Technically this one is a little bit of a cheat since I fell in love with Neverwhere before it was a book. But since it’s the book I’ve come back to again and again, I think it counts.
The world (or worlds) of Neverwhere was originally conceived as a six-part miniseries for BBC2 in the UK. And that is how I first encountered it. Something in it struck a chord with me; whether it was the lost and confused everyman main character, the slippery Marquis de Carabas, the sorrowful angel Islington or the deadly duo of Messers Croup and Vandemar. I suspect it was a combination of all of them plus the notion that there was a completely different world right beneath our noses. Or feet, as the case may be.
I recorded the TV show as it was broadcast, then a couple of years later bought the VHS box set. To be honest, I don’t recall exactly when I first found a copy of the book but I’m sure you can imagine how delighted I was to rediscover the world and find that there was a lot more to it than had been on the screen. Freed from the budgetary and logistical constraints of the series, Neverwhere the book becomes deeper and broader, giving greater insight into both the characters and London Below itself. It may not be the first urban fantasy novel I read, but it certainly feels like it.
Since then I’ve probably read it once a year and it never fails to enthrall me. Even knowing the story as well as I do by now, there are still little nuggets to discover. I only wish there was more of it, but I may get that wish soon.