicable human beings. I found that when I was reading, they were not words on a page, but hitmen who were lurking around every corner, and when the Door and her party happened across them, I, too, jumped as they did.
I have always been fascinated with the idea of cities being built above cities, and this idea immediately appealed to me, but Gaiman’s approach to this, where place names became literal, and where people from one place, be it ‘above’ or ‘below’ could not actually exist in the other, was a completely different concept, which gripped me straight away.
I loved the fact that Richard, having gone back to his old life, finds that he is no longer satisfied, and that he must find a way back to London Below (after telling Jessica exactly where to go, of course!) That was worth the worry that he was just going to go back to his old life, which for me would have been an altogether, far more disappointing ending.
In all, I found the world, locations, and characters absolutely believable, and whenever I opened the pages, found myself being transported to the world of the characters, which is what I look for in a book.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in dark fantasy, and a good bit of escapism. I loved it, and am looking forward to diving into Gaiman’s other works.
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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.