My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Friday, February 25, 2022

Review: Neverwhere

Neverwhere Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read the book, then watched the BBC series and I must say that I liked the series a little better. It seems that this story really does better with the visuals then the bare text.

The basic plot has an Alice in Wonderland quality with typical, understated British humor. The main character, Richard Mayhew, begins the story as a listless man who, despite having the 'good-life' finds something lacking in his existence. A chance encounter with one of the denizens of 'London Below' (Lady Door) pulls him into a shadowy and magical world that coexists with, and is invisible to, our real "London Above.' What follows is a typical journey of self-discovery ... Only Richard doesn't really stop being a putz until the end.

London Below appears to be the stomping ground for our dreams and nightmares where everything is surreal ... It also brings to mind the homeless within our cities in that when were aren't ignoring them (ie. not invisible), it is not uncommon to see them displaying symptoms of mental illness (talking to other invisible persons, rats, etc.). Add this up with a touch of word play and you get a very humorous trip into what seems to be a mental breakdown, trapping Richard within his unconscious or primitive mind where he can discover and become the hero that was denied him in the real world. Gaiman never really exploits the potential questions which arise from his brief foray into insanity, but then I don't think this was intended to be that serious a story either ... It was supposed to be fun and I did enjoy it much like I enjoyed Monty Python's Holy Grail.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.