Neverwhere is a book that my friend Liza raved about (she raves about everything Gaiman), but it sat on my shelf until it was chosen as the last One Book One Chicago of Mayor Daley's reign.
It is a dark, dark fantasy set in London (sort of). It is so dark that it took awhile before I fully engaged. I actually had a "why am I reading this" moment, but I liked the heroes from the beginning, so I held on.
Wise choice I made there.
The thing with fantasy novels is that the author is creating a whole new world, and the reader has to buy into that world. Buy into its rules and care about what happens there. The world Gaiman created runs parallel to London reality, and our hero, Richard comes from the Real World. So his introduction is our introduction and it works nicely. There was only one major moment where I thought he was an idiot - and that involved a girl.
You have your battles of Good and Evil, your Friends and Foes and trying to figure out which is which. You have your Truth and your Consequences and it is all so cinematic that I had problems eating lunch and reading this thing. Seriously, it has a pretty high Ick Factor.
Having said that, it really is a beautifully written piece. If there were a sequel, I would read it. Is there a sequel?