Photo Credit: @bookishsteph1

Reminder to all who are catching up: There are spoilers for chapters 11 – 15 in the post below, and in the discussion comments. You have been fairly and freely warned!

Today’s featured photo is by @bookishsteph1 who has the most amazing bookshelves! What an incredible place to sit and read Neverwhere. We had so many different photos this week, everything from the Scottish Highlands to cozy fireplaces, making it very hard to choose as always. Make sure to visit the #babblingbooksRA tag to see everyone’s photos.

If you missed being chosen for the feature still post your pictures: I’m planning to make a collage of all my favourites (including some which missed out on features that I loved) once we finish reading!

Week 4 – Chapters 11 – 15

Favourite quote:
“I’m not scared of falling,” he told himself. “The bit I’m scared of is the bit where you stop falling, and start being dead.”

Honourable mention that made me laugh: “Can I help you?” said the footman. Richard had been told to fuck off and die with more warmth and good humour.

Characters introduced: 
– Hammersmith
– Lamia (the Velvet)

My thoughts:

What can I say but: WHY Hunter? WHY? I had hoped like many of you that Mr Croup & Mr Vandemar’s taunt had been nothing but a taunt, alas it was not to be. That said, I still love Hunter as a character, she is quite a unique figure, so single-minded in her outlook, as the master of her craft she seeks only the few true challenges that remain for her. My curiosity lingers over the ‘curse’ that prevents her going above, and I wonder if that will come back in some way.

In happier news the Marquis died, but then he came back. The Marquis is another one of those interesting characters. He’s such a trickster, a gambler who stacks the deck in his favour, and someone who takes his obligations seriously. His sense of honour reminds me of Tyrion from Game of Thrones, though unlike the other references throughout the book I doubt this one was intentional. Even if sometimes repaying a debt might hurt his pride or put him in danger – as in the case of helping Door to repay a debt owed to her father – the Marquis cannot shrink from his obligations. Which is noble in its own way, in contrast to his clearly very deceitful nature, and I love that tension.

There were some important moments in this section, though it was a short one. We learnt about Hunter’s passion, and of her betrayal (or perhaps simply deceit given she way not loyal in the first place), the Marquis lost his coat (and died and was resurrected), Richard realised he is no less strange than any of the people in the Floating Market (a stark contrast to his earlier opinions), we discovered that the Angel is behind all of this drama (but not its motives), Richard brave enough to retrieve the key, and then once again had the life sucked out of him by someone he thought cared for him (only this time it was more literal).

Gaiman always blows me away with just how much content is packed into very few words and pages. Even now, two thirds of the way through the book we are meeting new characters who feel richly ‘real’ rather than throw-away props for plot development. But enough from me, I want to know what you are thinking and feeling!

Discussion questions:
(Feel free to reply to each other, and to ignore my questions if you have something else to talk about!)
1. How are you feeling about Neverwhere with just 5 chapters to go?
2. What is your favourite quote from this section?
3. Do you feel like Richard has grown as a character, and what are the signs to you that he has/has not?

Next: Week 5 – Chapters 16 – 20

Discussion date: 30th October

Photo Challenge: #bookquotes – I’ve been asking to hear your favourite quote each week, and it is clear we are all having trouble choosing favourites! So your challenge is to choose the quote that is most meaningful to you and figure out a way to incorporate it into a photo, either in spirit or in text: go forth and be creative!

Remember to use the tag #BabblingBooksRA on your photos, and feel free to tag me @babblingbooks in your captions. I’ll be reviewing the tag throughout the week and choosing my favourites to be featured next Thursday.

Tamsien - Babbling Books
Reader, blogger, photographer with perpetually itchy feet. Host of Babbling Books' Readalongs and curator of a very eclectic Instagram account.

7 Comments

  1. This book continues to intrigue and captivate me. Every page is a journey and an adventure. I can’t believe we only have a few chapters left. I don’t want this book to end!
    I can not believe that Hunter is the traitor! Ugh. I’m so trusting, though (much like Richard I suppose) and would never think that anyone could do something like that. Especially when she seemed so genuine. And then there is Lamia who tried to suck the life right out of Richard, which is even worse (or just as bad in a different way). Again, something I would have never expected. I must be a bit naïve in my world.
    I loved that Richard (out of the three of them) was the one to go forth and get the key. He made it through his ordeal (which I suspect no one thought he would survive) and with it came another level of depth to Richard. At one point he tried to save Door (or protect the key) by trying to trick Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandermar into thinking that he had it. Later after he asked Hunter if she was going to kill him, “He was surprised to find himself no longer scared of death – or at least, he realized, he was not scared of that death.” I think Richard continues to grow on this adventure, and continues to learn more and more about himself. A journey of self-discovery, perhaps. I think many of us have all been (or will be) on a journey of self-discovery in one way or another. Sometimes it is a literal journey (like a friend of mine who packed up her belongings and her donkey and went hiking across America for 6 months), and for some of us it is a figurative journey, maybe reading, journaling (like Richard did a bit of in his head) or introspective and in-depth look at what really makes us happy and who we really are. I think this book holds so many levels and I can’t possibly touch on them all.
    I can’t wait to hear what you all think… and I can’t wait to get started reading on the last portion of the book!!!

    1. Your comments are so spot on for what I was feeling reading this section! “A journey of self-discovery, perhaps. I think many of us have all been (or will be) on a journey of self-discovery in one way or another” I really feel, reading this for a second time almost 10 years after my first reading, that I connect far better with Richard now, and his journey. I might not have gone on a physical adventure (like your friend’s amazing one!) but I think the places I have been and the book I have read, and definitely the journals I have kept have helped me along my journey!

  2. These chapters sucked me right into the story and I started to really enjoy it! But then Hunter!!! Why, why, why!!! I did not suspect her AT ALL!!! I really felt that these chapters showcased Gaiman’s talent for writing and character development.
    My favourite quote was also “I’m not scared of falling,” he told himself. “The bit I’m scared of is the bit where you stop falling, and start being dead.” I am also extremely afraid of heights and this part of the story got me. The writing here was so well done and I could picture it so clearly in my head that my heart was racing and the adrenaline was pumping!
    Then there was the Angel … so many twists and turns in these chapters!!! This was definitely my favourite part of the book 😀

    1. I’m with you on Hunter! Even though I have read Neverwhere before I had completely forgotten everything and didn’t even suspect her! So much happened in this section I struggled to sum it all up, but I am so glad that you are getting suck in now. There are so few pages to go though, and I really wish that Gaiman wasn’t a self-professed standalone writer, because I need more of Door & Richard’s adventures in my life!

  3. There really were a lot of twists and turns in these chapters! I was also completely caught off guard that Hunter was the traitor as well! Although, I was relieved that The Marquis de Carabas was not the “bad guy.”

    One part that I liked was when Marquis de Carabas was talking about how he gave himself his name from the fairy tale “Puss and Boots.” Gaiman writes, “He (Marquis) had long since decided that the world, Above or Below, was a place that wished to be deceived, and, to this end, he had named himself from a lie in a fairy tale, and created himself-his clothes, his manner, his carriage-as a grand joke.” To be honest I had to google what fairy tale Gaiman was referencing, and it was interesting to read about what this “character’s” role was in “Puss and Boots.” Marquis de Carabas was a name that the trickster cat made up for the king of a fictitious village which ended up gaining the cat’s owner the princess’s hand in marriage (thus wealth, land, etc.). This was so interesting to me.

    As far as Richard’s character goes… I thought there was growth, Gaiman even says, “He looked less boyish. He looked as if he had begun to grow up.” He passes the “ordeal” and stands up to the demons he finds there. But, then he meets Lamia, and at first he stands up for himself (insisting she guide them) and seems to gain confidence… until she tries to steal his life (did anyone else think of dementors and their kiss??). When he realizes what she’s done, his reaction is to say, “I thought you liked me.” This made me think “poor Richard, you want so much to be loved and thought you were so smart having her show you the way.”

    Poor Richard.

    I’m excited to see what the end brings and what we find out about Door’s family. Also, if there will be any more twists and turns as to who’s good vs. bad.

    1. Good on you for googling that reference! I wasn’t sure what it was, but got distracted by all the other action in the section and forgot. It just goes to show how Gaiman wove in the fairytale references! And such a perfect name for the Marquis’ character – like you I was glad he was not the traitor, I like him and his wiley ways!

      I definitely had visions of the Dementor’s kiss when Lamia tried to suck the life from Richard. I totally agree with your feeling: “poor Richard, you want so much to be loved and thought you were so smart having her show you the way.” – Underneath it all he is struggling to find himself and his confidence, and like all of us in one way or another he wants to be loved.

      I’m really curious about Door’s family too, perhaps some of them might still be alive?! I certainly hope so, so that she is not alone in the world.

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