Flashback Friday Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Also by this author: InterWorld
Published by HarperCollins on March 17, 2009
Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinarylife, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.
Neverwhere was my first book by Gaiman and honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. What I found was a an atmospheric and magical exploration of the bowels of London. That may sound a bit odd, but really, I think it may be suiting because the book does have an odd edge to it (in a good way).
The characters in this book were great. They don’t have complicated back stories, but given the story and the way its told, I think that it works very well because that leaves them seeming a bit more mysterious. Richard in the beginning of the book is passive and Richard’s girlfriend is shallow and superficial and treats Richard like a doormat. And of course, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were just as disgusting as Richard’s girlfriend was shallow. Door is a wonderfully mysterious girl that turns out to be Richard’s ticket to falling through the cracks and discovering the strange world of London Below.
“You’ve a good heart,” she told him. “Sometimes that’s enough to see you safe wherever you go.” Then she shook her head. “ But mostly, it’s not.”
And then the Marquis, who is best described but just quoting the book:
The marquis de Carabas was not a good man, and he knew himself well enough to be perfectly certain that he was not a brave man. He had long since decided that the world, Above or Below, was a place that wished to be deceived, and, to this end, he had named himself from a lie in a fairy tale, and created himself— his clothes, his manner, his carriage— as a grand joke.
The whole story was different and slightly strange. Things and people are just never quite what you expect them to be. I did run into a time where I just wasnt as in to the book for some reason, but got over it and continued on. That may not have been a fault of the book, maybe it was just me or some funky mood, but it was not engrossing enough to prevent my interest from wavering a bit.
Unfortunately, I felt like the ending, while quite good, was also predictable. That alone doesn’t mean it’s a bad ending, especially since I can’t think of any other ending I would enjoy more, it just made it very anti-climatic for me.
Despite any complaints, I really enjoyed Neverwhere. Gaiman is able to create this dreamy magical quality to all of his stories, and this is no exception. I also enjoyed Richard’s transformation as he explorations Below helped shape him into a better version of himself.