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Sixty-One Nails

(Courts of the Feyre #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,777 ratings  ·  312 reviews
There is a secret war raging beneath the streets of London. A dark magic will be unleashed by the Untainted...Unless a new hero can be found. Neverwhere's faster, smarter brother has arrived.

Sixty-One Nails follows Niall Petersen, from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond t
Paperback, 528 pages
Published 2009 by Angry Robot
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Shell McC Because they're trying to sell books. I think they've twisted the original personal viewpoint of C.E. Murphy, "A Neverwhere for the next generation." …moreBecause they're trying to sell books. I think they've twisted the original personal viewpoint of C.E. Murphy, "A Neverwhere for the next generation." I'm old enough to remember a time when EVERY fantasy was likened to Tolkein. It's just a lazy sales pitch don't let it turn you against the book.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,777 ratings  ·  312 reviews

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Start your review of Sixty-One Nails (Courts of the Feyre, #1)
May 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Boring story, boring and repetitive dialogue, extremely slow action without the poetic pay-off but worst of all entirely lacking in charm and humour with two very unlikable lead characters.

The two main characters conversations don't seem to move past 'new fairy boy interrogating very old fairy lady' about what all this new fairy stuff is about and then debating whether or not to go on the 'quest' at the centre of the plot - at each stage of the plot.

At one stage the two main characters have spe
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Sixty-One Nails is boldly compared to Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere on the front cover, a claim that got my attention, but made me suspicious as well Was there any chance that Shevdon's novel could compare?

The answer is . . . not really. To be honest, other than the beginning in which the main character Niall is drawn into an otherworld-London, there is very little to compare to Neverwhere.

So with that out of the way, is the book worth reading? I guess that depends on your reading preference. Technic
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You can see my review here:

The book opens with Niall Petersen having suspected heart attack by the London Underground, and being saved by a mysterious stranger that calls herself Blackbird. Thus begins Niall's journey into the mystery of Feyre. This book was strange, and by strange I mean that it kept me eagerly turning the pages, even though...not much happens! There is some action, make no mistake, but most of the novel revolves around the developing re
Ed Fleetwood
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up as a "filler" while waiting for Ghost Story; and I loved it! The only problem with it as a "filler" was that I read almost the whole thing in a single day.
The pacing is good (witness how long I wasn't on it); you care about the characters; it's clearly been well researched with regard to aspects of English folklore. Plus, I'm so into the Faeries as bad guys these days, thanks to Jim Butcher and Mark Chadbourn (though long since Terry Pratchett told it how it was in Lords and Lad
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013, e-books
4.5 Stars

I loved this urban fantasy done right. Shevdon has done an amazing job at creating a world that is very much like our own, only his has more possibilities. The story is tight and fast paced, with a few twists along the way. The relationship and dare I say it, the romance between Blackbird and Rabbit is what makes this book really work. I loved how different these two characters were, and the way that they came to count on each other.

This is one of those rare books that made me feel lik
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys urban fantasy, or just a good yarn
I should start by declaring an interest - I am friends with Mike Shevdon, so I suppose this might be considered a biased review. Though once you've read it I doubt you'll think that...!

I really want to give this 4.5 stars. The story is great, the lead character is appealing and heroic without being unrealistic, and the universe Shevdon has created is fascinating (and he's left us a lot to learn, which is always good).

A very basic plot description is: Niall Petersen is an unremarkable middle-aged
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the blurbs on this book called it a "Neverwhere for the next generation," referring to Neil Gaiman's book. That's what caught my eye. So I gave this one a shot. The story is set in present day London. Niall Petersen suffers a heart attack while in the London Underground and when he recovers finds that his whole world has changed. The woman who helped him is called Blackbird and she's part of the hidden world of the Feyre. And now Niall is too. This story moves along quickly, never gets du ...more
Apr 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This is yet another case in which my rating is probably lower because I was listening to the audiobook than it would have been on reading. (I'll have to figure out a way to split myself and read both ways at once, as the residual scientist in me hates the lack of controlled experiment data!)

This was one of those urban fantasies which didn't do much new on the basic plot: perfectly normal human is suddenly blindsided by the intrusion into his/her life of Fairie, followed by lots of shock, ignoran
Stephanie Swint
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I’m in the position that I liked this complex book so much I’m not sure how to start my review. It is an urban fantasy that centers around the feyre/fey/faerie. It is constructed for an adult audience and is part of a small portion of urban fantasy that does not fall into being overly focused on romance or young adult themes. I found it through Ben Aaronovitch’s recommends on Goodreads. He is the author of the ‘The Rivers of London’ series if you are unfamiliar with him. Sixty-One Nails is a wel ...more
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book has been compared to Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I myself did not see any comparison at all. I did not like Neverwhere, it was a nightmare, totally dis-jointed.
This book, "Sixty-One Nails" was a page turner and totally kept my attention. I really enjoyed this fantasy. It had the perfect mix of description and conversation. Too much description and atmosphere turns me completely off. I found this book perfect in the way it was written.
A regular every day human has a heart attack on the t
2.5 stars. "The smarter, faster brother to Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere has arrived." ??? LOLOLOL. Sorry, but no. It was an ok urban fantasy. I might read the rest of the series. I might not.
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I had read the book blurb which the plot line sounded all-to-familiar. However the book cover and the title nagged at my mind. I then happened onto this piece by Mike Shevdon about urban fantasy which made me very very curious to read this book. In retrospect I've learnt that the title and the front page are very important to the story!

Sixty-One Nails is set in London and features the primary character of Niall Petersen, who leads an or
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
The trouble with fairies is: they're not cool. British folk-lore in general, in fact, can be a bit embarrassing, largely because many of the more powerful, dark or sinister elements got watered down in the Victorian era into the likes of Andrew Lang's fairy books, the Cottingley hoax, and Morris dancing. Any book aiming, therefore, to take on fairyland has a big cringe-factor obstacle to overcome. I struggling with the whole fairy issue during the opening of "Sixty-One Nails" (and spelling it Fe ...more
N.E. White
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sixty-One Nails is Mike Shevdon’s first book. But it doesn’t feel like it. The characters are well defined, the plot engaging, and the story arc brings a satisfactory conclusion to the first book in a series that I predict will become one of my favorites.

The setting is modern day London. But in this world, magic boils beneath the streets. The Feyre, magical creatures from ancient times, walk among the underground trains and rivers hoping to survive among humanity. One group of the Feyre, the Unt
Timothy Ward
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read this four years ago. It was my first urban fantasy, and really opened my eyes to how fascinating the idea of magic under the surface of everyday life can be. The character intrigue is built through a middle aged man who is struggling to stay above water, so to speak, as a divorced father. I really enjoyed him finding purpose and how he fought, not only for his daughter, but also for his world. Another great and unique aspect to this series is how authentic it feels to London and the myths ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just realised I didn't mark as 'read' nor rated nor commented on this one, and I read it nine or ten months ago!

I remember thinking it could have been edited down quite a lot. It's very unlike a lot of other urban fantasy around because the dialogue and language is quite staid and formal - quite British, really, I guess.

I think this is just below a 4 for me, because I didn't find it really special or memorable, but I did find it quietly and understatedly solid and enjoyable.
Emma Bradley
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought some of Mike Shevdon’s books a while back and for some reason started with ‘The Eighth Court’ rather than the first one in the series. I really enjoyed that one but then we started moving house and I started writing again so never got round to catching up with the ones beforehand. I took ‘Sixty One Nails’ on holiday with me recently and quickly got wrapped up in it again.
It sets the scene really quickly as we’re introduced to Blackbird and Niall/Rabbit and I found it easy enough to kee
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
There are four books in the Courts of Feyre series; this is the first book in that series. This book started out really cool and reminded me a lot of Gaiman’s “Neverwhere”, unfortunately it never really went anywhere. I was reading this on Kindle and got about 40% of the way through (215 pages) and realized that not much had really happened yet. I finally stopped reading this book at that 40% mark.

Niall basically dies, is brought back to life, and then finds out he is some sort of fae in the fir
Alicia Huxtable
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
After a slow start that took ages to drag me into the story, I was completely hooked when things gained ground. I didn't want to put the book down. The characters, especially Rabbit and Blackbird are fantastically written and at times quite entertaining. I can't wait to read the next in the series
Kerry Dixon
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a hidden gem of a book. A good read for any urban fantasy fan!
Gareth Otton
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: urban-fantasy
After reading the Dresden Files last year and finding in them the first urban fantasy I have really ever loved since Neverwhere, I've been on a desperate hunt for really good urban fantasy series. Apparently though, good urban fantasy is as hard to catch as the mythical unicorn (the beast that is famous for being impossible to catch).

A month or so ago I struck gold with Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus novels. They were a great set of books set in London that can easily stand up to the brilliance of
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Maybe more of a 3.5 star book, but I quite liked it. It started off a bit dreamy and disconnected, and continued that way a bit, with the feeling that I was reading a myth almost more than being immersed in an adventure. It reminded me more of Charles de Lint that way more than Neil Gaiman, as the cover compared it to (and made me feel vary old in doing so by saying that this is the Neverwhere for the next generation - what generation am I?). In fact, I could see this being the first of many sto ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nutshell blurb: Niall Peterson collapses on the London Underground and is revived by a woman who goes by the name of Blackbird. She is one of the Feyre and he must help her ensure that an ancient ritual is performed in order to prevent all of humankind from being enslaved by the Untainted.

I'm following Ben Aaronovitch on Goodreads and I saw that he read this book and gave it 5 stars so I thought I'd check it out. I can totally see why he did. This was an engaging read that kept me gripped. Anyth
Barbara Martin
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Sixty-One Nails, a debut novel is the first book of The Courts of Feyre series. The title and cover photo, integral to the plot, are revealed through the telling of the story while providing another slant at urban fantasies.

A life which was hidden to Niall Peterson suddenly becomes opened to him when he has a near-death experience after witnessing an accident on the London Underground enroute to work. A woman named Blackbird rescues him and begins Niall’s introduction into the world of the Fayre
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I picked this up as the story looked interesting, and from the adverts and recommendations on the back cover (Neverwhere, Tithe) it seemed like a book I would enjoy.

I can see why this book is compared to Neverwhere, but the only real similarity is that they are both set in an 'alternative' London. Otherwise, these two books are quite different - Niall (how do you even pronounce that?) finds out that he is actually a 'Fayree' (how I hate these ridiculous spellings), with help from his new friend,
JJ DeBenedictis
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is about a man who discovers he's part Fey in a particularly un-fun way--he has a heart attack in the London Underground and then a nasty spirit tries to possess his almost-corpse.

I generally enjoyed this book. It mixes action, historical fact, and myth into a tasty adventure tale of a man finding out he has to give up the life he's made for himself in order to protect his child's life. I liked the prose and I found the main character an interesting change from typical fantasy heroes.
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up because it sounded similar to Neverwhere. It does have certain similarities-a regular man with a regular life, discovers a hidden world within London.

I really liked this story based in alternative London and the well developed characters within it.

The main character, Niall, is easy to relate to. And Blackbird introduces you to this alternative version of the world. A magical world around us, but completely unnoticed. Niall is at first unbelieving that he is in fact part Fe
A book that left me puzzled over the fact of just how much I enjoyed it.
On one hand it's painfully obvious that this is the first book of the author. The dialoges and descriptions are all missing details, so much that sometimes it becomes hard to create a vivid world or even to just follow the dialoge to the point of "who just said this?". Normally, I would call the book sub-standart for this reason alone and never look at it again.
Not this time.
Because on the other hand, the author's raw talent
Beanbag Love
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Make this a three point five.

There were stretches where this book was absolutely engrossing and then there were stretches where I had to skim. It wasn't a book I was dying to get back to either, even if I'd been interrupted during one of the engrossing parts.

I think I didn't connect with either of the lead characters. The protagonist (it's told from the POV of the lead male) was absolutely TSTL at the beginning. And not because he was overwhelmed or uninformed, what he did was so stupid it wen
Evan Burns
Spoilers in my review

The book started out very strong for me, but then lost steam and became very predictable. Rabbit's learning curve and the inevitable love story annoyed me the most. Each escalated very quickly, one day he's struggling with accepting him being Fey then the next morning he's using magic like he's been able to for years. And then him and blackbirds love story it was the most unimaginable and predictable outcome if I had a nickel for every time I met a lady had sex with her the
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Mike Shevdon lives in Bedfordshire, England, with his wife and son, where he pursues the various masteries of archery, technology, and cookery. His love of Fantasy & SF started in the 70s with C S Lewis, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov and continued through Alan Garner, Ursula Le Guin and Barbara Hambly. More recent influences include Mike Carey, Phil Rickman, Neil Gaiman, and Robert Crais, among ...more

Other books in the series

Courts of the Feyre (4 books)
  • The Road to Bedlam (Courts of the Feyre, #2)
  • Strangeness and Charm (Courts of the Feyre, #3)
  • The Eighth Court (Courts of The Feyre, #4)

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