Mr. Gaiman, you've done it again- made me completely fall in love with a book you've written.
I'm a rather large fan of Gaiman's work, ever since I read American Gods. But the second novel of his I read, Stardust, really left me disappointed. This was the last book of his that I owned, and I decided it was time to give it a try. I had it on my kindle and then, while on vacation, picked up a physical copy, which I find to be a much more pleasant read. And it blew me out of the water. I don't think it's superior to American Gods or anything, but it reminded me why I loved his books in the first place. Neverwhere is a defining piece of urban fantasy and something everyone should read.
The story is rather simple- Richard Mayhew, a man with an average (and boring) life, finds a girl bleeding on the street and takes her home so she can rest up and get better. This girl, Door, is the only surviving member of her family, and a denizen of the world under London. Her presence causes Richard to fall into the cracks of life, and with Door, the Marquis de Carabas, and a bodyguard named Hunter, he goes on a quest to find the Angel Islington and return to his life before.
I'm going to keep this review as brief as possible, since Neverwhere is a book where it's best to go into it not knowing much at all.
My favorite character was the Marquis de Carabas, though I came to love all our protagonists a great deal. They're all fully-fledged three-dimensional characters with good and bad sides, and things to love and things to complain about. And, while they do grow over the course of the novel, it's not the main focal point of the story.
The imagery and world was. It was well thought through and has me actually believing that such a place exists, beneath every great city of the world. I can see why people claim this is a tier of urban fantasy- it very much is.
Neil Gaimain's writing is as amazing as ever. When you're done reading his writing has seeped into you so deeply you can't help thinking in his own magical verse- or at least a facsimile of it. If you haven't given one of his books a try, you really should. This is the perfect place to start with his books, too. To add Neverwhere to your goodreads, click here.
I also had the pleasure of listening to the radio play adaptation. The only thing I have to say is this: The cast is pure perfection. I've already recommended it to a bajillion people, and now I recommend it to you, reader. Listen to this before you read the book. Or after. Or during. Or without the book. Just... just listen.