Sunday, December 4, 2011

Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Genre: urban fantasy
Pages: 370 (paperback)
Published: 1996 by Avon
Recommended for: fellow Neil Gaiman fans; enthusiasts of a good urban fantasy

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Under the streets of London, there's a world most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour 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.

My Take:

This review comes with a inherent disclaimer, that disclaimer being that I personally consider Neil Gaiman to be something of a god in the world of fantasy literature.  The thing about Gaiman's books which captivated me when I was younger, and which still does now, is that as a writer he has the rare ability to make a reader feel like they've slipped through the cracks of the mundane, every-day world and found the extraordinary in the most unremarkable places along with his characters.  Urban fantasy can be fantastic-- ie American Gods, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Magicians, any of Holly Black's books-- , but it can also come across as flat and totally unbelievable.  Neil Gaiman's books have a brand of witty dark humor which makes them really enjoyable to read, every last one of them, and his characters are unique and intriguing, even though I think most of his novels are overall very plot-driven.

Neverwhere isn't my favorite Gaiman book, but I did really enjoy it and found myself thinking back to the storyline and the characters long after I turned the last page.  All in all, the mostly unpredictable plot twists and mad-cap characters-- the inhabitants of London Below, an underground London which is as dangerous as it is fascinating-- are what made reading it such a wonderful experience.  I've always wanted to visit London, but if I do it's now going to be very tempting to chat with a few homeless people or random mice in hopes of their telling me a way into London Below... maybe I'll even try drawing a door on an alley wall.  For anyone who's a fan of urban fantasy, Neil Gaiman, or fantasy in general, I'd definitely recommend Neverwhere

As far as my sparse (to say the least) posting schedule goes, I'm really hoping to have a new home computer and get a few opportunities to post and visit blogs over Christmas break.  Merry Christmas to my readers in advance, if any of you are still visiting occasionally! 


christina said...

I love Gaiman's tween books and ADORE his picture books but still have to get into his adult novels. I know that everyone found American Gods to be topnotch, but I was only meh about it.

Allison said...

I've been meaning to read Neil Gaiman ever since I watched the movie Stardust and really enjoyed it. I've also watched some of his interviews and can connect with his sense of humour. What would you say IS your favourite Gaiman book?

Geek Banter

S. L. Hennessy said...

I love Neverwhere, and Neil Gaiman. I agree - he's a writing god!

Aylee said...

I've never read a Neil Gaiman book, for some unknown reason, even though I have a feeling I would really enjoy his writing. Especially after reading about what you have to say about him!

Kat said...

@Allison-- Hmm... I'm going to have to go with American Gods, overall. It's just the most epic book, in my opinion. :) I also loved Stardust-- it was a really good film adaptation, stayed true to the humor and everything.

Kat said...

@Christina-- I love his picture books, too, especially the Wolves in the Walls.

@Aylee-- Ooh, I think you would enjoy his books, especially since we seem to have similar tastes a lot of times. Stopping by your blog today, and thanks for visiting!!

Priscilla TheGreat said...

This author sounds great. I'll have to check him out.

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