70 popcorns: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Whether you have read his novels or not, there is a high chance you have heard of Neil Gaiman. Neverwhere is early Gaiman (published 1996) and was developed from his BBC television series of the same name. Unfortunately, this shows - the storyline is mainstream and thoroughly predictable. I saw 99% of the plot coming from 10 miles off. Gaiman's signature delightful prose is thrilling to read yet I was left uninspired - there is a palpable feeling that something is missing from this story. Perhaps it is because the evil Victorian gentleman villains were somehow never as threatening as they should be, they are a tad too dramatic and over-the-top for my tastes, or perhaps it's because the protagonists metamorphism from Everyman to hero and beast slayer isn't too convincing. He still seems a bit of a worthless noodle by the end. None of this should suggest that this book isn't worth picking up however. It was pure indulgence to read and due to great pacing, foreshadowing and tension building, the pages kept turning and I found myself invested in the world of London Below. Ultimately, this book functions as a great introduction to Gaiman and why we love him. Even on an average day, Gaiman is still a great fantasy writer and an excellent storyteller, though sadly Neverwhere doesn't quite hold up to his later works.

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