Neverwhere was probably my first Neil Gaiman book.
Either that or The Graveyard Book. I read it years ago and I can’t remember what I thought of Neverwhere only that there was a London Below and a Door and an Angel and that the book was Good and somewhere on my positive scales and that I always meant to reread it and never got around to it.
I was so excited to hear that a new edition was coming out Illustrated by Chris Riddell, but at the time I was too broke to pre-order it. My sister bought a copy for me eventually for Christmas.
I’m a fan of Chris Riddell’s illustrations (especially paired with Gaiman’s stories, as with ‘The Graveyard Book’, ‘Coraline’, ‘Fortunately, the Milk’ and ‘The Sleeper and the Spindle’) so I was definitely going to get it eventually.
I’m playing around with Snapseed a lot, recently. I’m not sure what I think of this kind of editing. I’m not sure what I think of anything these days, to be honest, haha.
This is going to be ever so slightly probing into the characters but I haven’t spoiled anything so feel free to read on if you haven’t read it.
All the characters are incredibly intriguing. They all have strong motivations and never really deviate from their goal but because of the unorthodox world of the Underground, their methods, reasoning, and their idea of normal* are very curious to me. I found something to love in each and every one of them. I have a soft spot for Hunter, personally.
*I think that’s something I don’t take into account enough, really. How a character’s experiences affect what they think is normal. Some of the characters have questionable morals but it makes perfect sense given the context of the novel.
My favourite part of the novel is actually a particular section at the end of the first chapter, where Jessica, a well organised, well put together person who likes things going to plan, does something that to me is both very out of character yet completely in the moment. Even now after finishing the book, that part left an impact on me. I vaguely remember thinking this when I read it the first time too, and it really ended up being the moment that convinced me to finish the book. There was not quite a moment like that throughout the rest of it, but many came very close.
The world building is something I always admire when done well. The pieces of myths and legend and stories are planted into the narrative so that every plot twist is still quite plausible within the rules of this world. It’s the kind of world-building I really admire.
It’s not the kind of book that ends with me being overwhelmed in a puddle of feelings. However, I do feel like I’ve just experienced a momentary adventure and am ready to resume normal… things. I feel calm, and satisfied.
The last point I want to make is that I haven’t been to London enough to really feel the connection between this book and the city, but it makes me want to visit all the Above Ground spots mentioned here.
Is this one of my favourite books? Yeah, I’d say so. I don’t have a top ten (more like a top four) but I think even as time passes this will retain a spot in my top ten as I have such a soft spot for it.
1 thought on “Books of 2018, #1: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (The Illustrated Edition)”
I read this book years ago! But I have forgotten a big chunk of it. I remember the descriptions and the world he built were really incredible though and introduced me to the fantasy genre. I also owned his book Fragile Things which I really enjoyed (it’s a book of short stories that he’s written.) I have yet to read Stardust!
LikeLiked by 1 person