Thursday, October 21, 2010

Guest Book Review by Jennifer from An Abundance of Books: Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green

We’re lucky enough to have another blogger with us for a guest book review today. Thank you so much! Everyone, here’s Jennifer from An Abundance of Books! Make sure you go check out her blog too, she reviews a great mix of books. :)
An Abundance of Books

Thank you so much to Amanda for letting me visit the blog today!  I enjoy reading her blog and jumped at the chance to be involved in her Halloween Countdown.  It gave me the opportunity (read: forced me) to finally write a review for the Nightside series.  It's a British series that I've enjoyed for a few years now, despite a few cons.

Simon R Green,Something from the Nightside,Nightside,book coversSomething From The Nightside by Simon R. Green
Nightside #1 
Publisher: Ace
Published: 2003 
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Mystery 
paperback-230 pages

Summary from back of book:

Taylor is the name, John Taylor.  My card says I'm a detective, but what I really am is an expert on finding lost things.  It's part of the gift I was born with as a child of the Nightside.

I left there a long time ago, with my skin and sanity barely intact.  Now I make my living in the sunlit streets of London.

But business has been slow lately, so when Joanna Barrett showed up at my door, reeking of wealth, asking me to find her runaway teenage daughter, I didn't say no.

Then I found out exactly where the girl had gone.

The Nightside.  That square mile of Hell in the middle of the city, where it's always three a.m.  Where you can walk beside myths and drink with monsters.  Where nothing is what it seems and everything is possible.

I swore I'd never return.  But there's a kid in danger and a woman depending on me.  So I have no choice - I'm going home.


I'll be blunt, John Taylor is a hard ass with a heart of gold.  He was born in the Nightside - a square mile city in the dark heart of London, "where... the best can be yours, for a price.  Which is sometimes money and sometimes self-respect, and nearly always your soul, in the end."  It's always dark out, the moon is always full, everything and anything can be yours.  Taylor's father drank himself to death after discovering his missing wife wasn't human.  Nobody knows who or what  she really was, but they know John is powerful and could be a mover and shaker if he chose to be (something that has earned him allies and enemies).  Problem is, Taylor doesn't choose to be, he just wants to live his life.  His ability to find anything and he'll always finish, no mater the outcome, making him a valuable man to know and a dangerous man to hire.

Something From The Nightside basically acts as a giant introduction into the world of The Nightside and sets up subsequent books in the series.  Taylor escaped to the real world five years earlier, and life has not been easy.  He agrees to take Joanna's case when he finds out the only clue she has to her daughter's whereabouts is a place called "The Nightside".  Taylor's gift is that he can find anything, but it only works in The Nightside, good thing you can take the subway there.  Once 'home', he discovers that someone, or something, very powerful is shutting out his gift and preventing him from tracking the runaway.  Having to do things the old fashioned way, the investigation takes them to Strangefellows (the oldest bar in the world where Merlin is buried in the wine cellar), a ghost diner from the 60's, a heavily armed group of former alien abductees, and finally the darkest and most violent place in The Nightside.

The Nightside series is gritty, creative, darkly funny and violent without being gross. The Nightside itself is populated with... everything.  There are gods, demons, killers, saints, aliens, cyborgs, timeslips, traffic that eats you, it's all here!  People, or beings, all have these great, twisted nicknames like mobsters in the movie "Snatch".  There's Razor Eddie, Punk god of the Straight Razor; Dead Boy; The Brittle Sisters of the Hive; Suzie Shooter (aka Shotgun Suzie, aka "Oh God, it's her, run!"), and so many more.  I just love the names, the creatures, it's great!

A few quotes to help give you a feel for the series:

I can find anyone or anything, if the price is right.  It's a gift.  I'm dogged and determined and a whole bunch of other things that begin with "d", and I never give up as long as the cheques keep coming... I just find things.  Whether they want to be found or not.


“Why does he need a gun?" said Joanna, her voice back to normal.

“Keeps the other traffic at bay.  Not everything that looks like a car is a car.  And you never know when the trolls are going to take up carjacking again.”


You can usually tell where (Suzie's) been, because it's on fire... She built her reputation on the bodies of her enemies, and a complete willingness to take risks even Norse berserkers would have balked at.  Suzie doesn't know the meaning of the word "fear".  Other concepts she has trouble grasping are "restraint", "mercy", and "self-preservation".


So, some cons...

The character of John Taylor can get a bit long winded, but at least other characters call him on it.  Simon R. Green can be a bit repetitive, sometimes a lot repetitive, in the same book.  While I don't like it, I continue to buy the books because I like the world he's created, his characters grow more complex, and the humor... I love the dark humor.

Something From The Nightside is not my favorite book of the series, but it's a good introduction.  Subsequent books have better stories and characters, but they all have the same dark humor that I've come to love.  The Nightside series has a little bit of everything and is always an enjoyable read.

Nightside series:

  1. Something from the Nightside
  2. Agents of Light and Darkness
  3. Nightingale’s Lament
  4. Hex and the City
  5. Paths Not Taken
  6. Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth
  7. Hell to Pay
  8. The Unnatural Inquirer
  9. Just Another Judgement Day
  10. The Good, the Gad, and the Uncanny
  11. A Hard Day’s Knight

Find out more about Simon R. Green and his other series at his website.

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Thanks again Jennifer! Sounds like I have another series I need to read & a new author I need to start watching out for! Awesome!


Amanda Leigh said...

Thanks so much for the review! I didn't really know anything about this series before now. It sounds like I need to get to catching up on it. :)

yllektra (force-oblique) said...

Oh wow, I haven't heard of this book series but it does sound pretty good and interesting!!!
Thanks for this review/rec!

Jennifer (An Abundance of Books) said...

@ Amanda Leigh - Thank you so much for having me!

@yllektra - I've never really seen this series promoted. I was at the bookstore one weekend, desperate for a read, and picked up book 2, Angels of Light And Darkness. I didn't realize it was a series (that does need to be read in order) until I looked Green up on Amazon.

redhead said...

I picked this up at the used bookstore a few weeks ago, no reason, it just looked cool. Nice to find out that not only is it the first in a series, but it looks really really good too! some adventure, some action, a lot of dark. . . good stuff.