Thursday, 18 February 2016

FANTASY REVIEW: Down Station - Simon Morden

Release Date: 18/02/16
Publisher:  Gollancz


A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through...and find themselves on a wild shore backed by cliffs and rolling grassland. The way back is blocked. Making their way inland they meet a man dressed in a wolf's cloak and with wolves by his side. He speaks English and has heard of a place called London - other people have arrived here down the ages - all escaping from a London that is burning. None of them have returned. Except one - who travels between the two worlds at will. The group begin a quest to find this one survivor; the one who holds the key to their return and to the safety of London.

And as they travel this world, meeting mythical and legendary creatures,split between North and South by a mighty river and bordered by The White City and The Crystal Palace they realise they are in a world defined by all the London's there have ever been.
Reminiscent of Michael Moorcock and Julian May this is a grand and sweeping science fantasy built on the ideas, the legends, the memories of every London there has ever been.


I’ve read Simon’s work before and with a new book coming out I thought that I’d be in for a treat at the beginning of a new year. After all nothing says a kick in the teeth from an author like “New Year, new book.” As with Simon’s other writing the thing that really makes this title sing is Simon’s principle characters. They’re the sort of people you think you could actually meet, feel real and entice you into caring about their tale as Simon twists his evil authorly mind into all sorts of shapes to make things hard for them.

That said, and whilst the book did give me a reasonable read, I felt that for me the supporting cast were pretty flat and with such an exciting new world to discover felt that they really needed to be better fleshed out so that you cared when something happened. It is a twist on a “what if” type of title and with a world that can be heaven or hell depending upon how you see things all round generates a read that was a solid title if a little underwhelming in places.

All round, whilst this is a middle of the road book for me as I had some problems with pace within the pages I do feel that it’s a set up for a longer sequence and with a lot of the background already established now, perhaps these errors will be fixed in the next outing.

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