Friday, April 11, 2008
One of the best reasons for joining a challenge is to find a wonderful book. A book that moves you, touches you, makes you laugh and cry. A book that, at the end of the day, will leave you feeling better than before you read it. And that's exactly what happened when I read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (370 pgs, Harper Perennial) for Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge. Because of the different "Quests", I listed Neverwhere as just a fantasy book of any sub-genre. Truthfully, it IS hard to categorize. Urban fantasy is how it's listed. But this book is way more than "just" a fantasy novel.
Richard Mayhew was a young man in London. He had a rather ordinary life.....a job in securities, a fiancee that dragged him to lots of galleries, a rather plain little flat. Everything was remarkably ordinary. Until the night he found the girl lying on a sidewalk....bleeding. He was supposed to be having dinner with his fiance's boss, but the good Samaritan in him took over. He couldn't just leave this young girl. So against Jessica's wishes, he picked up the girl and took her home with him. And so began his troubles.....
The girl's name was Door, and she was an "Opener". She could open anything that was locked, open doors to anywhere, and travel to different places through them. And she was being hunted by a pair of assassins. Door's family was murdered and she was on the run, trying to not only stay alive, but find out why her family was killed. But because Richard helped her, his life was turned upside-down. He ceased to exist in London. People looked by him and didn't see him. His job was gone, his apartment rented to other people. He had become part of London Below....the part of London where people who have "fallen through the cracks" go. A magical place that is filled with murderers, beasts, hunters, and angels. A place where your friend can be your enemy and a favor owed is priceless. A place where people talk to rats and the darkness is deadly. And Richard has to navigate through the Underground to help Door in the hopes that he can get his old life back.
What more can I say than I loved this book!! Neil Gaiman is truly a master at what he does. And that is weaving a story. I don't seem to be able to post about him without gushing! Each page I read brought me one step closer to this magical world. The cast of characters was long, but truly unique. Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were a couple of the scariest assassins ever to grace the pages of any novel. The Marquis de Carabas was arrogant and cunning....a shyster that traded favors, mostly to his own benefit. He was an enigma through most of the story and it was hard to see which team he was really playing for. The Angel Islington was beautiful and scary. And Richard. Richard grew up in this story and learned that he could do mighty things....for an ordinary kind of guy.
If you haven't read Neverwhere, I highly recommend it. It's funny, scary, fantastical and just an all-around exceptional read! It will probably go down as one of my favorite books!! And as I've stated in many posts, Neil Gaiman has certainly become one of my favorite authors!! 5/5
Also Reviewed by:
Amy @ The Sleepy Reader
Melody @ Melody's Reading Corner