“You’ve a good heart. Sometimes that’s enough to see you safe wherever you go. But mostly, it’s not.”
Author: Neil Gaiman
Category: Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: September 16th, 1996
This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.
So while there were some things that I found that kind of intrigued me about this story, the short of it is that Gaiman’s writing is just not for me. It’s not that I think it is necessarily bad, just that it does absolutely nothing to draw me into his stories.
In Neverwhere we follow Richard, an everyman, a man just like every other human being out there. He goes to work, he goes to dinners with his fiance, he messes up his schedule every now and then. He is you, he is me, he is everyone.
So first off, while I think maybe this was supposed to make Richard relatable to the reader it kind of had the opposite effect on me because I thought he had no personality whatsoever. He just…was.
After finding a bleeding woman on the sidewalk and trying to save her, Richard finds that he pretty much does not exist anymore. People that he was close to no longer recognize him, taxis won’t stop for him, his credit cards won’t work. So he has no recourse except to go to London Below where the young woman he found is from. The young woman herself, Door, is on a personal quest to solve the mystery behind her family’s slaughter.
And here’s another issue that I kind of had with this story: Richard has zero stake in the main plot of solving the mystery surrounding the death of Door’s family. His entire point of being in the book for most of it was to be a vehicle to immerse the reader in the setting as he is just as new to London Below as the reader. His only reason for going along with Door’s adventurer was literally that he had nothing better to do.
So to sum up, he had no personality and no reason to be in the story.
After all that, there really wasn’t anything to redeem this story for me. Sitting here trying to think about something that I truly enjoyed in the story, I am coming up blank.
The other characters (Door, Vademar and Croup, the Marquis, Hunter) I also just found…okay. None of them resonated with me or intrigued me much.
The setting of the London Below was pretty much exactly what you would expect with sewers and some strangeness but, again, in exactly the way that you would imagine and so was kind of underwhelming for me.
There was a little bit of commentary that I kind of enjoyed where the London Below is comprised of people that have “fallen through the cracks” of London Above. The homeless, the helpless, people that are overlooked and ignored end up populating this underground society.
I don’t by any means think the writing is terrible and I readily admit that he has a very distinct style so that when you are reading a Gaiman book, you know you are reading a Gaiman book. All in all, I guess I can see why other readers enjoy this book and other works by Neil Gaiman but it just really isn’t for me.