I had picked up Neverwhere in response to a prompt of a WriteTribe reading challenge prompt – a city you want to visit. I had mixed feelings about this one and progressed with care. Read on below to know why it blew my mind away.
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Genre: Fantasy Fiction
Author: Neil Gaiman
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Richard Mayhew leads an ordinary life in London as a businessman. He falls in love with Jessica who works at an art gallery and believes in making the right impression. They get engaged and life seems to be headed down the idyllic path.
Far below the ground, at the level of sewers and storm drains, thrives another world called London below. It’s a place full of saints, angels, demons, beasts, rat speakers, earls and marquis. These are the people who have fallen through the cracks and disappeared. By that virtue, they go unnoticed by the people above, should they ever travel upside.
The lady Door of House Arch possesses a rare talent of being able to open any door. She needs to find out why her entire family was murdered by the two villains Vandemar and Croup. These two seem to be hell-bent on killing her too but it seems someone else is behind it. She is joined in her quest by the Marquis De Crabas and Hunter who seem to have dubious intentions of their own.
One day the two worlds collide when Richard stops to help out Lady Door who has been gravely wounded. Now Richard becomes embroiled in the under world even as the upper world seems to have forgotten him. He cannot return to the London above as he has ceased to exist there.
Thus begins his adventure in Neverwhere which takes him through labyrinths and underground trains to meet the Black Friars, a knight, an Earl and an Angel.
Richard is tested for his strength of character even as he tries to make sense of the world below and all its creatures and mysteries.
What happens next is to be read to be believed in this incredibly paced fantasy tale.
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Lasting impression on me
After a long time have I read a truly fantastic fantasy fiction that had me biting my nails in anticipation.
Neil Gaiman has woven the perfect balance between nightmares and day dreams to create Neverwhere. His writing is crisp with imagination and it’s like he is discovered a rabbit hole like Alice. The fantastical underworld enmeshed with folk-lore and creatures is the perfect place to pitch your reading tent. This world enthralled me like Rowling’s Hogwarts and has the most mind-boggling concepts and descriptions.
I loved the floating markets which sprang up in the most unlikely places and sold the most unlikeliest things. Then there are the rat speakers and the Earl holding a court on a train, complete with a jester that tingle the mind with possibilities.
I do believe the underground train stations are places of great sorcery and witchcraft and were the perfect element of surprise in the tale for me.
His characters are fleshed out to perfection and each comes with their own mystique and charm that clamour for your empathy. The mystery has been etched with an endless imagination and kept me on tenterhooks as to what will happen next.
No guesses here – it’s a 5/5 for me for Neverwhere. Really wishing I could rate it higher than that as it truly is a wickedly delicious fantasy tale that kept me reading into unearthly hours. I cannot recommend this book enough for Fantasy fans.
I had read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman before picking this one up and you could check out my review here.
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