A really fun piece of fantasy for book lovers that stands well alongside Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series and Diana Wynne Jones's fantasy novels.A really fun piece of fantasy for book lovers that stands well alongside Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series and Diana Wynne Jones's fantasy novels. It's mostly set in a steampunk Victorian alternate dimension with scheming Fay, robot alligators and a Sherlock Holmes-like detective. Librarian Irene is a well-rounded, engaging character and all in all this book is a very pleasing way to spend a few hours....more
Sometimes you come across a book that so closely matches your tastes and interests that it feels that it could have been written just for you. This blSometimes you come across a book that so closely matches your tastes and interests that it feels that it could have been written just for you. This blend of contemporary thriller and medieval myth was one of those books for me.
I loved it, but it makes it slightly hard to review though since I know my reaction to it is even more personal and subjective than usual. Would this book work so well for someone who hasn't immersed themselves in the stories of King Arthur? I suspect that it's clever and canny enough to still be a good read and to fill in all you need to know regardless. But if you do know the stories, it will resonate all the more richly.
The main character Jory bears the device of Sir Gawain, which lends him a certain impetuousness and unfortunate habit for decapitation. The main characters are connected to figures from legend, but with clever shifts and reveals along the way. It's also fiercely and relevantly political - not in a narrowly party-political way, but in exploring what Britain can and should be. By the end, it establishes a fiendishly compelling conflict and concept that has me eager to read the rest of the trilogy.
I was reminded vaguely of Paul Cornell's London Falling, which similarly grounds extraordinary goings-on in a recognisable contemporary setting, with believable human reactions to the strange goings on. This goes further, in fact - there is nothing overtly supernatural here, with pseudoscientific explanations in terms of archetypes and the national psyche. You still have all the fun of a modern day Knights of the Round Table doing quests and secretly defending Britain, fighting against a far-right group under the influence of Hengist and Horsa, plus the modern day ecowarrior embodiment of the Green Knight, justified with clever layers of rationalisation.
If you're even vaguely interested in British myth and folklore, get this book now!...more
I've been a big fan of Paul Cornell ever since his Doctor Who novels, such as "Love and War" and "Human Nature" were among the stand-out classics of tI've been a big fan of Paul Cornell ever since his Doctor Who novels, such as "Love and War" and "Human Nature" were among the stand-out classics of the 1990s New Adventures line. He's gone on to write many, many good stories, including a great run of Captain Britain & MI13.
So why did it take me so long to get round to reading London Falling, the first in his Shadow Police urban fantasy/crime series? I've no excuse, since it's a cracking read – dark, pacy and gripping. A team of London police officers gain the Sight, revealing to them London's occult criminal underworld, and have to discover the rules of this new world to stop a serial killer with supernatural powers and obsession with West Ham football club.
I'm not usually as into crime novels, but I really enjoyed the blend of crime, horror and fantasy. Cornell handles the characters' exploration of the rules of the supernatural really well - there's a pleasing sense of discovery as they experiment and work things out. There are some clever and disturbing twists along the way. Some elements are really quite dark, so be warned!...more