Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ah, where to start? I'm of two minds about this book. As I progressed through it, I thought, "Yes, I get it. This book is good. I'm enjoying the fantasy world of London Below. Three solid stars." But now, I find myself thinking about the book at odd moments, and I think I will have to upgrade my rating to 4 stars. It's sticking with me. The world building in Neverwhere is top notch.
Average Joe Richard Mayhew, through an act of kindness to a young lady in peril, ends up in London Below, a magical, scary place where the "other" people of London--some different, some with powers, some on the outskirts of regular society--live their lives unknown and unseen by those in London Above. Richard finds himself on a quest of sorts as he trudges the road back to his old life. You may find Richard annoying and weak, like I did. He kept me from rating this book 5 stars, to be sure. But as you explore more of the story, you may find yourself pulled into the various characters who inhabit London Below. You may find yourself attached to them by the end, flaws and all.
Did I mention how much I loved the characters of London Below? My personal favorite was the Marquis de Carabas. He was multi-faceted, complicated, and clever. I. Loved. Him. While I was lukewarm on the Lady Door at the beginning, I found myself fascinated by her background and cheering her on by the end. And Hunter? Suffice to say, she surprised me and I understood her journey more than I expected.
Enjoy the world of the floating markets. Enjoy the rat people. Enjoy Croup and Vandemar, the duo you love to hate. Absorb yourself in this amazing world, and simply enjoy.
*Disclaimer: I listened to the "Author's Preferred Text" edition on audio, read by Neil Gaiman himself. I have no idea what was added or subtracted to this edition, but I am glad I listened to him read his own words in his own voice. It added something to it for me.
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