Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

I am not a fan of re-editing published books. (This is mostly due to being traumatized by T.H. White's The Sword and the Stone, which has gone through several remodels. My childhood edition of White's book featured a bizarre scene involving singing minstrels in an evil ice cream parlor, but I've never found that sequence in any edition since. I'm 99% certain I didn't make this scene up, but... what if I did?) However, I am a fan of great cover art, and my love for the recent faux-vintage repackaging of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere easily overcomes the fact that this is the “Author's Preferred Text”, a mash-up of Gaiman's original story, the American-audience edit, and various bits and pieces that were chopped out along the way.

Neverwhere began life as a Gaiman-penned BBC miniseries. When that didn't quite pan out as its author hoped, Gaiman immediately re-worked the material into a novel, which allowed him to explore and deepen the aspects of the story that didn't translate well to TV. The story centers around an unremarkable young man named Richard Mayhew, who stops one day to help an injured homeless girl on the street. The girl is more than she seems, however, and Richard's act of kindness forces him into a version of London that is much darker and stranger than his own.

While the encomium printed on the front of this particular edition (“The Dark Classic of Modern Fantasy”) is a more than a little over-the-top, Neverwhere is a witty, mildly creepy read. It's particularly enjoyable if you're familiar with London, although I think it has enough goth-lite charm to appeal to almost any fantasy reader. And, of course, it's even more appealing if you're reading this particular edition, which makes up for its sliced-and-diced contents with that deliciously cheesy 70-style cover art.
Posted by: Julianka


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