Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

NeverwhereNeverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So far this is my favourite Neil Gaiman book, although I just did a mental tally and realized I haven’t read many: American Gods; Fortunately, the Milk; The Graveyard Book; and Good Omens. (Ok the kid’s books are my favourite. I lied.) Gaiman is an incredibly creative writer when it comes to plots, and Neverwhere is no exception. His magnificent, creepy London underworld could carry a whole series on its own. It’s a secret, dangerous universe existing in the subways and sewers under London. Filled with mysterious threats, grimy subcultures, urban legends, and detritus. There’s enough depth to the background characters that at times I was hoping Gaiman had written more stories about them. I do have to say that his characters seem to fall into very consistent types though. Rumpled protagonists who are heroes in spite of having no skills, courtly gentlemen who never outgrew being dandies despite being older than the hills, and a smattering of evil monsters. Beautiful, terrifying women with their own agendas. Shady companions. When it comes to the character types, there aren’t many surprises. Not to say that the story is predictable though. It most certainly is not. There are other high points too. Female characters exist in their own right, male characters can be weak. Afraid. Sad. Good people do bad things, bad people redeem themselves. People exist in the middle of the spectrum, like life. Neverwhere has a bit of everything. A lot of some other things too: violence, gore, torture, murder, and suicide. De rigueur for Gaiman’s books, so if you’ve read one of his other ones you already know what you’re getting into. If you haven’t read any of them yet, you may wish to tread carefully. On the upside there’s no racism or sexism, and it’s not because there aren’t any POCs in the story. And really, there are plenty of people who don’t have a race mentioned, so they can be whatever colour you want. Why choose only white? Choose everything.

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