Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell

Publisher: William Morrow.

Published: 1996.

Rating: 9/10.

This was my first outing in the wonderful universe of Neil Gaiman, and, without a doubt, it won’t be my last.

Neverwhere (1996) follows the story of Richard, an office worker in London, who stumbles upon a mysterious injured woman on the street who no one else can see. This happenstance sets off a chain of events that changes Richard’s life and his perception of reality forever. 

Fans of Gaiman will attest that he is a powerhouse when it comes to the urban fantasy genre. And that accreditation is exemplified in this stunning novel. The word-building is one of the many strengths of this piece; it is fantastically detailed and dripping with sensual descriptions. We begin in the everyday London as we now it above ground. As Richard explores more of the London Below world, we see how vast and intricate the underworld is. The markets, bazaars, fight clubs, caverns, sewers and cathedrals underground all hold many jaw-dropping sights along with a cast of wonderful and, at times, terrifying individuals and creatures.

Richard soon finds himself with a band of characters, each rich in personality, who are all in search of something – for Richard it is to return to the above London, and for Door it is to find the Angel Islington. With twists and turns, the novel is packed with thrilling action sequences, deadly pursuits, and surprising outcomes. 

This edition features illustrations by the wonderful Chris Riddell of such fantasy series as The Edge Chronicles. His drawings bring the characters to life and enrichen the descriptions of the underworld. A great introduction to the world of Neil Gaiman and fantasy for those who may not be big fantasy readers. 

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