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 cracks.
Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more 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.
I’ve always been a bit hit or miss with Gaiman’s work. I love Sandman, most of it is pretty brilliant. I was head over heels for The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Graveyard Book. I love Stardust but there were some parts of it that were kind of ‘meh’ for me within the story, but overall it’s still great. I’m not really all that keen on American Gods if I’m being honest. Couldn’t get into it.
Anywho. Neverwhere. I think I have mixed feelings on this one? Or rather no strong feelings in either direction. I liked it but I didn’t love it and so it’s really hard for me to talk about it. How do you write a review for a book that was perfectly fine but you nevertheless feel indifferent to? What can I say? This one failed to engage me on an emotional level. I guess that’s the long and short of it. There’s nothing at all wrong with the book, I just think it was maybe not the right book at the right time with the right reader. I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did and maybe if I read it again some time I’ll love it.
This review will be a bullet pointed list because that’s how indifferent I feel about this book.
Things that I liked:
- I love the idea of an underground London. A place that is like a different dimension where magical things exist and everything is just a bit off. Almost like the way the wizard’s world in Harry Potter exists hidden alongside the regular human world, but much more intriguing. Gaiman’s imagination is at full-force here.
- Door was amazing, I loved her character. I wish we got the story from her POV instead of Richard to be quite honest.
- I liked how they overcame the big bads.
- I listened to the auido and Gaiman read this himself and listening to him read his own work is always a delight.
Things that were kind of whatever:
- Richard. I didn’t really like him. Yeah, this story is really all about his personal growth and normally that’s my favorite part of any story, but I still don’t think I liked him much by the end of things. Because I didn’t care much about him, the rest of the story failed to engage me.
- Gaiman has a habit of mixing light and dark and sometimes it works out great, other times it feels incongruous to me, and I think it does here a bit.
- The pace wasn’t great, in my opinion, parts of it felt like it dragged. And it’s not even that long of a book!
So, yeah. That’s it. It was a good book and I’m sure a lot of people love it. Maybe I’ll try reading it again some time and feel differently. 3/5 stars.
11 thoughts on “Book Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman”
I’ve only read Stardust of his books (I know, I’m totally going against the grain) and I didn’t really care for it. There are so many other authors I’d rather read.
Gaiman is a bit hit or miss for me, but I really enjoyed Stardust. But yeah, no need to waste time on something you won’t enjoy. 🙂
I love Gaiman but that’s not to say I love all his work. I did enjoy Neverwhere but I loved all the play on London names and landmarks. American Gods I didn’t read for ages – even though I owned the book and then eventually I listened to the audio version instead – which was great, not sure I would have got into it otherwise, but it was the special anniversary edition (or something like that) and NG and some of the cast (I think) did the audio – and it was pretty good. I loved Sandman although I’ve only read the first five and need to continue.
I’ve always found his short stories a bit hit and miss.
Yeah, sometimes something works better for me in audio vs print and vice versa. I’m not familiar with London so that aspect was lost on me, sadly. I didn’t hate this book but it felt very ‘meh’ to me, especially on audio. I’m a bit hit or miss with his work myself but overall more hit than miss. I love Sandman but even some of the parts of Sandman are less interesting than others. Definitely do finish it! I was all caught up on it until he came out with Ovature.
I have to admit I have a general ‘meh, it’s okay’ feeling about this book when I read it. I’m a huge Gaiman fan in general, but there’s random things of his that just don’t click with me. I’ve thought about giving this a re-read someday. I had similar issues with this that you did. Sorry it wasn’t a huge hit for you, but I’m also glad to see I’m not the only that didn’t outright love this book. Great review!
Thanks! Yeah, I think maybe if I reread it in print one day maybe I’ll feel different? But for now I am like ‘eh’ there are other books out there.
Oh I didnt know he narrated this book too. seems he might be narrating everything he does 🙂 I sorry you didnt like it more.
Yeah, I wish I liked it more too!
I think that’s fair about finding Gaiman hit or miss (though I mostly love him, I do agree with you about Stardust for instance). I love love loved the underground London. And that’s fair about not being keen on Richard- although I loved this book, I don’t really remember him all that much. Anyway, great review!
I think maybe if I read it instead of listening to it maybe I’d be able to connect a little bit more on this one. I don’t know. I LOVE the concept and the side characters but I really didn’t like Richard in a lot of ways so… lol. Glad you like this one so much! 🙂