What I'm Reading: Neverwhere - Update
Neil Gaiman is not an easily defined author. I've known this since the first short story of his that I read, but this was the first novel of his that I read. On the surface, this is a fantasy book, but there's so much more to it.
The story begins with Richard Mayhew, an unassuming business man, engaged to Jessica, who is out of his league, but she's settling for him, because no one in her circle would put up with her shit. Jessica-not-Jess is a demanding, controlling, petty woman, and Richard puts up with it because he feels it's all he deserves.
On the way to dinner with her boos, they stumble across a young female who emerges from a door in an alley, she's naked, muddy, and bloody. Jessica demands that Richard leave the girl alone so they can make it on time for dinner. For the first time in their relationship, Richard tells her no, and tries to take her to a hospital, but she refuses. Instead Richard takes her to his apartment, and puts her in the bath.
Soon afterwards, the two people who attacked the female, Mr.s Croup and Vandemar, appear at Richard's door, claiming to be her brothers. Instinctually, Richard denies ever seeing the girl, and turns them away.
This involvement in the girl's life had greater repercussions than Richard was prepared for. He has become one of the people that's fallen through the cracks and is no longer a part of the London Above, although he doesn't know that yet, or what it even means.
The next day, however Richard begins to learn. Jessica has forgotten about him, and no one at his job seems to even know about him. People can't seem to even be able to see him.
The girl, who's name is Door, tells him to try and forget about her, but he's unable to. He's now a part of London Below. A world of all the forgotten people and things from London proper. A world of magic that the above world knows nothing about. A world of forgotten mysteries that have been lost to time ages ago. A world of rat-speakers, traveling markets, angels, and life-suckers.
Richard gets sucked into a conspiracy that involves the murder of Door's family, Hunter, the Below's deadliest hunter, and the Marquis de Carabas, an eccentric who knows secrets about the Below.
I actually finished the books months ago, and have been reading something else in the interim, but I had to stop from updating this post. I've held of from writing this review, because it would take so long to recount even a fifth of what was in this book and still do it no justice. This is such an intrecately detailed book that any review would fail to properly translate the contents. So finally I've decided to not actually review, but simply rate it.
On to the rating...
I really liked this book, but with Gaiman as the author, that's like saying water is wet. Neil Gaiman is just such an effortless author, and his words are like poetry in how they flow together. Even his books/stories that I wasn't thrilled with, were still good. This one is towards the top of his books that I've read.
The characters are all fleshed out yet still hold an heir of mystery to them. The world they inhabit is fantastical and foreign but feels familiar at the same time.
If all of Gaiman is must read, this may have to jump the line a few spots.