Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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I was in one of those moods where it felt like ages since I read something magical. There’s a lot going on in real life that feels so different and messy. It’s like one of those montage scenes in movies about the Vietnam War where you just see one depressing headline after another followed by shots of soldiers in the fields fighting for something they don’t understand. The world seems to be just holding it together and the only cure for that kind of reality is escapism.

I started reading Neverwhere as my Halloween read. I can’t read a lot of thriller or horror without having a massive anxiety attack, so I went for fantasy instead. We start off with a guy named Richard Mathew who is your typical bored working guys. He has a girlfriend and a steady job and one of those old school Ashton Kutcher faces where you can’t help but to crush on him.

One day as he’s walking with his girlfriend to dinner, he notices a girl laying on the ground bleeding out. He finds himself wanting to help her even though he has no clue who she is. He ditches dinner with his girlfriend and takes this near-death stranger back home. Little does he know what exciting events will follow.

Richard finds out the girl’s name is Door and she is the only surviving royal family member of this underground city called London Below. She is being hunted down by two goons who have other plans for her. Ever since Richard meets this girl, his entire life has changed. His girlfriend doesn’t know who he is and his job doesn’t remember him being there. Everything seems like a big joke until he realizes that he’s

I’m a huge fan of Neil Gaiman. He’s probably one of those authors that I’ll end up reading their entire body of work. Neverwhere is his first novel from what feels like millions of years ago, but I think it’s one of those timeless pieces of work that will never get old.

This is not your kid’s fantasy novel. There’s fighting and violence. There’s anger and mystery.  There’s, thankfully, no love which is great because if Gaiman forced a love scene between Door and Richard, I would have shot him that 1-star review.

I love that we get to learn about the London Below along with Richard Mayhew who is just coming to grips with it himself. I love the incorporation of this urban setting. It’s magical realism at its finest without being like Murakami weird with a strange egg form growing in the corner of your room (1Q84 reference).

I absolutely loved how he incorporated the homeless population. In this story, those who are homeless aren’t always just strung-out junkies or people suffering from mental illness. As Gaiman describes it, they’re folks that have fallen through the cracks of society. They use trades and bartering for money. They’ve built an entire world around the real world. I honestly wish I can be a part of it at least to feel like a little magic still exists.

However, it wasn’t the perfect Gaiman. I think that my favorite of his novels will always be American Gods, but this does rank pretty high to the top. I will admit that I was pretty exhausted while I was reading, so many times I tried to read I fell asleep. It made it difficult to keep track of the story and read the descriptions. I may give this another read in the future when I can fairly judge this work.

The writing was a bit too descriptive and I felt like there were definitely some redundant lines here and there. However, I can also see this being a movie in the future. I love the character descriptions and in the illustrated version you get to really envision something Neil Gaiman was considering. It was like Harry Potter, but if he didn’t find out he was a wizard until he was in his thirties. What do you do when you’ve run out of imagination and a mysterious girl lands in your lap?

You can get a copy of Neverwhere Illustrated Edition on

Books for a Spooky Halloween

img_0004Happy Halloween, everyone! I spent my weekend eating Halloween candy and reading romance novels, but I wanted to share some spooky stories to get you in the Halloween mood. I know I’m a little late to the party here, but I figure there are horror fans all year round. Enjoy them any time of the year!

179780The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty – Four decades after it first shook the nation, then the world, William Peter Blatty’s thrilling masterwork of faith and demonic possession returns in an even more powerful form. Raw and profane, shocking and blood-chilling, it remains a modern parable of good and evil and perhaps the most terrifying novel ever written.

The Exorcist was probably the first scary book I’ve read. I knew about the movie, but never had seen it. I actually remember trying to watch it after reading this book and just being scared the entire time. I think my entire body was shaking with nerves. However, I didn’t have that same reaction when I was reading the book. So perhaps if you’re not a big horror movie fan you can read this instead!

1868380Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, an ordinary young couple, settle into a New York City apartment, unaware that the elderly neighbors and their bizarre group of friends have taken a disturbing interest in them. But by the time Rosemary discovers the horrifying truth, it may be far too late!

I was in high school when I read this book. My copy is bound together with a rubber band and even though I read it once, it still haunts me to this day. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you do. It makes watching the movie a little bit more digestible as well!



10592Carrie by Stephen King – Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed… But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction…

I’ll admit that I haven’t read this one, but it’s perhaps my favorite Stephen King novel-turned-into-a-movie. I guess you can say it’s some pretty dark YA. However, if you think about it in the light of understanding bullying or other emotional triggers, this book has it all. It might be scary, but sometimes the truth can be scary. All except the telekinetic abilities.


9460487Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

This has been sitting in my TBR for a really long time. The truth of this novel is that it’s not really that scary. I think the scary aspects have to come from the old photos scattered throughout the story. I’m not a fan of old photos because it feels like their spirit is staring into my soul. They’re like clowns to me. I don’t want to be staring at clowns.

22288Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk Haunted is a novel made up of stories: twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you’ll ever encounter.

They are told by the people who have all answered an ad headlined ‘Artists Retreat: Abandon your life for three months’. They are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of ‘real life’ that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them. But ‘here’ turns out to be a cavernous and ornate old theater where they are utterly isolated from the outside world – and where heat and power and, most importantly, food are in increasingly short supply. And the more desperate the circumstances become, the more desperate the stories they tell – and the more devious their machinations to make themselves the hero of the inevitable play/movie/non-fiction blockbuster that will certainly be made from their plight.

I read this back when I was in college (notice a trend on my horror books) and remember the short story about the black box. You can’t see in it and there’s no knowing what’s inside the box without looking into it. That story probably stuck out to me more than any other, but I would suggest if you don’t want a night’s sleep to pick this up and enjoy it.

7728889The Diviners by Libba Bray Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

Ok, so I didn’t expect this to be scary AT ALL. I thought it was going to be a supernatural story similar to those I’ve read from YA, but I didn’t think there would be demonic moments in the story. Not to spoil the entire story, but the scene of the young girl in Greenpoint, Brooklyn really strung a chord with me especially since I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn currently. Even though it was scary, I was still intrigued by the story and ended up reading to the end. If you’re a fan of those horror films where there’s a haunted house and demons you have to battle against then you might be interested in this one.

And finally…

52635The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker – The Hellbound Heart is one of his best, one of the most dead-frightening stories you are likely to ever read, a story of the human heart and all the great terrors and ecstasies within.

At last he had solved the puzzle of Lemarchand’s box. He was standing on the threshold of a world of heightened sensations. In moments the Cenobites – who had dedicated an eternity to the pursuit of sensuality – would be here. They would reveal dark secrets that would transform him forever.

Seriously, Hellraiser and the Hellraiser series was the scariest thing I watched when I was a kid. My sister and I were obsessed with the puzzle box and one year even buying a replica for my cousin. The box is supposed to open the gates to Hell unleashing the cenobites. One of the most famous cenobites is Pinhead, which my family and I would believe to be played by a British theater actor who could only score this Hollywood movie.


Happy Halloween!!!