Neverwhere (group read part 3)

4 June 2012

For this, the final part of the group read, Carl wanted us to share our to share our thoughts in a more general way rather than ask for answer any specific questions.

I really enjoyed my read, although I didn’t participate in the group part as much as I had hoped. I was didn’t get to visit any one else’s discussion of part 2 but I do hope to play catch up tomorrow. What I will say is that I’m still glad I took part because it slowed down my reading of it, which will probably make it stick with me a lot more.

But to get back to Carl’s request, what did I think of Neverwhere? I liked it a lot. The world of London below is great, and I loved the rats and the rat-speakers. That whole idea was wonderful. And the Marquis was a fascinating character. I would actually have liked to have him developed a bit more. If anything my one complain would be that all the characters were a little under developed, a bit 2 dimensional. Richard, obviously, was the main guy, and we got to see a lot from him, but I sort of felt that we never really got to know anyone else to a great degree.

But the world building in many ways makes up for that.

I think that this was one of Gaiman’s first novels, if not his first, and I think you can see how he has developed as an author by reading his later ones. This has some great ideas and great moments, but it just doens’t quite work as a “great book”, it is missing that whatever you call it that transforms something from a good solid fun read into a great one.
But that shouldn’t put anyone off reading this, because it really is worth picking up and delving into. You may never look at a rat, or pigeon, in the same way.

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8 Responses

  1. Eris says:

    Good Omens is his first novel and Neverwhere is his first solo novel but it was a novelisation of the tv series Neverwhere he did with Lenny Henry and it was released at the same time as the series. That's probably why it feels a bit thin and underdeveloped, which is a shame because the world is so compelling and fascinating.

    The Marquis is played in the tv show by the guy who plays Mark's boss Alan Johnson in Peep Show. Sounds brilliant! He's an old mate of a guy I worked with. #SmallWorld

    • Fence says:

      So I was right then :) it is one of his first.

      I've heard about the tv show, and the radio play, but never seen/heard either of them. I have it in my head that I actually bought the dvd of Neverwhere, but I can't spot it at the moment, so I may have *meant* to buy it and then didn't for whatever reason.

      If I didn't, I'll have to now that I now Johnson is in it!

  2. Eris says:

    Have you moved the big scissors?

    • Fence says:

      Don't be alarmed, Mark, it's just Tai Chi. Take a seat and I'll just power through. Should take 45 minutes, I'm done in ten. Stick that up your dojo.

      And I have found my copy of Neverwhere so I shall have to find the time this week, or maybe at the weekend to watch it.

  3. Christine says:

    I agree that the characters were a little underdeveloped, but it was still a fun romp through London. I enjoyed it very much.

    It's my first adult fiction by Gaiman. I have Stardust on my shelf somewhere so I do plan to read it at some point. Have you read it?
    Christine´s last blog post ..Library Loot LIII … and a BEA Story

  4. Grace says:

    When I was in NYC at Book Expo this weekend I kept hoping I'd see a subway rat or an alligator a la Neverwhere. I was kind of sad that I didn't. I loved the idea that the rats were good guys.

    • Fence says:

      It isn't the usual is it? I did see a rat when I was in NY, and it was in the subway :) So it totally fit with the stereotypes.