Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As a Londoner, how could I not love this book? It is completely fantastical. The story line imagines another London, co-existing alongside the real London (see already two Londons win/win)! But the London which is 'Neverwhere' is much darker and even more dangerous than the London inhabited by most people.
Richard is a perfectly ordinary man going about his ordinary life, worrying about the usual things when a young waif of a girl staggers in front of him, obviously needing help. She is Door, sole surviving member of the Portico family. Richard is the most unlikely hero, at times needing rescuing himself, but is compelled to accompany Door to find the Angel Islington, in order to discover who is responsible for engaging the services of Mr Vandemar and Mr Croup to wipe out her family. Vandemar & Croup are physcopathic killers and Mr Gaiman invests them with a sinister humour of the blackest.
The stroke of genius and where the book really shines is that Gaiman utilises the names of London Underground stations and invests them with appropriate characters. Thus Blackfrairs for example is home to a colony of monks, while Knightsbridge becomes an incredibly scarey bridge to cross, and Earl's Court is held in a train carriage. Hammersmith is of course a Smithy.
Accompanying Door & Richard are the Marquis de Carabas (who no-one in their right mind would trust further than they could throw) and 'The Hunter' whose life is devoted to hunting down the great beasts that live in the bellies of major cities.
Totally original and like no other fantasy book you've ever read, this book has already gained nearly 80 5* reviews on the Amazon.co.uk site alone, so I'm in good company in saying this book is amazing and if you haven't yet come across it, try a sample and discover what all the shouting is about.
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