Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.
Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.
Neil Gaiman is the undisputed king of creepy, yet comedic dark fantasy and Neverwhere is no exception. Though the book starts off a bit slow, once the players are in place and the action ratchets up, it is every bit as fun and inventive as Gaiman’s other books.
Richard Mayhew himself is a bit dull, but the book would lose something if Richard weren’t playing the straight man to the unfolding craziness of London Below and the people and creatures that live there. Richard serves as a proxy for our own feelings and makes Neverwhere so much the better for it. He is rounded out by Door, an unflappable girl with the power to open any door.
Neverwhere is even creepier than I remember American Gods or Anansi Boys being. Croup and Vandemar are two truly dark individuals and Gaiman seems to draw no lines when it comes to describing the full extent of their evilness.
I’ve had Neverwhere on my shelf for awhile and always thought it was a newer book, but I see it was actually published in the 90’s. Which makes the recent news that there will be a sequel to Neverwhere that much more interesting. The ending of the book and the mysteries unearthed in its pages make it seem that a sequel was inevitable. Yet twenty years have gone by and there is only the whisper of another book in the works. According to Goodreads, Gaiman is at work on The Seven Sisters, with no publication date set.