All that really needs to be said about this book is: I was already a Neil Gaiman fan girl, and this book only serves to reinforce those feelings of love, obsession, and worship for him as a writer. How can one call herself a fan girl if she’s never read Neverwhere? The question is irrelevant because I finally have. It is, of course, brilliant. Everything Gaiman writes is magical (and not just in its content, but in its structure and presentation).
When Richard Mayhew stops to aid a bleeding girl he finds on the street, he has no idea that his life is about to be changed forever–and not in any way he is going to like. The next day he awakes to discover that he does not exist. No record of his having been born exists, his bank does not recognize his PIN, and neither his girlfriend nor his coworkers have any knowledge of having known him before. His apartment is rented out to another couple while he is in the bath, and no one in London can see him. Assisted reluctantly by a girl named Door, he embarks on a journey to restore himself to the world he knows. But as his journey continues, his regard for the shadowy world of London Below begins to shift, as does his regard for himself, until he emerges as a hero quite unlike the buffoon he was when he stumbled over Door in the street.
I loved London Below. The idea of a dark, underground, unknown society existing below and simultaneously in London, was brilliant. The concept reminded me somewhat of the ideas of Heaven and Hell–we tend to think of them as being located above and below, respectively, when it’s really more that they exist in a separate dimension entirely.
Once again, here is a book quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. Gaiman manages to create, seemingly effortlessly, a wholly unique and unusual world, into whose depths the reader dives both with trepidation and excitement. The book possesses a cast of characters who deserve to be recognized–Door, the Marquis, Richard, Hunter, and Islington, among the numerous others. They are each such startling contrasts to each other, such vibrant caricatures, but they work well together to create a story that’s interesting, gripping, and infuriating at intervals.
I definitely recommend this one. It would actually make an excellent introduction to the work of Neil Gaiman (naturally, as it was, I believe, his first novel of the non-graphic variety). It is dark, dangerous, and frightening without the wickedness and violence that some of his subsequent works possess. Please, read Neil Gaiman! Your life will change! Your world will be rocked! Promise