|Torrie is not keen on being the Neverwhere cover model.|
This book I was excited about because I like the idea of portals to other realms, and this book's covers suggest the plot would center around that idea. In fact, I was so excited to read this book (and convinced it would be my favorite Gaiman yet) that I bought a mass market paperback copy to read in addition to my digital edition.
Richard Mayhew stops to assist a damsel in distress, only to be erased from his own world and dumped in a world he never knew existed before. The damsel, Door, is being hunted by mercenaries, but will she be able to find who's behind the deaths of her family members before she herself is found?
Richard Mayhew may not be a lookalike of Shadow (American Gods) and Tristran (Stardust), but I can't help but feeling they all have the same soul. I admit disliking characters who don't know what exactly they're after, but usually I find something about them endearing, and in Richard's case, it was his love of troll dolls. Beyond that, I was a bit bored with him because of his soul/personality similarities to Tristran and Shadow, and Mr. Gaiman's consistent use of making them into heroes via the story of the book. I'm a bit over the everyman-becomes-"the-man" plotline: I saw it coming here, but hoped I was mistaken that the author would roll it out again. Not a spoiler, but he did.
While I did like the world it was set in, and some of the side characters (Hunter was particularly exceptional), I was hoping for a little more surprise in the ending. With Stardust, even when I'd seen the movie (and thus the basic plot), Mr. Gaiman surprised me with a different ending than I'd anticipated. With Neverwhere, you pretty much know how it will end, and so when it ends, you kind of wonder why you bought that mass market paperback, even though it was less than a quarter the cost of a good potting soil.
Neverwhere was underwhelming for me. Although I love quests, sometimes I'd like more than a few twists tossed in for good measure, in addition to main characters who are more interesting than the side ones, and probably some villains who don't remind one of Charlie Chaplin and Ozzie Osbourne's love children (who went on a few too many bad trips, became assassins, and somehow became the best at torture and general mayhem). If you love Mr. Gaiman, Neverwhere will probably only add to your love of Mr. Gaiman, but if you're lukewarm about some of his main characters, like me, you might find Richard Mayhew a little too familiar.
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars for a good story that I was hoping would be different.
Content: Ages 16+ for graphic violence and occasional swearing.
Page Count: 370 pages in my mass market paperback edition