Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Gaiman is one of my favorite authors working. Not only does he really know how to transform setting and play with myth, but he is highly allusive and terrifying at times. Not to mention superbly beautiful. Gaiman is a master of fantasy and I haven't read a single thing of his that I did not love.
However, Neverwhere was on one of the more middle of the road efforts he has produced. This does not mean that I do not absolutely adore this novel. The way it plays with the setting of London and its strange underground is highly interesting.
In Urban Fantasy a secret underground is a popular choice to establish the magical. This makes sense. We all like to imagine there is something magical going on somewhere and that if only we could reach it our lives would be enriched.
Gaiman takes that cliche and uses it. However, the Underground in Neverwhere is more a place to be weary of than it is to strive to join. It is filled with magic and crime and its own very unique set of ritual. To intrude upon it, like some big ignorant beast, would be tantamount to singing your own death warrant.
The characters too are interesting. We have Richard Mayhew, the every man being sucked into a world beyond his imagining that must adapt or die. We have the Lady Door, who is seeking out the truth behind the tragedy that has befallen her. We have, and this is perhaps the best character, Marquis de Carabas, the stranger, the rouge, the mystery.
These characters, of course, work on cliches that Gaiman is only too willing to turn on its head.
However, it did not feel as though he succeeded here. Nor did it feel that this world was as horrifying as some of his other, or as strange. That is not to say that it doesn't feel like a Gaiman novel, simply that it is a little more polished than some of his other works.
Regardless, this is not a bad novel. In fact, it is one of the strongest Urban Fantasy novels I've had the pleasure to read. But if you want a good start with Gaiman's work, I suggest maybe start elsewhere, like the one on this list ( http://thesmokingpenandpad.blogspot.c...).
View all my reviews or by the book here Neverwhere: A Novel
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