Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman


This book has been waiting on my "to-read" shelf for quite some time now and just recently made the move to my "read" shelf.
I usually give a book sometime to settle after I finish reading it before I write up my feelings about it because all too often my feeling are too raw right after reading, sometimes too praiseworthy other times too repugnant. After I give it some time and if my feelings are still the same, I go with it. I don't need to worry that what I have come to conclude weren't just "Heat of the moment" feelings, but what I truly felt about the book.
That said, I wrote this review up soon after I finished reading it, so if my feelings come out a bit strong it's because I haven't given myself time to let my feelings settle. Upon finishing this book, and in all honesty while I was reading the last couple pages I was pretty much just going through the motions. The idea that this book presented in the beginning pulled me in, and I was excited to keep reading. But as I kept on reading I found myself unintentionally skimming *yikes!*
The world is placed in London and tells a story of a man named Richard who leads an average maybe even boring life. He works at a firm, has a best friend named Gary and even an up-tight fiance to boot. Upon rescuing an injured girl named Door who Richard and his finance Jessica happened upon, Richard finds his life is changed forever.
The writing in this book was a bit anti-climatic for me. I think because this book came so highly recommended to me that I was expecting too much. I was also thinking hello the author is Neil Gaiman, what could go wrong? This isn't his first work I've read of his, I read Coraline and enjoyed it. I just couldn't really get as deep into the story as I would've liked. The plot was intriguing as well as the story, it was initially what pulled me in, but I found the writing just wasn't my favorite. I then found out that Neverwhere was actually an urban fantasy television series, and the book was Gaimans novelization of the series. The writing now made sense, it was written off of a screenplay and that's how it read as well. A review I found said "If you're looking for a good adventure that reads like a graphic novel without the actual graphics I can highly recommend this book." and that's exactly how I felt. I'm not big on graphic novels, and the only one that comes to mind is Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson:Homecoming, so I'm not an expert in the area, but yes, a graphic novel without the actual graphics is how I would describe this book.

The characters were hard for me to really attach to. They were each distinct, I could tell who was who, I just felt when it came down to it, that I wasn't really rooting hard for anyone. I mean yes you wanted Richard to triumph, and for Door to survive but I felt more like I was watching the story unfold rather then being in the actual story.
I enjoyed the adventure in the book, and the world of "London Below" was magical and intriguing. The marquis de Carabas was a real treat to follow and kept me on my toes. Mr. Vandemar and Mr. Croup really gave me the creeps. I found this depiction of them and it pretty much hits bulls eye. (picture on right--creepy and intriguing fellows don't you think?) I think it might be from the comic book adaption.
The book held some fun surprises as well *I wont mention a spoiler here* but it did catch me off guard and have me wondering "Hey, how'd he do that?". I had hinted at who the bad guy was, and then was proved wrong, yet I still sat there speculating "Who could it be?!"
It was as good book, but I would've really liked to know the characters better, I felt that what the book held of them just skimmed the surface.
I don't think I'll read the book again, and it's not my favorite of Gaiman's works, but I'm glad I read the book. All in all it just wasn't my cup of tea.

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