Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere

Based on my experiences being seen with the book, I feel like I have to preface any comments on Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere with a disclaimer that I am aware it is based on a television series and, yes, I decided to read the book anyway. And while I can see how the story could translate well to a serial format, it is also perfectly nice as a single unit.
The story is grounded in a typical fantasy context – average guy accidentally falls into another side of the world, struggles to make sense of his new surroundings, finds out there is more in him than he thought. It’s executed entertainingly, though, with a good plot-to-characterization balance and enough mystery about how things will turn out. Well, perhaps not about how things will turn out, but about how we will get to the place where things eventually do turn out. The main character, Richard Meyhew, had tones of Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to me, in the way that they experienced the shock and weirdness of their new reality.
Being more spoilery…. I think it was the fun little scenes that made the book for me. I can’t resist talking rats and night-at-the-museum adventures. Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar are ridiculous villains, bickering over who they can or cannot kill. And I really appreciated that the story didn’t fall back on Richard having to help in order to save the “real” world, put at jeopardy by events in the “other” world that they have no awareness of. It isn’t clear whether anything more hangs in the balance that the peace of mind of two individuals, and that is allowed to be enough to drive the story.

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