Posted by: Matt | September 14, 2007


Neil Gaiman

Reason for reading: I have heard so many good things about Neil Gaiman that I decided I needed to read a few of his books. I am also reading his novels for the Reading the Author Challenge, this was the first for that challenge.


Richard Mayhew leads a rather ordinary life. He works for a finance firm and is engaged to a very bossy and upscale woman named Jessica. He spends most of his time following her around London and doing pretty much whatever she asks. Until one night, on their way to dinner, a badly injured and bleeding girl collapses in front of them. Richard insists upon helping her against Jessica’s wishes. He carries the injured girl back to his apartment soon to discover that his life has changed forever. He is about to become part of London Below, an unnoticed world that exists mostly in the sewers and London Underground. His life has just become very extraordinary and extremely dangerous.

This is an interesting fantasy tale based on a television mini-series created by Neil Gaiman. It isn’t quite what I expected, though I couldn’t tell you exactly what I was expecting. Although the story pulled me along throughout, and I never grew bored, I was a little bit disappointed. Neil Gaiman’s style of writing is different, but I can’t really pinpoint how. There always seems to be a lightheartedness about it, or at least there is in this novel and Stardust. For that reason it was hard sometimes to really feel the danger or worry about the main characters. There was always a feeling that everything would work out.

One thing the book never felt like was long. Even in its 370 pages nothing ever seemed drawn out, in fact the story could have gone on for several more pages. For this reason it is not surprising that I have heard Gaiman has not ruled out a sequel.

Despite my mild disappointment in the story I look forward to reading more of Neil Gaiman’s work. Neverwhere is a pleasant fantasy story that I think many would find enjoyable.

Rating: 3.5

P.S. I suggest you check out Neil Gaiman’s blog if you are a fan. It is quite interesting and updated often. Click his name at the top to visit.



  1. I’m planning to reread this one this month! I remember enjoying it, but also being mildly disappointed like you described. We’ll see how I feel the second go round. I didn’t know it was based on a tv miniseries! Good review. 😀

  2. I think my favorites of his works are his short story collections. He does some amazing stuff in poetry and short story format.

  3. This book is up very soon for me, since I think it’ll work for two different challenges. Haven’t read any of his novels before.

  4. Neil Gaiman is one of those writers I only learned about on blogs, and I feel I have to read his work–it’s either this or Stardust first, I think. Thanks for the review!

  5. I’m actually a big fan of Neil Gaiman (of course, I just started reading his books this year!) I picked up American Gods as a TBR challenge book, moved on to The Anansi Boys, and then read Stardust. I’m reading Fragile Things right now.

    You are right about Stardust though. I loved it….I loved the simplicity of it. But it was very light-hearted. I think it was meant to be like that. I look forward to reading Neverwhere somewhere down the line!

  6. Eva – I didn’t know it was based on a mini-series either until I was about half way through. I searched for it on Wikipedia and the TV show was the first thing that came up.

    Heather – I have not read his short stories but I know he has a couple of collections.

    Dewey – This is my second Gaiman book, although the first one I’ve read. I listened to Stardust. I’m still planning on reading more, as I have a challenge going involving his books.

    gentle reader – I can’t remember where I first heard about him, but I have seen a lot of mentions of him on blogs.

    Stephanie – I also think Stardust was supposed to be lighthearted but I think Neverwhere could have used a more serious tone at times. I know that a lot of people got their start with Gaiman on American Gods, seems to be very well liked.

  7. Thanks for the review! I bought this after I read Good Omens. I didn’t really like the book but had heard that Gaimen’s books that he did on his own were much better.

  8. I’ve not read Neverwhere yet, but I like Gaiman’s work. I really enjoyed American Gods.

  9. Thanks for visiting my blog. I found your review and the other comments so interesting. Such mixed feelings. I’m not really into dark, spooky novels, so I liked the humor Gaiman wrote into this book. However, since I started the R.I.P. Challenge, I’m growing to like dark and spooky more all the time. Great review!

  10. Kelly – I hope you enjoy his other books. I haven’t read Good Omens yet but I plan on doing so.

    Stefanie – American Gods seems to be the the favorite book of fans of Neil Gaiman. I will probably read it sometime soon.

    Framed – I do like dark, spooky novels so that is probably why I was looking for a bit less lightheartedness.

  11. I really like the premise of this novel as you describe it so I’m very curious to check this book out. And of course some more of Gaiman’s work since everyone seems to rave about it so much. Thanks for the review. Which of Gaiman’s books would you recommend starting with? Or maybe I should wait til you’ve finished all the other ones you’re planning to read…

  12. verbivore – I am afraid I am not the best person to ask about which Gaiman book to start with as this is only the second of his that I have read (or listened to). A better person to ask might be Eva at A Striped Armchair, or if you’re reading this Eva you could post a response here…

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