Tuesday, June 05, 2007

“There are little pockets of old time in London, where things and places are the same, like bubbles in amber,” she explained

“There’s a lot of time in London, and it has to go somewhere – it doesn’t get used up at once.”

from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I loved this book. I read it at the urging of Carl V. on his blog, Stainless Steel Droppings. He is a big fan of Neil Gaiman, and now I understand why. I figured we must have an overlap in taste, since I was a huge fan of Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat books when I was a teen.

Neverwhere is the story of a young man living in London in modern times, who gets caught up in the mysterious world beneath London. He helps a young woman named Door, who has the magic ability to open portals (doors) where there are none. His act of kindness has unexpected ramifications. This story is very absorbing. It is a dark fantasy novel laced with subtle humor, with enough similarities to others in this genre to make it comfortable reading, but enough differences to make it interesting and new. I didn’t want it to end, and I wonder if there is a sequel?

The descriptions of the places and characters in London Below were great. The descriptions of the depraved acts of Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were truly horrifying, and not for the squeamish. I would have liked to learn more about the character, Door, who is the impellent force behind the story. I thought there was a lot of unexplored potential (I am sure it was deliberate) with this character. Of course the fact that many people call me Door (nickname), and I the fact that I would love to have a magical power, may bias me towards this woman.

I had read one of Neil Gaiman’s books Anasai Boys, a couple of years ago. I liked that book, but for some reason it didn’t make me want to run out and read every book Gaiman ever wrote. Neverwhere struck a more of a chord with me, reminding me of the fun reading I did when I was a teen, and nothing would distract me from the story at hand. I will definitely be reading more Gaiman in the near future.

I took this book out of the library, but I will definitely be buying a couple of copies, one to keep, and one to send to my family to read. Thanks, Carl!

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