Audiobook Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

This is the third Neil Gaiman book I’ve read and I’ve noticed a trend:

An average, unmemorable male protagonist with slightly/over-controlling girlfriend/recently turned fiancé crosses paths with an unusual human that turns out to be magical and leads the protagonist into a whole new world of magic that has always been there for those willing to see it. Apparently, this is such a common occurrence for Gaiman’s characters, that he’s even written instructions on what to do in such an occasion in A Wolf at the Door: And Other Retold Fairy Tales. Unfortunately, Richard, in this case, has never read those instructions, and, as with the other characters I’ve met in the other books, spends a frustratingly large amount of time in disbelief of the world unfolding around him. This reminded of Alif the Unseen, where the main character, an avid fantasy reader, stumbles into the same situation. The creature in question notes that North Americans in particular love science fiction and fantasy stories, but are the least likely to believe when presented with the reality of them.

In Neverwhere, Richard’s life is significantly altered when he stops to help a wounded girl. She is the Lady Door and she’s being hunted by some very dangerous men. She leads Richard to the London beneath where the people who slip through the cracks reside. Don’t be so quick to discount the street people wrapped in blankets, the story seems to say. All sorts of knowledge and magic could be wrapped up within their filthy coats and blankets.

Once Richard is forced from his dull life, the adventure becomes fairly typical and Richard works his way through various gauntlets to prove himself a hero in the end and change his perspective on life and on himself. Again, this is a similar theme in the other Gaiman books, however, each one does it in a unique way with very memorable supporting characters so, while the process might be similar, the journey is still fun and interesting each time.

This was an audiobook listen, and I was pleased to discover that it was narrated by Gaiman himself. Since beginning my foray into the wonderful world of audiobooks, I’ve wondered how much the narrators deal with the authors (not much or at all, it seems). Do they get the pronunciations right? Have they captured the author’s intent with the various characters and situations? For the most part, the answer seems to be yes to the latter, at least, but with Gaiman reading his own works, the answer is absolute

3 of 5 stars

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