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Audiobook Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Neil Gaiman is an English writer of some merit, having written science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels and won several noteworthy awards for his work. Gaiman is also set apart from the rest by an almost fanatic fan base, and is sometimes referred to as somewhat of a rockstar of the literary world.

Other titles include Good Omens, American Gods and Stardust.

It's my subtle opinion that authors should seldom, very seldom, read their own novels when they're made into audiobooks. In fact, it's bordering on never.
I've got a few exceptions. There's Ron McLarty. He can read anything he'd like, and I'll buy it and listen to it over and over. There's there's Stephen King. Though he's a bit stilted before he really gets going, it's always enjoyable.

Neil Gaiman reads this version of Neverwhere, "the author's preferred text," published by Harper Audio, and I've got to say that I think he's a good candidate for my little list of authors that can read audiobooks as well. I don't think he's made it yet, but I think he's a good chance of making it.

Neverwhere is a London novel, playing itself out in a London that those who've been there will recognize, but feel like a stranger in even so. It's set in a place that exists below the London we know and see in everyday life, where angels and goblins and talking rats live side by side. Or rather, in an uneasy state of truce with each other.

The book itself is very good, in known Gaiman style for those who've read anything by him before, and for those who haven't, that means a good flow, colorful characters that develop in a sensible and believable (in so far as anything Gaiman tells is believable) way all through the story. He also administers his humor through the text in the subtle and dry way we're used to, and, though dry, it's still refreshing in a story that would in other hands and in other ways risk becoming cheesy and stale. Gaiman caters to a specific audience, and there's bound to be a lot of people that will dislike this audio version as well, even more so for the fact that Gaiman reads it himself, but that shouldn't stop any fan of Gaiman's from listening to it.

In the end, I recommend this audio version of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Good story, good characters, and Gaiman's dry and well managed humor brings this nicely into my list of permanent audiobooks for the iPhone I have with me all the time.

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