Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)'s Reviews > Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
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Neverwhere is one of those books that answers the 'what if' question about the city in which you live your days, going through your admittedly 'mundane' routines. In this case, London. What if there was a London Below, a strange world which consists of Underground railways, tunnels, sewers, and sometimes uncannily parallels the London that the average inhabitant thought they knew but didn't, and in a way that seems a lot more interesting? It's a scary place, not terribly clean and sanitary. But it's also a place of wonders. If you spent some time there, would you find yourself, and realize that the normal world just doesn't hold the same charm for you, now that you've realized the possibilities? With this book, you can ponder these questions for yourself through the viewpoint of Richard Mayhew.

The unknown is scary for us. Scary, but also exciting. You just have to find the courage to seek it out. That's one thing I love about books. They take me places that I'm not sure I'd want to go in real life. And in the process, they make me want to be braver than I am. Richard has to find that courage (the hard way), but he becomes a hero and a champion in his own right in the process of his journey. He faces pain, loss, and uncertainty, but he gains a lot more in return.

This is the third book I've read by Neil Gaiman (all on audio), and I really appreciate his writing. He has a wonderful way with humor, a grand sense of adventure and whimsy, and he finds the uncanny and fantastical in the everyday and ordinary. Honestly, that's why I love fantasy, particularly urban fantasy.

Although parts of this story were dark in subject matter and could have been too gruesome, the writing keeps the subject from being over the top in these areas. Subtlety in storytelling gives this reader enough to know just how bad the bad guys are, and without the scenes being too off-putting. And there is always hope that good will win out. I need that in a book.

Of course, living in the sewer and the underground aren't the most clean ways to go about one's business, but there was also an undeniable appeal to these worlds. I'm not saying you will see me taking off on a sewer adventure (not going to happen), but at least I can read about it, and think that it didn't sound quite as bad as I thought it would (for the most part).

I liked the diversity of this world. People of different colors, shapes, sizes and origins. That's how a big city like London truly is, not the monochromatic make-believe of some of the shows on TV (which I won't name) where you wonder how the characters can go seven seasons without ever encountering a person of color. And the diversity isn't just background filler. Diverse people have strong roles in this story. With this added appeal, it made the novel even more enjoyable.

Neverwhere was a fun, interesting novel, with some mystical, otherworldly elements right smack dab in the middle of the everyday. I loved that about this book. I am so glad I started reading Neil Gaiman. I recommend you give this book a try if you haven't read him yet.

Overall rating: 4.25/5.0 stars.
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Reading Progress

March 26, 2009 – Shelved
November 17, 2011 – Started Reading
November 17, 2011 –
0.0% "Really excited to find this on audio at the library. I love Neil Gaiman's voice!"
November 18, 2011 –
0.0% "Disc Two:\n \n No good deed goes unpunished. Poor Richard!"
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: audiobook
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: urban-fantasy
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: alternate-dimension-or-world
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: fish-out-of-water
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: set-in-london
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: unlikely-hero-or-heroine
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: hero-i-liked
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: library-checkout
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: angels
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: set-in-uk
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: quest
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: character-diversity
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: character-evolves-well-in-book
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: male-pov
November 25, 2011 – Shelved as: favorite-or-autobuy-author
November 25, 2011 – Finished Reading
December 12, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011-reading
December 27, 2011 – Shelved as: fa-top-100-challenge

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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message 1: by Beanbag (new)

Beanbag Love Great review, Danielle! I've wanted to read Gaiman, but I can't really decide where to start. Of the three you've read, what would you recommend?


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Bean. I absolutely loved The Graveyard Book. I'd say start there!


message 3: by Beanbag (new)

Beanbag Love Thanks! I'll do that. :)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) You're welcome. I hope you enjoy it.


Jocelin I thoroughly enjoyed you review of this book. I read it a couple of years ago and the 1st few pages gave me nightmares for about 3 days. Did you see last weeks episode of The Simpsons; Neil Gaiman had a voice cameo it was about writing a teen lit sensation. Funny episode; you should check it out. Thank you for you insight.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Jocelin. I heard about him being on The Simpsons. I hope I get a chance to check out that episode.


message 7: by TJ (new)

TJ OK, we're breaking these stars into quarters, now?!?! You know I'm going to have to start copying you (you're such a trailblazer ;)


Tasula Beanbag wrote: "Great review, Danielle! I've wanted to read Gaiman, but I can't really decide where to start. Of the three you've read, what would you recommend?"

Beanbag, Gaiman writes a variety of books and for both adults and young, for a light, romantic read, try Stardust. For something adult and a bit mystical, try American Gods.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) TJ, sometimes I have to break my ratings down to a deeper level. I don't like rounding up or down. LOL!


message 10: by TJ (new)

TJ I'm just miffed I didn't think of it first! ;)

There are so many times I've felt exactly like you, a review just needs a more precise rating. It just took you, my forward-thinking friend, to turn the light on and knock me out of the box! :)


message 11: by Sesana (new)

Sesana I think I've read everything by Gaiman now, and I've loved pretty much everything. I especially love his audiobooks when he's the one reading them, since he reads so beautifully.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) TJ, even if Goodreads won't let us do it, we have to rate the books the way we feel. Go for it!

Sesana, I've really enjoyed all the books I've read by him, and It's just very cool to hear him read his own books.


message 13: by Eileen (new)

Eileen I'm happy to hear you liked this book as much as I did, great review. I too, listened to it on audio and loved the way Gaiman tells his stories and he has a wonderful voice!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Eileen. I agree with you about hearing Neil Gaiman narrate. It's such a pleasure.


message 15: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa I loved this book so much. I read it a few years ago and just love the premise of the story . I'm normally a romance reader, but also love urban fantasy and this one is a winner !


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Lisa, UF is probably my second love after romance.


message 17: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "Lisa, UF is probably my second love after romance."

Now that I know that, I'll be checking out your lists !!


Marcia Love your review, Lady Danielle. I have really been enjoying Gaiman's books. I'm late to the party, but that's the good thing about books. They're ready when you are! :)

Neverwhere is my favorite of the 4 I've read so far, but The Graveyard Book was a wonderful introduction to him. Utterly charming. I knew when I finished it that I would be working my way through the rest of his books, too.


message 20: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa I have American Gods on my bookshelf just waiting to be read can't wait !


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) Thanks, Marcia. I agree with you so much. I hadn't read it before two years ago, and I am working my way through his books, albeit not very quickly. I have to say that The Graveyard is way up there. Such a special read.

Lisa, I so need to read American Gods as well.


Ronyell Awesome review Danielle! I just read this book and it was awesome!!!


message 23: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) Great Review! Is this better than American Gods?


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) I haven't read American Gods, yet. But it's worth reading, Hugh.

Thanks, Ronyell!


Ronyell Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) wrote: "I haven't read American Gods, yet. But it's worth reading, Hugh.

Thanks, Ronyell!"


You're welcome! :D


Cecily Excellent review, and a good point about the diversity of the characters - especially noteworthy for how long ago it was written.


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