Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

"Things to do. People to damage"

 

The audio of Neverwhere narrated by Neil himself was one of my last books of the year but definitely ranks up there as one of my favourites of the year if not all-time.

 

As a narrator Neil Gaiman is something quite special, the different characters are easily distinguishable and I was left hanging on every word by an truly accomplished story-teller and perfect teller of stories.

 

I won't go into the plot detail, the books nearly 20 years old and its all been done a million times before but I am kicking myself for not having read this a hell of a lot sooner.

 

All the characters of London underneath and London overneath in this Neverwhere adventure are distinctly charismatic, magical and captivating. The two characters that for me stole every scene right from their entrance were the terrifyingly funny Mr Croup (the brains and the words) and Mr Vandemar (the blunt brutal one), could it really be anybody else.

 

“There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar's eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelery; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.” 

 

Gaiman makes the city below completely believable to the point where you can picture it in your head, he makes you care for the characters and I was fully invested in the story, the world, everything. The city underneath is that little bit darker, that little bit dirtier matched by the people who live there, there's magical elements, wondrous creatures and a real life Angel, a fantastically grim urban fantasy setting. It's pretty much prefect.

 

“Now me,” said Mr. Vandemar.
“What number am I thinking of?” 
“I beg your pardon?” 
“What number am I thinking of?” repeated Mr. Vandemar. “It’s between one and a lot,” he added, helpfully.” 

 

It was cleverly done with Richard, and everyone above forgetting who he was after coming into contact with those from beneath, forcing him to seek Door out and the start of a wonderful adventure. Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar are worthy of more stories, I'd love to read more of them, wickedly entertaining characters, as was the Marquis.

 

'A rustle in the tunnel darkness; Mr. Vandemar's knife was in his hand, and then it was no longer in his hand, and it was quivering gently almost thirty feet away. He walked over to his knife and picked it up by the hilt. There was a gray rat impaled on the blade, its mouth opening and closing impotently as the life fled. He crushed its skull between finger and thumb.'

 
Apologies I could go quoting crazy here, enough with Croup & Vandermar. And Neverwhere is now a firm favourite.