Bill's Reviews > Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, signed, epub, onshelf

This book kept me quite entertained over the course of a week and a couple of airplane rides. It is filled with interesting characters on a mad quest through a magical London that exists in parallel with the real London. Some of the parallel city parts reminded me a bit of China Miéville's The City & The City. However, this book was written first and the existence of magic adds an entirely new dimension.

The concept is not entirely original, but Neil's interpretation of Alice in Wonderland / Wizard of Oz is. The situations and motivations are darker and more sinister. The writing is, on the whole, rich, amusing, and inventive.

That being said, I have some complaints. This is pretty obviously a book cobbled together from another source: a television show. Scenes are presented very episodically. There are characters and situations that just come in and amuse and then leave. Are they setups for a future episode? Perhaps. I was also bothered by the inconsistency in viewpoint. The perspective is third person limited, but we get 'inside' more than a limited number of heads. In the space of just a few paragraphs, the viewpoint can reveal the thoughts of the protagonist, a companion or two, and even a minor character. Neil's writing is too good, even in this first novel, for that to be jarring. But it was noticeable.

I would not recommend this as a starting point for Mr. Gaiman's work. But it is a required stop on the journey.

[A note about the HarperCollins e-book I downloaded from my library via Overdrive: the formatting left a lot to be desired. There are many missing line breaks and the page formatting did not adapt well to my Nook. The latter is no doubt an effect of being a PDF, rather than EPUB. The former is not excusable.]

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