Tonight’s book review is brought to you by Julia Hughes.
Synopsis: Under the streets of London there’s a world most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, and pale girls in black velvet. Richard Mayhew is a young businessman who is about to find out more than he bargained for about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his safe and predictable life and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and yet utterly bizarre. There’s a girl named Door, an Angel called Islington, an Earl who holds Court on the carriage of a Tube train, a Beast in a labyrinth, and dangers and delights beyond imagining… And Richard, who only wants to go home, is to find a strange destiny waiting for him below the streets of his native city.
As a Londoner, how could I not love this book? It is completely fantastical. The story line imagines another London, co-existing alongside the real London (see already two Londons win/win)! But the London which is ‘Neverwhere’ is much darker and even more dangerous than the London inhabited by most people.
Richard is a perfectly ordinary man going about his ordinary life, worrying about the usual things when a young waif of a girl staggers in front of him, obviously needing help. She is Door, sole surviving member of the Portico family. Richard is the most unlikely hero, at times needing rescuing himself, but is compelled to accompany Door to find the Angel Islington, in order to discover who is responsible for engaging the services of Mr Vandemar and Mr Croup to wipe out her family. Vandemar & Croup are psychopathic killers and Mr Gaiman invests them with a sinister humour of the blackest.
The stroke of genius and where the book really shines is that Gaiman utilises the names of London Underground stations and invests them with appropriate characters. Thus Blackfrairs for example is home to a colony of monks, while Knightsbridge becomes an incredibly scary bridge to cross, and Earl’s Court is held in a train carriage. Hammersmith is of course a Smithy.
Accompanying Door & Richard are the Marquis de Carabas (who no-one in their right mind would trust further than they could throw) and ‘The Hunter’ whose life is devoted to hunting down the great beasts that live in the bellies of major cities.
Totally original and like no other fantasy book you’ve ever read, this book has already gained nearly 80 5* reviews on the Amazon.co.uk site alone, so I’m in good company in saying this book is amazing and if you haven’t yet come across it, try a sample and discover what all the shouting is about.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Thank you, Julia!
Julia Hughes is a London based author of the Celtic Cousins’ Adventures: A Raucous Time, A Ripple in Time, and An Explosive Time. Her latest YA / Fantasy is The Griffin Cryer. Julia’s website is http://www.juliahughes.co.uk.
Four of Julia’s titles were recommended as nominees in eFestival’s ebook of the year contest. Two have made it through to the final. If you’re a fan of griffins, or Wren, the geekish Celtic Cousin and would like to cast your vote, please visit Julia’s site, where you can discover more details, and also enter to win a paperback copy of “The Griffin Cryer” or “A Ripple in Time”.
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