Kate's Reviews > Something from the Nightside

Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green
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Mar 19, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: contemporary-fantasy, fantasy, urban-fantasy
Read in March, 2012

A very creative setting - think Dresden Files meets Neverwhere - and a fairly everyman main character with a past shadowed even from himself make this an interesting urban fantasy twist. Private eye John Taylor - who is equipped with a "private eye" that lets him find ANYTHING psychically - is hauled back into his old life in the Nightside by a gorgeous, wealthy woman looking for her runaway daughter. The Nightside, a seedy and eternally dark shadow-London that exists to house all the answers to humanity's baser instincts (along with various supernatural and other entities and issuances), is where John was born, and where he gained a reputation as a guy you don't want to cross. He left, vowing never to return, but finds himself back now in order to pay the bills and work for the alluring Joanna.

Overall, a fast read and a reasonably good one - except for the part where author Green is prone to a LOT of infodumping. Joanna repeatedly scolds John for "lecturing" her - and I wanted to scold the author for the same. A particularly egregious example came when introducing Walker, an agent of the Authorities who maintain a semblance of order in the Nightside; Taylor described Walker and his personality quirks, job, and predilections at length, right in front of the guy. Infodump of epic proportions.

The plot was fast and interesting, though (if a bit predictable at the end), and the concept of the Nightside itself is GREAT. The mystery of John's birth and his powers, and his immense clout in the Nightside, was set up nicely and kept deliciously vague and tantalizing, while promising more revelations in future books. The various asides and digressions into little encapsulated "playgrounds" within the overall setting (the Fortress, Strangefellows, the Timeslip, the diner) were all detailed and engrossing enough to make me forgive the sort of "episodic" feel of the thing, and they integrated well with the overall narrative in the end.

Not the best urban fantasy magical-PI story I've ever read, but certainly good enough to warrant continuing with the series.
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