You can see Carl’s Part 1 post, and the links to the other blogs taking part, here.
If you haven't read the book, or even if you have, why not join in and read along with the rest of us? This week we have read up to the end of Chapter 5.
Before I get to the questions I have to confess that I had the most incredible case of deja vu when I started the book. It turns out that I saw the original TV series on the BBC back in 1996, so I think I know the identity of the evil person who is after Door, but I am not totally sure.
1. What do you think of our two villains thus far, Messrs. Croup and Vandemar?
They are really repulsive, and have some seriously dangerous talents. Plus Mr Vandemar eats raw mice: barf! I am creeped out by their ability to move around way too quickly, which seems to be some sort of teleportation. I am intrigued by the interplay between them, with Mr Croup acting as the brains to Mr Vandemar’s brawn. I like the overly grandiose and slightly antiquated language that Mr Croup uses, although he does seem to suffer from verbal diarrhea. I am repulsed by, but also curious about, Mr Vandemar’s magical spit, which seems to be some form of natural super glue. That scene where he purposely knifed his hand to the wall was jaw-dropping on so many levels.
2. Thus far we've had a small taste of London Below and of the people who inhabit it. What do you think of this world, this space that lies within or somewhat overlaps the space the "real world" occupies?
It is obviously a very harsh and unforgiving world, but also very sad. I cannot imagine that it is easy to survive in a world where you are unable to return to your previous life because you do not exist anymore. I am intrigued by the lack of obvious theft from London Above, as the invisibility would make this a perfect way to make a living. I assume that will be explained at some point. The inhabitants of London Below do not seem to be only the homeless and forgotten. There are those who have been born and raised there, such as Door, and I can imagine that some find their way there because it fits their way of life or talents.
3. What ideas or themes are you seeing in these first 5 chapters of Neverwhere? Are there any that you are particularly drawn to?
There is a steampunk feel to some of the dress and mechanisms that we have seen so far, but my overall impression is of darkness and dirt. There is also a surreal feel to almost everything, with characters that are teetering on the edge of madness and settings that come straight out of nightmares. The whole world is built from rubbish by people who have been discarded by society for a variety of reasons. I get the distinct impression that this world is the human equivalent of the life that one can see when one lifts up a rock. I am most drawn to understanding how the two Londons interact with one another.
4. We've met a number of secondary characters in the novel, who has grabbed your attention and why?
At the moment I am most intrigued by the Hunter, probably because she is so ‘normal’ in many ways and yet so supernatural in others. I hope we will learn more about her. I was very taken by Anesthesia, as she seemed like a fundamentally nice kid. Her death was quite a shock.
5. As you consider the Floating Market, what kind of things does your imagination conjure up? What would you hope to find, or what would you be looking for, at the Market?
It sounds like a moving junkyard in many ways. It would be interesting to see what exactly some of the stalls are offering and how useful things have been crafted from rubbish. I noticed that Door mentioned a group of Roman legionaries that seem to speak Latin, so I would be hoping to find them or some Roman era artifacts. What can I say? I think I was probably a Roman in a previous life because I find them so fascinating.
6. If you haven't already answered it in the questions above, what are your overall impressions of the book to this point?
It is grim and dark, depicting a cruel, merciless world. I like the way reality has been twisted slightly to create a whole world of fantastical nightmares.