It had been a long long time since I dwelled into good old fantasy fiction, filled with mystery and magic where surreal worlds met. Like Hogwarts meeting the real London, or Shire meeting Mount Doom. I asked one, my friend, to gift me “Neverwhere” as a birthday present. Having read celestial bodies, I was in the fast reading-zone, in the flow and delved right into it like a hungry reader. And once you start it, Neverwhere grips you and it is simply unputdownable.
Neverwhere is set in London, and it revolves around upper and lower London. Lower London being the Neverwhere. Our protagonist – Richard meets by deus ex machina, Lady Door, he helps her and falls deep into the lower London. A world which is filled with dangers at every step, and runs parallel in kind of alternate old dimension to our modern London. Now our Lady Door is being pursued by killers – Mr. Croupe & Mr. Vandemar. Neil Gaiman paints the picture of a weak hero, and strong villain duo, who have been assassins for centuries now.
““There are four simple ways for the observant to tell Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar apart: first, Mr. Vandemar is two and a half heads taller than Mr. Croup; second, Mr. Croup has eyes of a faded china blue, while Mr. Vandemar’s eyes are brown; third, while Mr. Vandemar fashioned the rings he wears on his right hand out of the skulls of four ravens, Mr. Croup has no obvious jewelry; fourth, Mr. Croup likes words, while Mr. Vandemar is always hungry. Also, they look nothing at all alike.”
Neverwhere was a companion novelization written by Neil Gaiman. The novel was a great success while the television adaption was not so well received. It follows the journey of Richard and Door through the dark and dangerous London. They are helped by Marquis De Carabas and Hunter while being chased by Croup & Vandemar. I love the way Gaiman builds up the anxiety arousing universe and yet charming. The reader is drawn into this universe like a fly to an incandescent bulb.
I won’t be going into details of the plot, but once you are done with the book you have BBC Tv series waiting for you. (Update: it’s not good, I fast-forwarded through it. Pheww. Unless you want to see how bad television shows were in 1996.)
And now I wonder which should be my next Neil Gaiman’s book?