Richard Mayhew is your average, laidback young man with a boring but secure job, a pretty but controlling fiancée, and a calm, uncomplicated life.
Then he finds a strange young woman injured in the streets, and when he decides to help her, his entire life is turned upside down.
Door is from the Underground. Not the London Underground everyone sees, but the strange, magic Underground, where people go when they “fall through the cracks”. When Richard goes into the Underground to find Door and try to get his normal life back, he gets thrown into a strange, complicated plot and meets a variety of odd companions: the Rat Speakers, the beautiful Hunter, the sly Marquis, and Door herself, who is much more than just an odd girl.
Neil Gaiman does a wonderful job at drawing a variety of characters that stand out in your mind. No one gets confused with the other; even the two henchmen have their own peculiarities that help them stand out. (Apart from devouring priceless statues, that is.) Richard seems very average, and it is easy to underestimate him as the other characters do; but along with the other characters, you come to realize what lies beneath his boring exterior. The twists and turns along the way as we learn about this strange world don’t detract from the plot; they only make it that much richer. The Underground is almost a character in and of itself.
This is an excellent example of urban fantasy, and quite a fun little trip into the London no one sees.