01 March 2012

Neverwhere

Somehow, I've never read Neverwhere.  I suppose it isn't too weird as I've really just started reading Neil Gaiman's novels in the last few years.  I loaded it onto my audio player for the Christmas trip but we didn't listen to it at that time.  So i listened to Gaiman read the novel by myself.

Richard Mayhew is a Scottish guy living in London.  He's got a nice job and an awful fiance (though he doesn't quite realize it).  As they are walking to a dinner with the fiance's boss, they find a young girl lying bleeding on the sidewalk.  Richard, being a good guy, stops to help.  The girl's name is Door and she begs him not to take her to a hospital.  Because he takes her to his apartment, his fiance dumps him (told ya she was awful).

Door isn't a homeless girl though.  She's royalty but only in London Below, a semi-underground, invisible world of magic.  It is invisible in that most of the people in London Above can't see those living Below.  Door has the ability to, well, open things, like doors to different places.  Her whole family has been killed and the killers, Misters Croup and Vandemar, are after her too.  By helping her, Richard shifts to living in London Below as well.  They team up with the Marquis de Carabas, a rogue, and Hunter, a beautifully deadly bodyguard, to find out why Door's in danger and to get Richard back to London Above.

Gaiman is a wonderful reader.  I really can't recommend listening to him enough.  There's one scene where there's a little girl named Melanie.  I must have rewound and listened that bit 5 times, just to hear Gaiman say my name!  Honestly, you should really listen to him narrate one of his novels or books of short stories.


The book reminded me a lot of Kraken.  That's not exactly fair as i know Neverwhere came out in 1996 and Kraken in 2010.  But you're affected by when you read things.  I'm not sure who's scarier, Croup and Vandemar or Goss and Subby but I'm sure they'd get on fabulously together, Croup and Goss talking each other's ears off while Vandemar and Subby played with knives or something.  There were other similarities: the side-by-side Londons, mysticism, magic, double-crosses.  Very good though, if you've liked one then you'll like the other.  a 6 from me!

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