by Neil Gaiman
Lurking beneath the streets of London is another world: the London Below. A maze of dark sewer tunnels and rough caverns, of hidden pockets and damp corners. Full of unsavory people who have "slipped through the cracks." Our unlikely hero, Richard, is totally oblivious to this underground London until one day he stops on the sidewalk to help an injured girl, and suddenly his life changes. Simply by assisting the strange girl called Door, he finds himself involved in her quest to avenge her murdered family. It entails a long journey through dark passages under the ground, meeting strange characters and dodging all sorts of dangers. There are thieves and assassins, musicians and shabby courts, people who speak to rats, even monks and angels. And of course, a monster to face at the end. Richard finds he's made of sterner stuff than he or anyone else imagined, and when the adventure is all over, although he begs to return to his former placid home in "London Above", he's not quite sure if he wants it anymore.
Neverwhere is the first book I've read by Gaiman. I've seen praise of it all over the book blogs. It's some pretty gripping fantasy. Even though I never really cared about any of the characters -they just didn't quite come alive for me- I still wanted to keep reading and find out what happened. There are several unexpected turns in the plot that took me by surprise, especially who the traitors turned out to be, and who the assassins were working for! I think my favorite part of the story was when Richard had to face his Ordeal, that was interesting. But for the rest of it, I just wasn't drawn in very much. Not sure why. Maybe because the whole murder-and-dangerous-mission aspect of the story isn't my usual thing. Perhaps there's another Neil Gaiman I should try? Any suggestions?
Rating: 3/5 ........ 337 pages, 1996
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