Richard Mayhew is an unassuming man, good looking in his own right, with a steady job and a beautiful, if not a bit domineering, fiance. At the point we meet Richard he has started questioning his life and his future. Jessica may be beautiful but she’s all too formal and cares more about appearances than real substance and her life is lived circling the art gallery and her job there.
One evening, on their way to a diner with her boss, they come across a small small woman who appears to be hurt. Jessica wants to ignore who she believes to be a homeless person but Richard can’t. He is determined to help this young lady. He picks her up but the woman doesn’t want to go to a hospital. The only thing he can think of is to take her back to his apartment and nurse her back to health. Jessica is furious and goes on their previous engagement with her boss.
Later, Jessica calls and leaves several voicemails, the final saying she is done with him and is calling off their engagement. After, the woman, called Door, finally recovers, Richard’s life is turned upside down. He is no longer recognized in London Above and is quickly catapulted into an adventure in London Below, a gritty underworld that he did not previously knew existed.
The best way for me to describe this story without giving anything away is The Wizard of Oz meets Alice in Wonderland. It is a bizarre new world with interesting characters so different from our own. Richard is kind of a weak minded individual, but despite that he is incredibly loveable. He is very caring, even putting himself in danger for those he calls friends. I found myself quickly developing a literary crush on him and wishing for only the best for him and the other cast of characters. This is a book that draws you in from page one because of the richly detailed world Gaiman has woven and the events that transpire.
The only thing bad I have to say about this book is the ending. I did like it but found it far too abrupt and it left me yearning for more. It could’ve used some kind of epilogue that gave some follow up, either that or I’m desperate for a sequel. I would give this book a solid 5 out of 5. I’m very excited to read more of Gaiman’s works.