Thursday, October 5, 2017

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Richard Mayhew has come to London for a new job.  Although he doesn't know the city or anyone there, he's sure that this is the right step to move his career forward.  Three years later, he has gotten to know London as only someone who lives there can.  His career is moving along nicely and he has acquired a beautiful girlfriend named Jessica.  Jessica is also a bit horrifying as she saw him as 'someone with potential' and is determined to make a success of him.

Going home one day, he comes across a girl bleeding and sitting, exhausted, on the sidewalk.  He stops to help her and before he knows it, he is thrust into an underground labyrinth he had no idea existed.  The girl is named Door and she explains the world they have entered, Neverwhere.  In this land, Door is a noblewoman.  Her family has been murdered and the entire kingdom is in peril from two of the scariest assassins to ever live.  Mayhew decides to help Door as he's a good guy plus it is the only way he can ever return to his own life.  They encounter beasts, villains, and whimsical creatures as they go on their quest to restore Neverwhere to its original state.  Will they be successful?

Neverwhere is the novel that led most readers to first fall in love with Neil Gaiman as an author.  It was a totally original work that mixed the most horrific villains and events with whimsy and a belief that good will eventually triumph.  One thing I've grown to admire in Gaiman is his absolute confidence and belief in his vision of a story.  This novel grew out of a TV series he was writing and working on.  As each scene he loved was cut, he was determined to retain it by putting it in a book and thus, Neverwhere was created. In this anniversary edition, Gaiman's visions are given further form in black and white illustrations by Chris Riddell, an illustrator whose many awards include being named as the Waterstones Children's Laureate.  Gaiman has won many literary awards, including both the Carnegie and Newberry for the same work.   For those who have never read this novel, you are in for an adventure.  This book is recommended for fantasy readers.

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