When I think of Urban fantasies this is now the first book that will pop into my head Neil built this incredible world below London, that weaved in and out of our reality seamlessly I think he benefited from calling on existing infrastructures like the London Underground to give a sort of map, but he worked it into the story beautifully There were no info dumps, everything was concise and hung tight to the plot.
It also benefited having chapters follow different characters like the Marquis and the cutthroats Croup and Vandemar because I saw how vast London Below was and learned certain rules of bartering I probably wouldn t have learned without those chapters The story is plot driven, following the quest of Door, and Richard tags along once he is accidentally brought into this world Richard starts as a fly on the wall for the reader to see London Below but as the story unfolds he becomes an active participant in the quest.
That s why the story is never boring It s an active story The team is never waiting for their quest to find them they re actively seeking answers and all their accomplishments are earned My final note might give away the ending I m sensitive to giving away spoilers so if it bothers you stop reading here.
By the end of the book, we become Richard trying to open a door to London Below We want to re enter too.
Richard Mayhew had a perfectly ordinary life, thank you very much.
He had a job that he didn t quite hate, a fairly decent apartment and a lovely fiancee despite what his friends thought One night, he and his fiance stumble upon a broken, bleeding girl The strangest thing His fiance couldn t quite see the girl or like once she noticed the bleeding girl, his fiance would just as quickly un notice her.
Shrugging that off, Richard takes the girl back to his apartment at her insistence and tends to her wounds She leaves in the company of a marquis for the Under London A few short days later, much to his horror, people start to react to Richard the same way Their glances slide off him, they cannot hold conversations it s like he has disappeared When his landlord shows Richard s apartment to a prospective buyer with Richard still in there Richard knows that he has to go to the Under London as well Door the injured girl from before takes pity on Richard and allows him to join her crew though much to his dismay, this new world is filled with sewer people, terrifying women and the worst possible creatures and things I want to go home Then he mentally underlined the last sentence three times, rewrote it in huge letters in red ink, and circled it before putting a number of exclamation marks next to it in his mental margin.
I really enjoyed how much of a reluctant adventurer our main character is Finally, a character who reacts the way I would on a quest That being said, there were so many intriguing side characters that it s almost disappointing to follow the only normal human I would have loved to hear this story from the perspective of Door or the marquis Gaiman does a fantastic job of weaving in fantasy elements into his novel equal amounts of horror and delight I was absolutely fascinated How does he even come up with such ideas I mean, maybe I am crazy I mean, maybe But if this is all there is, then I don t want to be sane.
Audiobook CommentsRead by the author which is always a plus, especially when done by Neil Gaiman He always reads so well I swear, this man could read anything and I d give it a listen The 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge A book that is also a stage play or musicalAside Door s whole family has the special ability to open doors at any time, anywhereand what does her dad name her Door Are you serious Blog Instagram Twitter Under The Streets Of London There S A Place Most People Could Never Even Dream Of A City Of Monsters And Saints, Murderers And Angels, Knights In Armour And Pale Girls In Black Velvet This Is The City Of The People Who Have Fallen Between The CracksRichard Mayhew, A Young Businessman, Is Going To Find Out Than Enough About This Other London A Single Act Of Kindness Catapults Him Out Of His Workday Existence And Into A World That Is At Once Eerily Familiar And Utterly Bizarre And A Strange Destiny Awaits Him Down Here, Beneath His Native City Neverwhere A 80% Very Good NotesWherein the hero twice and villain share the same desire I first started reading this book and honestly wanted to just chuck it in the bin I said very mean things about the protagonist under my breath.
Surely, I said, a Protagonist means that they are pro and totally into furthering the story Surely, Protagonist is the similar to Proactive and Productive.
I was wrong The word Protagonist, in its basic form is not similar to proactive It simply, from the Greek plays, means the principle character or the first speaking character.
However, I maintain that the kind of protagonist that most people want to read about is one that actually bloody does something History Language lesson over.
Neverwhere is a book that TRIES to be clever and magical In many senses it utterly manages to be magical and creative and fun It fails, however, to be clever There are so many lines in this book intending to be dry wit and just come off dry stupid Allow an example There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr Coup and Mr Vandemar apart first, Mr Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr Croup second, Mr Croup has eyes of a faded, china blue while Mr Vandemar s eyes are brown third, while Mr Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr Croup has no obvious jewellery fourth, Mr Croup likes words, while Mr Vandemar is always hungry Also, they look nothing at all alike.
Oh I see what you did there Kat laughs, slapping her knee with her hand in amusement No, not really If he d left out these lame little lines I think I probably would have enjoyed this novel a whole lot.
Just about every other character in this story is awesome except for the protagonist Give me a story about Marquis de Carabas and I will read it in a second Honestly, fantastic character right there Tell me I have to read another whiny missive about Richard Mayhew and I will likely stick hot pokers into my eyes first.
I get it I really do It s a journey He has to LEARN and GROW and CHANGE But he takes a REALLY long time to do it and he only ever grows to be slightly less pansy, soft and annoying The total character growth comes to equal someone who doesn t just sit idly by and let people take stuff from him.
Let me give you an example He met a girl who was unconscious in the streets and bleeding to death He takes her home This causes his fiancee to break up with him He then goes through a lengthy process to get the girl back where she came from Once he does this he then loses his job, his apartment and all his money He then goes to find the girl for a an explanation and b help Without her help he will probably die as another side effect of having met her is that he has two psychopathic killers on his tail She simply apologizes and walks away, abandoning him So what does he do Does he chase her down and gently remind her that she owes him a favor Does he barter and trade what he can, whilst trying to lure the killers into a trap so that he can some how defend himself No I will now transcribe from the book EXACTLY what he does Richard leaned against a wall, and listened to their footsteps, echoing away, and to the rush of the water running past on its way to the pumping station of East London, and the sewage works Shit, he said And then, to his surprise, for the first time since his father died, alone in the dark, Richard Mayhew began to cry.
He decides to stay there and die That s right, folks He just stays there waiting to die Boo fucking hoo.
Ya know, I don t accept this crap from a female character nor do I accept it from a man How the hell am I suppose to sympathize with someone who so blithely lets everything he has slip through his fingers because he can t speak up and demand explanations or some kind of help This level of pitiful doesn t help the audience empathize it makes them think your protagonist is an idiot The plot is pretty good despite everything being painfully obvious and predictable at the end The world building is fantastic It s probably the best thing about this book It s really creative and fascinating and interesting.
Over all, it was an alright read It wasn t great I labored through until the last half where it began to pick up and markedly improve Thus only three stars Had the first half been like the last half then it would have earned four.
Neverwhere was my first real introduction to the world of urban fantasy a clever take on Alice in Wonderland, one can say, set in the semi magical, unsubtly dangerous, and quite fantastically warped world of London Below Young man, he said, understand this there are two Londons There s London Above that s where you lived and then there s London Below the Underside inhabited by the people who fell through the cracks in the world Now you re one of them Good night.
Neverwhere is one of my all time favorite books It has just the right amount of wild imagination inexplicably somehow still grounded in firm reality , a healthy dose of absurdity and strangeness, remarkably colorful larger than life characters, unforgettable setting that is of a character than a simple backdrop, and, of course, sufficient amount of lovely dry humor Besides, there is that certain something in Neil Gaiman s writing that keeps bringing me back to his works that cleverness, I guess, that boldness in his approach to writing, that apt descriptiveness that burns scenes into your mind without becoming boringly detailed or repetitive, and the bit of mesmerizing darkness he harbors in all of his works, regardless of the theme or target audience.
In Neverwhere Gaiman uses the old technique of taking a person belonging to the regular world and throwing them into the midst of a fantastical reality, using the protagonist as our eyes into this world think of Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz or its younger siblings like Mi ville s Un Lun Dun.
Richard Mayhew is a timid and perfectly average London guy who suffers from a noticeable lack of figurative backbone and the only time in his life he does show some of that ill fated backbone, combined with some very real compassion, he gets himself into trouble that is waaaay over his head Let Richard tell you about it himselfDear Diary, he began On Friday I had a job, a fianc e, a home, and a life that made sense Well, as much as any life makes sense Then I found an injured girl bleeding on the pavement, and I tried to be a Good Samaritan Now I ve got no fianc e, no home, no job, and I m walking around a couple of hundred feet under the streets of London with the projected life expectancy of a suicidal fruitflyUnwittinly having thwarted an assassination attempt on a young girl named Door and having helped her because, let s face it, he s basically a decent guy, Richard suddenly finds himself in the London Below a place for those who no longer belong to the regular London Above , a place for those who have slipped through the cracks of ordinary reality It is a place that exists outside of our conventions of time and space, touching our reality but not quite overlapping it There are little pockets of old time in London, where things and places stay the same, like bubbles in amber, she explained There s a lot of time in London, and it has to go somewhere it doesn t all get used up at once I may still be hung over, sighed Richard That almost made senseJust like London Above, London Below is a melting pot except for this one is for relics and discards and misfits of all kinds of times and legends and beliefs and tales It is a place for those who fell between the cracks think of those you usually do not notice even if you walk past them on the street, like the homeless, for instance they are already invisible to us It is also a place for those who spent too much time in the company of the supernatural, and for those who don t fit in our world You can view it as a colorful tapestry or aptly, as a dirty filthy rag made of mismatched and threadbare bits and pieces that once were something grand and even now create a mesmerizing albeit puzzling effect through their sheer strangeness and unexpected combination.
And it is a place that has teeth and is ready to bite It is harsh and cruel, full of menacing dangers lurking around every corner Friends can quickly turn into foes, and promising a favor is a serious thing that can get you far in this world It takes skill to survive here.
And Richard is very much NOT prepared for that His life so far, he decided, had prepared him perfectly for a job in Securities, for shopping at the supermarket, for watching soccer on the television on the weekends, for turning up the thermostat if he got cold It had magnificently failed to prepare him for a life as an un person on the roofs and in the sewers of London, for a life in the cold and the wet and the dark.
London Below is a place populated with creatures that have enough color and flair to them to easily stand out against the drab background of life and their surroundings Of course I m talking about Marquis here, the not so honest and yet brave and loyal for a reasonable price of a favor Marquis de Carabas, the guy who you would ultimately want covering your back in a sticky situation as long as you can overlook the fact that he may have had something to do with creating the said sticky situation in the first placeHe Richard began The marquis Well, you know, to be honest, he seems a little bit dodgy to me Door stopped The steps dead ended in a rough brick wall Mm, she agreed He s a little bit dodgy in the same way that rats are a little bit covered in furWith characters like Marquis, or the enigmatic single minded Hunter, or pretty much anyone Richard comes in contact with in this weird mixture of rooftops and sewers and underground tunnels, London Below is a confusing blur to Richard s tired and overwhelmed senses Some things don t make sense Others make way too much sense, are way too literal Earl s Court or Knightsbridge, for instance He is so out of place here, it s almost painful to read, as you wince and cringe at his pathetic attempts to clutch to what he continues to view as safety and sanity And no, this sanity does not normally involve girls named Door or a charming scoundrel Marquis de Carabas, or Angel Islington, or outwordly hired thugs Croup and Vandemar, or Rat Speakers, or Beast of London, or the real Old Bailey, or the nonexistent British Museum underground station where Earl s Court can get you if you so pleaseRichard did not believe in angels, he never had He was damned if he was going to start now Still, it was much easier not to believe in something when it was not actually looking directly at you and saying your nameBut eventually Richard may, just may, start discovering something about himself that is a bit adjusted in the world that has slipped through the cracks than real London In other words, Richard Mayhew just may have gone native Unlike Dorothy and her Toto, he may not want to just live happily ever after in his version of Kansas Metaphors failed him, then He had gone beyond the world of metaphor and simile into the place of things that are , and it was changing him.
After all, haven t we all at some point asked a question about what is the meaning of all that we are doing Haven t we always wondered whether there ay be something else we may be better suited to be and do Haven t we wanted to escape somewhere well else Different Isn t that some of the reasons we wan t to immerse ourselves into worlds of fantasy at least for a short whileWork Home The pub Meeting girls Living in the city Life Is that all there isUsually, however, the point is to return home, enriched by experiences of the outwordliness, and, of course, gain some appreciation for the life we used to take for granted before Because, of course, no matter how much we want to, we will never escape the real life Or can we After reading this book, I know I would want to, had I been in Richard s place But I cannot, and so I appreciate my mundane uneventful life but what if I didn t have to Who knows The marquis de Carabas raised an eyebrow Well he said, irritably Are you coming Richard stared at him for a heartbeat.
Then Richard nodded, without trusting himself to speak, and stood up And they walked away together through the hole in the wall, back into the darkness, leaving nothing behind them not even the doorway.
yet another book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for ages and im so glad i finally made time to read it if i remember correctly, my interest was first piqued when someone had posted some fan art for this and i just thought it looked so cool and i knew it was a world that i really, really wanted to dive into so it makes me a little sad that i didnt enjoy this as much as i thought i would but its definitely a case of it being my fault and not the books i just dont think urban fantasy is my kind of genre i tend to like my fantasy and realistic fiction to be separate, so stories that fuse the two fail to keep my interest as was the case with this but i will admit, i actually thought the world of london below was very cleverly done i will forever praise gaimans creativity for the humour and appropriateness used when creating and mirroring london above as someone very familiar with the city, it was fun to see such a unique, but recognisable, feel to the world overall, this is by no means a bad book its well written, has a lot of interesting characters, and the world building is superb my mediocre rating just comes down to personal preference and enjoyment but i would still recommend this to everyone 3.
Neverwhere Upon beginning a review of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman my first thoughts were to write that even a bad Gaiman novel was better than most other authors best work But this is unfair, Neverwhere is not a bad novel at all Compared to Stardust or Anansi Boys, or especially the masterpiece American Gods, it lacks the epic presence and may even be categorized as one of Gaiman s lesser works What is present, though, is Gaiman s phenomenal writing, his brilliant and original imagination and his ability to simply tell a good story This was entertaining and the literary ground is ripe for Neverwhere adventures if he ever decided to return, and he has hinted that he may Croup and Vandemar are two of his best characters.
For Gaiman fans, but would not be the best to begin a tour of his impressive canon.
Okay, so people have been telling me to read Neil Gaiman for ages They assume I ve read American Gods because the premise is similar to the Percy Jackson series Well, I still haven t read American Gods, but I did pick up Neverwhere in the Heathrow airport and read it on the way back home I enjoyed it a lot Great fantasy, wonderful sense of humor I can understand why Gaiman is so popular I ll have to look up his other books.