narfna’s #CBR5 Review #77: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

neverwhereGuys, I really wanted to do this review justice, but I read it back in August. IN AUGUST. And I am now twelve, count ’em, TWELVE reviews behind as of right now, and the only reason that number isn’t bigger is because I’ve been reading a lot of books I’m either too ashamed to review, or that just aren’t worth reviewing because I don’t have that much to say.

Point is, this book deserves better than it’s going to get from me, because I really liked it. But I’m tired and overwhelmed and I have writer’s block and what am I doing with my life anyway?

Scratch it. This might be exactly the mood I need to be in to write this review, because what the hell was Richard Mayhew doing with his life before he fell into the London Underground? Nothing, that’s what. He was a pushover with a horrible girlfriend, and he had a horrible job (he kept trolls on his computer. Trolls!), both of which he’d somehow convinced himself he liked, even loved. And yeah maybe his life was safe and comfortable, but it was also boring and pointless as fuck.

And then he became an unperson, and he was still useless and boring (and a bit confused), until he wasn’t. Until he was dragged on a bloody and violent quest for strange, terrifying people he barely knew, through Gaiman’s own version of Wonderland. He wanted his safe life back, to be comfortable and contained, until he got his wish and realized it was the stupidest wish he’d ever wished, and decided to go on an adventure instead. It’s amazing how much I like this idea so much better now than I did two months ago when I finished the book, but I suppose that’s why you re-read things, yes? Because they mean different things to you at different points in your life.

That’s not to say that this book is perfect, because it isn’t, and like I said in my initial review, it’s very obvious this is his first solo novel. (Anansi Boys and Stardust are still my favorites of his.) It’s not as polished as his later works. But dammit, I still thought it was great.

Also, I thought Door was brilliant, and the bad guy(s) were terrifying.

The End.

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3 thoughts on “narfna’s #CBR5 Review #77: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

  1. Anansi Boys is my least favourite Gaiman book, which is to say I would rate it a solid 3 stars. Let’s not get into my opinions on his comics for Marvel, they were all pants. I think he writes best when he writes short fiction, or books for children. I really do need to re-read Neverwhere, American Gods and Anansi Boys, though, I’ve read neither of them since they came out, and I’m pretty much planning on getting to them when I’m done with my current Scott Lynch-binge (re-reading The Lies of Locke Lamora, finally reading Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves).

    Did you hear the recent BBC radio adaptation of Neverwhere? With James McAvoy as Richard, Natalie Dormer as Door and Benedict “One of my many future husbands” Cumberbatch as the Angel Islington, as only a few of a star-studded and excellent cast. It was sooo good!

    • I think the reason I love Anansi Boys so much is that I read it on audiobook and Lenny Henry was SO GOOD as the narrator. Also, I like his whimsical stuff better than his “serious” stuff, I think. I read Marvel 1602 and I thought it was okay. What does “all pants” mean?

      That radio adaptation is one of the reasons I finally picked up the book. I’ve had it on my shelf for years and never touched it. I’ll have to see if I can track it down now.

      • Oh, pants is a British expression (lived in Scotland for six years, married to an Englishman, my language is full of British colloquialisms). It means something is bad. Marvel 1602 was an interesting idea that just didn’t work for me. Eternals was just incredibly boring. I may try Anansi Boys as audio. I might end up liking it better on a re-read. I had very high expectations to it, because I liked American Gods so much, and it wasn’t at all what I’d expected. So maybe now, being older and wiser, I may get something entirely different out of it.

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