21. Neverwhere- Neil Gaiman


Title: Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman


On the Shelves: Fiction> Fantasy

Under the streets of London there’s a world most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, and pale girls in black velvet. Richard Mayhew is a young businessman who is about to find out more than he bargained for about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his safe and predictable life and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and yet utterly bizarre. There’s a girl named Door, an Angel called Islington, an Earl who holds Court on the carriage of a Tube train, a Beast in a labyrinth, and dangers and delights beyond imagining… And Richard, who only wants to go home, is to find a strange destiny waiting for him below the streets of his native city.” (Goodreads 2014)

 I was going to hold off writng this review until I re-read the novel- but I’ve read Neverwhere three times in the last two years, so I feel like I can sum up my feelngs for it in an adequate review.

 Neverwhere is one of my favourite books. Like most of the internet, I love Neil Gaiman’s writing. The only work of his I’ve not yet read is his Sandman works. Neverewhere ticks every box I love in a book: . Fantasy? Check. Side-Romance? Check. Mystery? Check. Thriller? Check. Adventure? Check!

 The story, as the synopsis describes, follows a “normal” guy, Richard Meyhew- who manages to fall through the cracks of London- known as London Below- after helping a girl who has fainted on the street, covered in blood. He has no understanding as to why, suddenly,  nobody can see him, hear him or even remember his existence, he has no idea where Door is from and is even more confused as to why she has two of the most creepy and sinister henchmen after her, and now him!

 The characters in Neverwhere are some of the most fantastic characters I’ve read. The world building is beautifully crafted and detailed, making London Below believable- I’ve been on the tube numurous times since reading Neverwhere, and every time I pass through one the stations mentioned in the book, I smile, because I feel like I know some secret, despite it being fiction. One of my favourite characters is definitely the Marquis, and I can honestly say that if I were to have a nightmare about fictional characters, I really would not be shocked if Croup and Vandemaar showed up in it- they truly are terrifying. If you are deciding to read a work of Gaiman, if you are new to him- I cannot recommend Neverwhere enough.

 After you read Neverwhere, You will never hear the infamous Tube phrase “Mind the Gap” in quite the same way again!


16 thoughts on “21. Neverwhere- Neil Gaiman

  1. Elen @ A World of Reviews says:

    I love Neverwhere so much! It’s a great book and I may have to reread it soon. Did you listen to the BBC radio drama thing that was on in March last year?

    • thebookheap says:

      YES. My dad bought the cd of it the other day actually, such a great rendition of it, I was very impressed with the casting!

  2. Have you listened to the radio play?
    James McAvoy = Richard Meyhew
    Benedict Cumberbatch = Angel Islington
    Natalie Dormer = Door (hahaha)
    And Bernard Cribbins!
    But have you seen the TV show? The novel is actually a novelisation. Neverwhere was a ’90s miniseries first! Written by Gaiman, of course. I so need to find this show! Peter Capaldi is in it!

    • thebookheap says:

      I haven’t seen the tv show yet but I did listen to the radio show earlier this year/late last year (can’t remember exactly) and my dad bought me it when it came out! I was so impressed with the entire casting, it was SO GOOD. And I don’t normally do audiobooks! My friend has also just lent me her annotated volume of Gaiman’s Sandman, which I’ve not read yet. I’m excited for it!

      • I don’t normally do audiobooks either but after Neverwhere I found a whole bunch of Doctor Who stories read by the one and only David Tennant. The stories may not be the most riveting things in the world, but I could listen to DT talk for hours.
        Plus, I also found “The Red Necklace” by Sally Gardner which is read by the one and only Tom Hiddleston. A-May-Zing. 🙂
        I haven’t read Sandman yet. I have his collection of short stories, fragile things, waiting for me in my TBR pile. Which is getting bigger and bigger. I’ve had Divergent waiting for me since November!

      • thebookheap says:

        I’ve enjoyed almost all of Gaimans works I’ve read so far. I struggled and wound up abandoning American Gods but I enjoyed the prequel, Anansi Boys. The Graveyard Book is great. Fragile Things and Smoke & Mirrors are both lovely collections.

      • You couldn’t do American Gods? I loved it! I thought it was brilliant! Admittedly, there are some elements hard to stomach, but as it’s Gaiman, I chose to see those things as genius I couldn’t grasp rather than anything else.
        I had to read Graveyard Book for uni! How cool is that? And have you read The Ocean at the End of the Lane? Truly awesome!

      • thebookheap says:

        Weirdly no. I got about halfway through and it just wasn’t holding my interest :/. I will probably give it another go in the future at some point. Your uni reading list is awesome!
        I went to Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane tour in Bath, so I got my copy signed. It was my first book signing and he is lovely in real life.,I read the book the next day and I am still struggling to write a review for it! I really liked it though

      • Firstly: I am SO JEALOUS! We don’t get awesome book tours in Australia. Its too far away for everyone. Every time someone tells me about a Gaiman, Clare, or Mead tour I turn green with envy, I swear.
        You should give American Gods another chance. Honestly, I thought it was incredible. I was actually in a book shop, mental spending all my money when I saw this middle-aged couple eying it off. I told them about and I saw them walk up to the counter with it. Probably my favourite book reviewer’s moment!
        I so want to meet Gaiman one day. It must be how most people feel about meeting Rihanna or something. Did you know he did an episode of Arthur, the kids show? He gave Sue Ellen writing advice! Adorable.
        My favourite part of Ocean at the End of the Lane was that the main character is never given a name! I honestly didn’t realise until I was trying to think of the protagonist’s name when I wrote my review. That is the mark of a genius right there 🙂

      • thebookheap says:

        Awh that sucks. I mean to be fair, the UK don’t get very many “popular” authors either, since most of them are American. And even then most of the time when they come here it is London so I can’t afford to go (we have the highest train fares in Europe, it can cost upto £150 for a single train ticket to london, which can take 2-5 hours depending on the service, ugh).
        I don’t know why I couldn’t really get into American Gods, I thought it was strange at the time that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as his other works-maybe I just need to really be in the mood for it, I guess?

        Ahahah really?! I remember Arthur, that was an amazing cartoon!

        Yeah I thought that was a pretty cool trick throughout the book actually. There aren’t many books where the protagonist goes completely unnamed. I think I noticed that towards the end of the book, baffling.

      • This is true, unfortunately. I think because the US kind of has a monopoly on pop culture. The whole Americanisation thing and all that.
        Jesus, that is expensive public transport. And here I was thinking $10 between towns was ridiculous! How can they justify charging so much? Honestly?!
        I think American Gods has a bit of a preachy aspect. Like, “respect your heritage” type mentality. If you got to the part of the new gods, you’d see that Gaiman showed them in a negative light. Not outwardly hateful, but still kind of…derogatory. It was interesting 🙂
        But then again, I usually miss this stuff until the last page. It’s like the whole religion v science thing in His Dark Material…I missed it completely because I was too interested in Will and Lyra’s story!

        Arthur was probably the best cartoon of my childhood. I so need to download them. You know, so kids of the future can experience the awesomeness.

        I can’t think of a single other book where the protagonist goes unnamed. Or if they do, it’s only for a few pages. Gaiman, man…

      • thebookheap says:

        Haha yes America hogs all of the pop culture things! I wish I had the money to attend the YALC in london in June, just to support any book event happening in the UK.
        Yeah it costs £2.50 for a one way trip on a bus for 3 stops aka 10 min journey…bloody joke.
        I honestly don’t even remember where I got upto in American Gods. I think I was nearly halfway through…

      • We don’t really have any bookish things here. Well, not where I am anyway. Maybe in Sydney or Melbourne…

        Jesus! Seriously, that is ridiculous. Someone has got to fix that!

        A lot happens all at once all the way through American Gods. I don’t blame you for not remembering haha!

      • thebookheap says:

        I also imagine audiobooks would be perfect for when I’m knitting, so I really should look into more of them

      • I don’t get much time for audiobooks. Only when I can’t sleep. But when I was younger I used to listen to the Harry Potter ones every night, on my CD player. I gave them to my sister because she didn’t get into the whole reading thing until later on.

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