Richard Mayhew is ordinary and passive, floating through life and letting things happen to him. One day he makes the choice to take an action, helping an injured girl that he stumbles upon. Suddenly, he’s thrown into an alternate London: London Below. His London Above life no longer exists, and the terrifying stuff of his dreams suddenly becomes very, very real.
Years ago, I tried to read this book, and gave up in the very first chapter because it opens with a vomit-scene. It wasn’t graphic or anything, but at the time I was so tired of vomit-scenes in books (a personal phobia/turnoff) that I didn’t bother to continue. I figured that was setting the tone, and I’d already had some bad experiences with Gaiman (*coughAmericanGodscough*) so there was no real point in continuing.
In the time since, however, I’ve had some really good experiences with Gaiman, and my friend Stephanie told me to give this one another chance. She’s on her way up north right now to present at a conference, about this book, and so I figured I should. And I did. And it turned out that I really liked the book, despite the opener. Just another happy example of giving books a second chance at another later time!
I don’t really want to say much about the story and give things away. It was intricately laid out, with very unique characters, and it kept me guessing the whole time. There are still things I wonder about after finishing. The pacing was very good, fast but not so fast that I felt tired afterwards. Random observation: It seems Gaiman quite often writes adult male protagonists that start out as very passive, float-through-life, trodden-on kinds of people. I’ve noticed this in pretty much all of the adult novels of his that I’ve read. The stories become a kind of adult coming-of-age because of that as those characters evolve.
Anyway, I know I haven’t said all that much here. Mostly, I liked the book, and I’m glad I gave it another chance, and I’m excited to hear Stephanie’s presentation about it at the conference this weekend!