Do you like Doctor Who?

How about Urban Fantasy?

British everything?

Lovely. We are best friends. And also, you should check out Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.

Please see link for plot.

The book was recommended to me via Facebook status, when I asked for Sci-Fi/Fantasy recommendations. Among the other options were Atlas Shrugged (just kill me) and Insurgent, which sounds intriguing. But you aren’t here about that. You want, presumably, to hear what I thought of Neverwhere. So here it is.

It was good.

In a good but not amazing sort of way. The characters are engaging enough, but there never seems to be enough of them. Not quanitity-wise, there’s plenty of characters, I just never got enough of the ones I had. I wanted to know more about them, I wanted more backstory, more personality. The most fleshed-out characters, Richard and Door, are never quite as multi-faceted as I would have liked, and even Richards transformation from mild-mannered Londoner to Underworld Warrior wasn’t as dramatic as I would have hoped. That said, I did care enough about them to keep reading, even if I didn’t form the emotional attachment I usually equate with a good book.

The story itself was vivid and immersive. The world Richard lands in is described perfectly. I could see everything, from the Marketplace to the giant maze, to the prison of the Angel Islington. It was unexpected, in many places, turning down avenues of narrative I never would have seen coming. Tragedy is handled deftly, sad for a moment, then brushed away for the more pressing issues of the now.

I was a bit confused for a bit, trying to decide if the relationship between Door and Richard was ever going to turn into a romance, but that is never the point of the story (it’s good if you go in knowing this. It will save you the trouble of looking for it). The story is more a coming-of-middle-age tale, a hero already established in his life who then has to find himself and become himself all over again.

There was a very definite Doctor Who feel to the whole book, or, perhaps, there is a very Neverewhere feel to the episodes of Doctor Who that Gaiman has written. Either way, while this book will not join the annals of extraordinary literature, it was a welcome literary escape for the few days it took me to read.

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