Friday, April 19, 2013

review: neverwhere

You know those books that you want to read and you want to like? Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere has been one of those for me. I first picked this up probably almost a decade ago with every intention of reading it. Honestly. I was going to read this book. Except I wasn't into it, and put it down. Then I watched (and read) Stardust and loved it and simply had to give Neverwhere another try. Except I just couldn't do it. Couldn't get excited.

Finally American Gods did me in. The book was so amazing, and I loved Gaiman's imagination and writing style and it just seemed obvious that if I could just get started I would enjoy Neverwhere. Plus I had the damn book sitting around, it was obvious that I just needed to read the thing. I also have the mini series waiting on the computer to be watched, and am now even more excited about it than I was before. (We went on some series binges that prevented me from watching, and racing is back. Dangerous.)

So I did.

I'm not sure why I had so much trouble with it before. Certainly Gaiman's style isn't as developed as with his later works and maybe the pacing could have used some work ... but the book is beautifully written. The atmosphere is palpable, the use of metaphor is so extensive that it becomes a natural part of the storytelling. It's a bit myth, a bit fantasy, a bit of reliance on fictional archetypes and a whole lot of good.

Really the only issue here is just how long it takes to get going. It's just a touch too much set up, even though it's all important to the story. Once the story gets going, though? Watch out.

6 comments:

  1. Good to know, together with American gods is added to my liste (as one of Stardust's biggest fans), both of the book and the movie.

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  2. That's interesting - I had a hard time getting into Neverwhere as well, the times I've picked it up. I need to give it another try. Do you enjoy Gaiman's short stories too?

    By the way, did you hear that HBO is planning a series based on American Gods, with the superfantastic Mr. Gaiman doing a fair bit of writing for it?

    http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/03/neil-gaiman-updates-us-on-hbos-american-gods-doctor-who-and-more

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    1. I haven't read a whole lot by him yet, just this, Stardust and American Gods. I like him more and more the more I read.

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  3. I never really go in to Stardust, but LOVED Neverwhere. Can only watch the miniseries with someone else around and all the lights on, because CHILLING.

    Good Omens with Terry Pratchett is a fun book, too. Quite different - I highly recommend.

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    1. I've only seen the first couple of episodes so far and they are certainly creepy. Even though I *know* what happens with the plot it's definitely scary.

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