Neverwhere is the story of Richard, who leads a perfectly normal life in London with a perfectly normal job and is engaged to the beautiful Jessica – until the day he decides to save a strange girl named Door and his life is turned upside down. Suddenly no one else can see him. He no longer exists in the London he knows – in fact, the only people who see him now belong to the world of the strange girl he saved, in London Below.
Neverwhere was such an entertaining read, I was very impressed by the world building, how dark, vivid and enticing it was, and was so many times enchanted by the writing. I do love a witty, dark style, and Neil Gaiman surely did that. He managed to create villains so unapologetically caricatures of themselves that it just worked – their comical evilness was delightful to read!
In the end, however, the story did fall into the usual tropes, same old fantasy characters dumped into a slightly different different world. Even the “more than one London, in which at least one is magical” trope is overused at this point. Perhaps when this book came out it was not as cliché, but by now this does not feel like anything new. The plot twists were mostly predictable, as was the ending. This, I suppose, makes for a very comfortable read, and if you’re looking for a fun read that feels quite familiar, you’ll enjoy this.
I didn’t love the way that the character of Hunter was treated, for example, with her foreignness being something so often compared to sex, neither was I entirely happy with how the main character assessed the desirability of basically every woman and girl he encountered. We can assume Richard is mostly a full grown adult as he’s engaged to Jessica for over a year and has a stable job, but there’s still hints of romance between him and Door, who is a teen. I was also more interested in Door as a character than him, who was just the usual ordinary-boy-thrown-into-crazy-fantasy-world and a tool to introduce us to the magic and the world, and I hoped the story would have been told from her point of view instead.
It was a bit exhausting to keep overlooking these things, and eventually I wasn’t as excited about the story as I was in the beginning. Therefore, I’m giving it a rather lukewarm rating.