Neverwhere (Or) Why I’m Not Apologising

You see that man?

He’s crazy. I love him.

I’ve been “reading” Neverwhere for a while now, and by “reading”, I actually mean blogging. I realised that I was spending more time blogging about things than actually doing them, and after giving myself a swift mental-kick-in-the-butt, I fixed it. I started Neverwhere again (I’d finished about 100 pages before) and pretty soon, I was completely hooked.

I usually read late into the night and sleep when the sun comes up, but this guy changed it for me. For the first time ever, I was scared to read a book. All alone. In the dark.

Mind you, it isn’t actually scary. (Yes it is.)  I wasn’t trying to prevent myself from having nightmares or anything. (Yes I was.)

I loved it. But. I’ve given the book three stars on Goodreads. Let me explain why.

I had the same issue with Good Omens. I don’t like predictable endings. And even though I’ll forgive an ending if everything that leads up to it is excellent, Neverwhere just wasn’t a Good Omens. Yes, I was hooked. Yes, I forgot to eat. Twice. Yes, I got angry phone calls from people I’d promised to meet – and completely neglected my 30 Day Music Challenge. This book is brilliant, it really is. But with the last forty pages or so, I wanted the escalation to be worth it. I wanted to know that all those hours I spent reading it would result in an explosion that would leave me staring at the wall blankly for the next half-hour. What I didn’t want was to be able to tell exactly what was coming.

However. A good ending isn’t the be-all and end-all (heh heh) of a book, and there’s something about Neil Gaiman you should know, if you don’t already. This guy can paint pictures in your head. Really.

With most fantasy novels, it’s fairies and pixies and elves (not all, don’t hurt me) and while I enjoy novels like that, I don’t really see them in my head. There are images (from movies, photographs, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter related fan art) I can link to the author’s description, but that’s about it. With Gaiman, he actually inserts pictures in your head – and I know this sounds absurd – but he manages to do it. Only, he chooses gritty, everyday landscapes to weave his stories into, instead of glimmering, airy-fairy ones. Don’t get me wrong, I love the latter – it’s just that, even when you have light and dark in those novels, the darkness is still above your everyday existence somehow. It’s something you wish you were a part of, and know you can never be. Neverwhere wasn’t like that. It was the most real fantasy novel I’ve ever read. That’s what made it creepy. That’s what gave me chills. I know I’m never going to be a Warrior Princess/get a letter inviting me to Hogwarts/plunge into a book by reading it beautifully. But I know there is, in fact, a city that exists “below” mine. A city full of dubious characters, more than dubious transactions. A city that is dark and scary without even having to be in a book. Add a little imagination to that picture and you have Neverwhere. Easily accessible. You and I could just as easily slip through the cracks and find ourselves in a world that scares the living daylights out of us.

Final verdict? Incredible. I’d love it if you read it. (We can get excited about how amazing this man is, together!)  And I’m not apologising for abandoning my challenge.

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17 responses to “Neverwhere (Or) Why I’m Not Apologising”

  1. The Other Watson says :

    *Puts on tbr list*
    I was just thinking earlier today “where did she go…” ahahaha. :p

  2. maroon5gurl88 says :

    Have to add this to my list! I read American Gods which I didn’t particularly enjoy. I still have Good Omens and a slew of his graphic novels to read.

  3. cherylmahoney says :

    I had trouble with the ending the first time I read Neverwhere…but then I liked it better on the second time around! And the setting…wow, definitely my favorite part, I think. 🙂

    • Tanya M says :

      Really? I should probably give it another go, then. I loved everything else about Neverwhere, I was just a little disappointed with the last twenty/thirty pages.
      I love how he writes, though. I think I’ll have to revisit this after I’m done with all his other books. Thanks for that!

  4. lynnsbooks says :

    I read this last year – my first Gaiman experience and I really loved it. I keep meaning to reading some of his other books – note to self: move American Gods to top of list.
    Lynn 😀

    • Tanya M says :

      This was my first Gaiman, too! Unless you count Good Omens. Which is another fantastic book. Have you read that one? 🙂

      • lynnsbooks says :

        No, Neverwhere is the only one I’ve read – although Carl suggested a couple as well – I think Coraline and Stardust?? Might have got the names wrong there though. I’ll have to check out Good Omens – not heard of that one before.
        Lynn 😀

        • Tanya M says :

          Sure! I’ve been meaning to read those two as well, it’s just that he’s written so many wonderful things that it’s taking a very long time to move through all of them, haha. I know someone who has read them, though, and loved them.
          Good Omens, on the other hand, I can vouch for. Let me know what you think when you get around to reading it! 🙂

  5. Literary Tiger says :

    Okay, I’m going to add this to my acquisitions list again. Hmmmm, eat or read, eat or read . . . read of course! It fits my current diet restrictions anyway. 🙂

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