Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere is another great novel by Neil Gaiman. The whole book is interesting, the world is intriguing and the characters vivid in their strangeness and with a new world so strange and yet familiar how could I not be hooked?

Amazon's Book Description says this about Neverwhere: "Richard Mayhew is a plain man with a good heart -- and an ordinary life that is changed forever on a day he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. From that moment forward he is propelled into a world he never dreamed existed -- a dark subculture flourish in abandoned subway stations and sewer tunnels below the city -- a world far stranger and more dangerous than the only one he has ever known..."

Let's deal with the blazingly obvious first. Gaiman has developed a theme that runs through some of his work. You take a normal guy living his normal life and put him in a magical world and see how it goes.      I don't see this as a negative thing, each main character was very different and I felt an affinity for both of them for different reasons. I will admit I will not be reading Stardust next, but that is mostly because I saw the movie and didn't like it. I don't believe Gaiman should be tarred with a 'one trick pony' brush, he writes too well for that.

This book reminds me of a book I read for the bfbs book club. It goes by the name of The Anubis Gates by Tim Power. Neverwhere reminds me of this book for a few reasons. The search for truth is a main plot line in both and the prevalence of people knowing the underground sewers. The Anubis Gates was the first time I had come across a society of people living underneath a bustling city and so it seems right that I associate Neverwhere's underground London with it. I guess that is why reading about London Below felt familiar. I wanted to know what Gaiman's underground world felt like, compared to the one created by Power.

The setting of Neverwhere is mostly in London Below. Gaiman paints a pretty engaging picture of who the society is made up of and gives us a decently detailed look into a few of its prominent figures. I really enjoyed reading about the man with his birds, he was such a cool guy. Gaiman gives the reader glimpses into the social structure and make up of London Below. The rat people where interesting as were the sewer people and the floating market was a both a challenge and a treat to imagine.

Final say, the book is really good. It didn't leave me with the same awe as American Gods. That might have something to do with it being the first of Gaiman's books I have read, or that I felt Neverwhere was similar to The Anubis Gates in a few key ways. Regardless, a really interesting read!

3.5 out of 5 doors randomly opening.

Oh and btw this is ALSO a tv series, although already completed. Crazy I know right!

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