This was the first book or story I've read by Neil Gaiman, and I found it a pretty interesting read. It had the air of a wild, trippy hallucination. One of the blurbs at the front of the book compared it to dark Alice in Wonderland which I think is a pretty accurate comparison.
So why didn't I rate it a full 10 if I liked it so much? Well, though I can't say there's anything I really disliked about it, I couldn't rate it up there with my all-time faves simply because none of the main characters really endeared themselves to me in the same way the characters from my other favorite novels have. Perhaps it was the inability to fully relate and sympathize with any particular character or their situation. It was probably on purpose anyway that the story was written with a certain level of detatchment, which I believe adds to the whole surreal-ness of it.
I definitely plan to read more of Gaiman's work in the future.
London is a crazy city. Look underneath the no-nonsense streets full of busy shops and offices, and there you will find the pulsing blood vessels of the city, the Underground. Neverwhere is a novel with a plot based on London's filthy, dark and intriguing passageways mostly designed to transport people; Neil Gaiman weaves it into a fascinating story about a young man's descent into a mysterious and perilous other world. This story is a lot like Clive Barker's short story, "The Midnight Meat Train" that happens in the New York City's subway system, except this is classic Neil Gaiman, which means that it is a lot more sweeter with much more fantastic and mystical qualities.
Richard Mayhew is a decent sort of fellow, with a respectable job albeit under a terrible boss, with a girlfriend from a respectable background. He doesn't realize that he ought to be unhappy with his life, but goes with the flow nonetheless. When a young girl appears out of nowhere, bloodied, and collapses in front of him on the street, he decides to help her out despite the disapproval from his social climbing girlfriend. The young girl appears to be a derelict, but she has these special powers, and she is being hunted down by these nasty assasins from the underworld. Thus begins Richard's spiral into the mad, mad world of the Underground.
This book is definitely recommended. Also check out his other books, "American Gods" and "Anansi Boys," and if you can't get enough of it, his short story collection "smoke and Mirrors" features some of the characters from Gaiman's other books.
I have read Neverwhere a few times over the past dozen years and each time I wish Neil Gaiman would write a sequel, or prequel, or additional book set in this world. This book still has so many mysteries to explore. Neverwhere, my first Gaiman book, showed me a different kind of fantasy, one without princess-gobbling dragons, puns, elderly wizards, or lengthy sword fights. It is urban fantasy, but more than that, it is about Richard finding his place in the world. He hungers for a top job at the office, to impress his girlfriend Jess, and be a very popular guy. But none of that is happening. In fact, one might look at Richards life and think it is a bit of a joke. Hes a paper-pusher, his friend makes snide jokes at his expense, and his girlfriend has his life planned out to meet her exacting standards. Poor dude. But then one evening a bloody girl ends up on the sidewalk in front of him, begging for help. Lady Door is in desperate need of assistance. Her family has been massacred by unknown assailants for mysterious reasons.
Neverwhere isnt my favorite Gaiman book and I would even say it is not his best work. But it has a warm place in my heart and it is worth a reread every few years. The character development only goes so far and then plot drives the rest of the book. The story, while wrapped up for the immediate needs, leaves several questions churning in the readers head; hence, my desire to see another book set in this world.
This book was everything that I have come to expect from Neil Gaiman: witty, clever, very creative, a little creepy, rather dark, and an overall great read.
"Neverwhere" was a fascinating glimpse into the previously unseen world of an alternative and underground London. There was so much to like about this book! I reveled in the banter between the pair of primary hitmen. I was just as swept away as the main character, Richard, when the humors and horrors of this brand new world were steadily revealed.
And while I enjoyed this book immensely, I did have a few compalints. This new world was creative and intriguing, but it was also incomplete. I wanted to know more! Some of the characters were only partially developed. In a sense this book would have been better written as a trilogy in order to fully understand the history and motivations of all of the characters. There was a lot in the book that you had to simply take on faith. There was very little explanation for many of the "why's" and "how's" for characters and events, and in that sense I felt the book was a little lacking.
But these are complaints only of someone who liked the book so much that I was truly disappointed that there wasn't more to read. Overall, it is still a rewarding read and one that is well worth recommending.