Quick Review: Neverwhere & Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I’m ashamed to admit that until now I had never read a Neil Gaiman book. Thankfully a family friend lent me two of his books to serve as my introduction to Gaiman’s work. I can safely say that after reading both of these books I will be making it my mission to read the rest of his work.

818478Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Published: 2005 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 1999)
Rating: 3 Stars
Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Young Adult
Source: Borrowed
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads Summary
Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

This was the first book I read by Neil Gaiman and I was honestly surprised by how short the book was. Being only 194 pages, Stardust is a fast paced adventure full of magic, discovery and romance. I really enjoyed Gaiman’s writing style and at times it reminded me of Tolkien’s style of writing. I was impressed with the way that Gaiman constructed the image of this Faerie world full of magic and wonder and the way it contrasted with the image of the town of Wall, which acts as a boundary between two worlds.

However, as impressive as the world building was, I did find that the story lacked character development. Throughout this adventure we meet several characters but due to the shortness of the novel we don’t really get a fully fledged image of our main character. This in turn made it hard for me to emotionally connect with any of the characters.

Overall this is a fun adventure and I’d recommend it for anyone looking for an easy, fast read.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman575754
Published: 2005 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 1996)
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult, Adult.
Source: Borrowed
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads Summary
Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

I really enjoyed this book. As a story it really delves in to this idea of ‘What if?’ Is there more to life than what we know? And in this case there is. Our protagonist, Richard Mayhew at the beginning of the book lives a very ordinary if not boring life; that is until he is thrust into a world of magic, adventure and danger. A world in which you should expect the unexpected. A world known as London Below. Throughout this story, we see Richard go through his own journey of discovery as he adjusts to life in the unknown; one that is full of mystery, and one that sees him questioning his own ambitions in life.

Again the world building was absolutely stunning. Gaiman well and truly brings fantasy to life in his work. The contrast between London Above and London Below and the overlaps between both worlds were so beautifully crafted. Gaiman well and truly brings life to London as we’re gifted with this multi-dimensional image of a city that is full of life and imagination.

Again there are a variety of characters in the book all who have their own personalities, ambitions and faults. Richard’s interactions with the people in London Below was one of the highlights of the book for me.

There are some heavy and at times gruesome events in this book. However, we also get a dose of humour to contrast with the darkness.

I think if anyone looking to read Neil Gaiman’s work, I’d probably start with Neverwhere.

4 thoughts on “Quick Review: Neverwhere & Stardust by Neil Gaiman

  1. I haven’t read Neverwhere, it sounds fantastic. I rather enjoyed Stardust despite the lack of meaty characters due to the fairy tale like plot and writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stardust was just a nice, fun, easy read for me. It’s one of those books I’d go to if I wasn’t looking for something too heavy. Neil Gaiman excels at writing and creating fantasy worlds and I think that’s why I enjoyed Neverwhere so much. I’ve got to get on to reading his other works now haha.


    1. I’m glad I started with Neverwhere. I’m hoping to be able to borrow Anansi Boys sometime soon. I still can’t believe I waited so long to read his work.


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