books

The Other Land Down Under

NEVERWHERE

BY NEIL GAIMAN

REVIEWED BY EDEN

99

 

370 pages

First Harper Mass Market Printing: March 2014

 

“When life gave you a taste of insanity, it would be hard to stay sane.”

 

 


Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is one of those books that I really forced myself to finish, but turned out to be great in the end. London is the main setting of the book, but not the kind of London that all Londoners are made to know. There is what they called London Below, a dark place filled with dark creatures who are blinded by dark desires.

 

What’s killing the reading process is the fact that I have not been to London yet. There are references in the book that only people who have been to London can relate to. BOO-HOO. What’s fair is that nobody has been to London Below other than Gaiman, that’s why I really worked hard to come to the last page. Funny enough, I loved it.

 

The main character is Richard Mayhew. He has everything, a stable job, a fiancée and the good old London which he is starting to like just fine. Until. . .

 

Door, a wounded girl appeared in the streets one night. Richard has the strong urge to help the girl and ended up losing Jessica, his fiancée that night when he made up his mind and chose the Door. This changes everything. As Richard is getting more acquainted with the strange creature before him, the more informed he becomes to the danger that lurks around as long as he is with her. He first met Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, both equally vicious creatures who I might not be able to imagine if Gaiman didn’t use the fox and the wolf to describe them. They are after killing Door and Door is after finding out who the two works for. Richard could have forgotten everything, tell her sorry to Jessica and move on after sending Door safe to London Below. But. . .

 

Nobody can see Richard when he returned to London Above, not even when he tried to hail a cab more than once. He has now become one of the Londoners Below. He has saved Door in the past, but right now, not out of owing favors, he believed that he needs Door’s help.

 

I end the storytelling here. If you have not tried Gaiman yet, I suggest you start with Neverwhere. The adventures that Richard Mayhew experienced will both scare the life out of you and at the same time leave you wondering what really happens in the alternate world where they don’t have to pay taxes, or if there really is an alternate world.

 

What else awaits the readers aside from a girl who can open all kinds of doors, a sinister fox-like creature who has a good brain for killing, and a ruthless wolf-like creature who will eat just about anyone and anything? There are a lot that will surprise the readers, but the best one would probably the character that turned out to be the villain. Twisted plot, I should say.

Here is my favorite line in the book:

“And they set foot on Night’s Bridge and Richard began to understand darkness: darkness as something solid and real, so much more than a simple absence of light. He felt it touch his skin, questing, moving, exploring: gliding through his mind. It slipped into his lungs, behind his eyes, into his mouth. . .”

 

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