What is there that can be possibly be said about someone as delightful and audacious as Neil Gaiman? I had the pleasure of listening to the Audible version of Neverwhere voiced by Neil himself. He did an amazing job voicing the characters, their rhythms and personality distinct intriguing. I have always loved Stardust and was somewhat meh on American Gods, but Neverwhere has completely locked me down as a NG fan. His world building is astounding to me and I actually am sad that it’s taken me this long to start reading more of his work.
The main characters, Door and Richard, are opposite in their personalities to the max but immediately complement each other. I could never really tell which one needed the other more throughout the life of the story and I liked that co-dependency. As it starts out with Door, focused on a peculiar mission and Richard, focused on a life he wants more than anything to live I didn’t really see how their objectives couldn’t be any more different.
The characters of Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandermar, who, when they get evil you can’t possibly believe it can get any worse – and then it does, are some of the funniest literary villains I’ve ever read. Their camp shines throughout the book. Their revelry in being treacherous is proven by everything they do. You never, well, almost never, think they are anything but nasty, terrible villains and it makes it easier to hope for Door and Richard. Not that you weren’t already hoping for them as much as possible.
My favorite line walker though, without a doubt, is The Marquis de Carabas. One minute you are sure he’s a slimy villain the next, maybe not? It’s a question I feel that is constantly asked of the reader from the moment he opens his mouth to Richard and it’s a question that may have no answer. He’s charismatic, enchanting, and ruthless. I could watch him bargain and make deals almost as much as I watch Rumpelstiltskin on Once Upon a Time. So. Much. Scenery. Chewing.
I loved the setting too, not London Above, but London Below. A whole civilization built on invisibility, secrecy, and mythology unto itself. The concept of an alternate world that connects with ours is something I enjoy reading about and NG makes his London Below so majestic and intriguing I really could read at least 10 more books in that setting about any number of side characters.
While some questions are never answered within the book itself, it’s a delightful and thought-provoking romp that, I hope, HOPE gets a sequel. One day.