Something From the Nightside: Fast fun urban fantasy

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book reviews Simon R. Green Something From the NightsideSomething From the Nightside by Simon R. Green

I picked up Something From the Nightside on Jim Butcher‘s recommendation and I enjoyed it for what it was: not high literature, but a fast fun read.

John Taylor is a private detective with a gift for finding things. He takes a case about a missing girl that forces him to confront his past and enter the Nightside. John Taylor has a serious reputation in the Nightside and he thought he had left that world behind years ago. Now it seems he has to return, and he uses his old contacts and his dubious reputation to crack the case.

Simon R. Green does a very good job of giving you the feel of the Nightside. I like the world he created — it’s a creative mix of a lot of dark fantasy places we’ve seen before. Overall the story was fun and fast-paced. The cast of violent self-loathing characters, although colorful, got tiresome after awhile, but there are hints of more depth to come in future volumes.

Green’s writing style in this novel is cliché to the point that it starts to feel repetitive. He successfully recreates the private eye noir style, but at times I just wanted him to stop the constant reaffirmation of the Nightside’s weirdness:

  • The Nightside is the secret, hidden, dark heart of the city. London’s evil twin. It’s where the really wild things are….
  • It’s always night in the Nightside. It’s always three o’clock in the morning, and the dawn never comes….
  • You can buy or sell anything in the Nightside, and no-one asks questions. No-one cares. There’s a nightclub, where you can pay to see a fallen angel forever burning inside a pentacle drawn in baby’s blood.
  • Everything you ever feared or dreamed of is running loose somewhere in the shifting streets of the Nightside….
  • You can find anything in the Nightside, if it doesn’t find you first. It’s a sick, magical, dangerous place….

That’s just from first half of chapter one; repeat similar descriptions ad nauseum throughout the entire book. I get it: the Nightside is a creepy, weird, and scary place. Please move on with the story. I’m hoping that since this is the first book in a series and the setting has now been established, that we can move on from describing what’s “in the Nightside” all the time.

Something from the Nightside should provide urban fantasy fans a great way to spend their time. I am definitely looking forward to the next books.

~Justin Blazier


urban fantasy book reviews Simon R. Green Something From the NightsideYep. What Justin said. I listened to the audio version. Marc Vietor did a great job with it.

~Kat Hooper


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JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff since September 2009) is a Cyber-Security Analyst/Network Engineer located in Northern Kentucky. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on authors like Tolkien, Anthony, and Lewis. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. When he is not reading books he is likely playing board games or Tabletop RPGs. Justin lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, their daughter, and Norman the dog.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Sunday Status Update: January 13, 2012 | Fantasy Literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction Book and Audiobook Reviews - [...] disgusting but his stories are fascinating) and Simon R. Green’s Something From the Nightside (Justin’s review sums it up nicely). Last week I…

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