Friday, June 10, 2016

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Title: Neverwhere
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication Date: 9/16/96
Pages: 464
Genre: Fantasy / Fiction
How I Found It: TLC Book Tours
Date Completed: 6/6/16

Summary: Richard Mayhew discovers the world of London Below after stopping to help a young girl in need on the street. He had no idea what he was getting into, but now he can't get back out. 

What I Thought: I know people who have both loved and hated this book. Passionately. In either direction. Now having read it, I totally get it. If magical underworlds and quirky characters are not your things, then you should probably take a pass on this one. However, if Gaiman's original goal of writing a Narnia-like story for adults appeals to you, I imagine you'll be intrigued by Neverwhere.

For me, personally, I landed in the middle. There were things I liked and things I didn't. I loved seeing Gaiman's imagination at work; the colorful cast of characters and the eccentric settings made for an exciting new mental image at every turn. I can only imagine the visual feast a film adaptation would be. Apparently it started as a British mini-series, so maybe I'll need to check that out. The feast for the imagination kept me plenty satiated, which is good since I didn't love the plot. 

Neil Gaiman
I cannot put my figure on exactly what I didn't like. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed the book. It just didn't capture me in the way I was hoping it would. I wasn't hanging on the edge of my seat wondering about the fates of Richard and Door (yeah, that's the girl's name). There were not any characters to whom I gravitated. I liked and disliked different ones, but none grabbed my attention in the earnest, needy way characters sometimes do. I liked the ragtag group's ramshackle journey through the depths of London, but I would have rather spent more time on the why of their adventure. I felt Gaiman offered the big picture reasons (avenging Door's family and getting Richard back to London Above), but I still felt unsettled in those. I was intrigued by learning more about the history of Door's family, how they got to be so influential, and more of the structure behind the whole mysterious world. There are brief mentions of Below existing in other cities as well. I wanted to know more about this mysterious world, its purpose, and its mysteries. I like explanations, not just exhibitions. That's the best I can put it. 

Maybe I just figured it out right there. Typing things out can be so helpful.

All in all, I really did enjoy the book. I loved that this is Gaiman's newly released "preferred" version - a blend of the original UK edition and the revised edition published several years after for US consumption. It was fun to look for spots that may have been included to help US readers acclimate themselves to the landscape of the London. 

*To read other bloggers' thoughts on Neverwhere, please check out the full tour schedule.*

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Maybe
If You Liked This, Try: After Alice / The Night Circus / Seeker
Other Books By Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane / Good Omens

A Reduced Review: A quirky, magical descent into the hidden world of London Below; a fun ride that left me wanting more explanation of how it all came to be.


  1. I usually love Gaiman's book; American Gods, Graveyard Book, and Good Omens. And you're right, Gaiman's characters are mostly well and uniquely built. That's one of the main reasons I like his works.

    I, haven't read Neverwhere yet. Maybe I should give it a try. :)

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful review of this book for the tour.