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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman When I first picked up this book, I had a really hard time getting into it, probably stopping and starting three different times before I finally sat down and read the whole thing. (Of course, that also could have probably been because I picked it up during the insanity that was my senior year of college. 18 credits in two semesters. Bad idea.) It’s very much become one of my favorite books, although weirdly, it touches on more of the criticisms that I would have with other authors, books or characters.Like I mentioned in the Anansi Boys review, Richard and Charlie Nancy start off as the same kind of milquetoast character. And the interesting thing is that while Charlie is FAR more proactive in taking charge of his life, Richard just let things happen to him. Yes, he’s the one who finds Door and leaps into London Below, but from there on, Richard doesn’t really do much except complain about his situation. This normally would bother me, but for some reason, it doesn’t. Actually, it’s only been the last few times that I’ve reread this book that I’ve noticed this. In a lot of ways, it does read like a very rote story—wimpy guy gets sucked into an unbelievable world, does some pretty cool things, gets everything that he ever wanted, but it turns out that no wait, he doesn’t really want that at all. (Why does that sound familiar? That’s the whole plot of Stardust, too.) It says something about Gaiman’s writing that he can write this rote story and elevate it to being something more. There’s still unexpected twists that play into the plot, and the world-building is so well done that even though getting to London Below is crappy, I would love visiting there. The idea of a complete society based on the London Underground is brilliant and I want to see so much more of this world. There’s mention of things like an actual Raven’s Court, I’m dying to see what that is. There’s a hierarchy that gets hinted at and talked around, and oh my God, I just want a complete guide to Neverwhere. I like the mythology Gaiman builds for this world, I like the methods that the characters use and their problem-solving is so subtly worked in that I still don’t catch on certain plot points that I know are coming.Touching on what I said before, Richard is the least interesting character of this. He’s milquetoast, there’s not much to say about him. Aside from the Ordeal and saving Door, there’s really not much that Richard does. He hangs around, whines a bit about how much his life sucks and doesn’t do much. He’s compassionate, but aside from that he does fall into the trap of Designated Protagonist. On the other hand, the characters Richard is surrounded with makes even a more interesting main protagonist seem dull in comparison. Door’s not much more interesting herself, but her backstory and some of the things she mentions makes me want to read a book of her adventures and life. The same with Hunter—there’s mention that Gaiman wants to write a sequel series set elsewhere, but I would love to read about Hunter’s journeys as she slays different beasts of great cities. And then there’s de Cabaras. Oh, de Cabaras, you snarky, foppish SoB. While it may just be me fangirling, he really is the best character in the whole book. My other slight nitpick with the book is the villains and the motivations. Vandemar and Croup are FREAKING TERRIFYING, but whenever you find out who the real villain is and what his motivations are, it seems jarring, but not very well-explored. Part of my problem is that I haven’t seen the miniseries, so I don’t know how much more is touched on in that. I’m not saying it’s a bad motivation, I would just like to have seen more of it.Overall, I do enjoy this book. I hate to say that it’s more of a middle-of-the-road read, but the world-building and mythology used are what really elevates this. (And the Marquis, because he’s the freaking Marquis de Cabaras.) It’s a very visual novel, and I would love to see a better adaptation for this.