Why I Read It: Read Along (hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings)
Where I Got It: Own it.
Who I Recommend This To: Those into urban fantasy, coming into your own power stories.
Publisher: William Morrow & Company (1997)
Length: 336 pages.
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 Richard’s life and think it is a bit of a joke. He’s 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. Against Jess’s wishes, Richard helps Lady Door, which leads to him loosing his London life. No one recognizes him at the office, his girlfriend breaks off the engagement, and his apartment is being rented out from under his butt, literally. He must seek out Lady Door in London Below, a twisted alternate to the London he knows. This is where Richard starts learning some hard lessons and developing some survival skills. Lady Door does her best to keep him alive. Together with the Marquis de Carabas and Hunter they make a journey to find the answers to why Door’s family was killed and who ordered it. Of course they are plagued by the nefarious duo Vandemar and Croup, villains who seem to be impervious to pain and injury.
Neverwhere isn’t 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 reader’s head; hence, my desire to see another book set in this world.
What I Liked: Hunter is a magnificent warrior with some of the best lines in the book; the golden toad; the underlying premise that all you wish for might not be what you really want.
What I Disliked: So many left over questions; there is a scene where a main character takes out a wild animal too easily.