“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”
I picked up this book back in the summer after seeing it recommended in Grazia magazine but I didn’t get round to reading it until just recently. As a bit of a disclosure, when it comes to books, I LOVE a bit of magic! Not so much the weird sci-fi alien stuff, but supernatural Harry Potteresque fiction is a type of book that stole my heart from when I was really little.
The book follows the story of Richard Mayhew, a typical London guy who happens to find himself falling through the cracks into this strange world of people who live below the british capital. We then follow Richard as he tries to untangle the mess in which he finds himself to get home, which inevitably involves him also playing a role in untangling some of the messes that these magical people have got themselves into.
The danger with this kind of book is that it can very easily get a little bit too unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong I am aware that reading a book about a world underneath London that contains monsters and angels isn’t going to be the most factual of reads, but there is a subtle difference between portraying a magical world that you can really get lost in and buy into, and one that just feels superficial and a bit stereotypical.
Luckily this book didn’t fall into that trap. Richard was a very relatable character and seemed to respond exactly how you could imagine yourself too if you found yourself in a similar situation. The secondary characters like the Marquis de Carabas were witty and sharp, adding a comic dimension to the supernatural world. Although some of the content was a bit out there the characters relationships and interactions felt sincere and genuine, which made me feel like I could really get my teeth into what was happening.
I also loved the way the plot allowed you to explore different parts of London both from ‘above’ (actual London) and ‘below’ (world under London). The city is one of my favourite places in the world so seeing some of its most famous landmarks with a magical twist was something I really loved.
This was the first text I had read by Neil Gaiman but as you can see I was a big fan so I will definitely be delving into some more of his works! If you are looking for your next magical fix, you should definitely give this one a go!