Thursday, June 23, 2016

Book Review: Neverwhere (Author's Preferred Text) by Neil Gaiman

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: Paperback; 464
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Source: TLC Book Tours
Genre: Urban Fantasy

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy darkly written fiction with vivid characters.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
The #1 New York Times bestselling author’s ultimate edition of his wildly successful first novel featuring his “preferred text”—and including his special Neverwhere tale, “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back”.

Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman’s darkly hypnotic first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of a major talent and became a touchstone of urban fantasy.

It is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed. Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.

Ah, happiest of sighs. I think everyone knows my obsession with Neil Gaiman at this point. Which is why, even though I've already read Neverwhere, I hopped on the opportunity to read this new version with Gaiman's preferred text. There's a wonderful note from him at the beginning that chronicles what he had to pull to make this what his publisher would be considered palatable for U.S. readers. In this particular version, everything is right back where it should be. As you might imagine, that makes this book a bit longer than normal. Trust me though, that's not a bad thing at all.

Richard Mayhew remains one of my all time favorite characters. His endearing awkwardness, his unfathomable kindness, everything about him just makes me adore him. Even when the world of London Below swallowed him up, Richard managed to keep his head about him. Watching him stumble through an adventure that he never thought he'd be taking, and slowly learn to accept that the world isn't quite what he believed it to be, never gets old for me! This is the third time I've read this book, although it's only the first time I've read this version. Richard continues to be his wonderful, too kind for his own good, self.

If you pressed me to tell you exactly what's different about Gaiman's preferred text version, versus the originally printed version, it would be difficult to pinpoint it for you. I noticed more description, specifically when it came to the Floating Markets and the Black Friars. I also noticed that Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandermeer were a bit more fleshed out. Which is lovely, because those two are as bad as bad guys could ever be. The best part about this version though is that there is an additional story at the end, centering around our lovely friend the Marquis de Carabas. If you're a fan of his egotistical ways, you'll love this story. Let's just say, he does get a bit of what's coming to him.

For those you who haven't yet taken the dive into London Below, let me assure you that it's well worth your time. Door, Hunter, the Marquis and Richard are all wonderfully written characters who are ready and waiting to transport you to their reality. I've always wished I'd actually been to the places that are mentioned in this story. If you're familiar with London, or better yet if you live there, you'll find Richard's inability to understand the quirkiness of London Below's maps quite reasonable. Ah, to have point of reference. You lucky readers, you.

Gaiman is wonderful. This book is wonderful. If you haven't yet read Neverwhere, I recommend picking up this version. It's well worth your time.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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