Dusk and Dawn by Tim Lebbon
For Tim Lebbon, multiple award-winning (Bram Stoker, Tombstone, Shocker, British Fantasy) author of numerous horror/supernatural-themed novels and short stories, the Dusk and Dawn duology marks the writer’s first attempt at a fully realized fantasy world with mixed results.
Before we get into the positives and negatives of the novels, it must be noted that Dawn is a direct sequel to Dusk, so it’s necessary to have read the one before the other, because basically we’re talking about a single story split into two volumes. For this review, I’ll be mainly looking at the duology as a whole.
First, the good: Far and away the most fascinating feature of Dusk and Read More
Tim Lebbon(1969- )
Tim Lebbon has had several nominations for best novel from the British Fantasy Society and Bram Stoker awards. You can learn more about his many horror novels at Tim Lebbon’s website.
Noreela — (2006-2008) Fallen is a prequel and After the War is a collection of two novellas set in the Noreela world. Publisher: Kosar the thief senses that Rafe Baburn is no ordinary boy. After witnessing a madman plunder Rafe’s village and murder his parents, Kosar knows the boy needs his help. And now, for a reason he cannot fathom, others are seeking the boy’s destruction. Uncertain where to begin, Kosar turns to A’Meer, an ex-lover and Shantasi warrior whose people, unbeknownst to him, have been chosen to safeguard magic’s return. A’Meer knows instantly that it is Rafe who bears this miracle of magic. Now Kosar and a band of unexpected allies embark on a battle to protect one special boy. For dark forces are closing in–including the Mages, who have been plotting their own triumphant return.
Dusk and Dawn by Tim Lebbon
Dusk by Tim Lebbon
After reading about Dusk, I really thought I'd like it better than I did.
Dusk has some good things going for it. The villains were very interesting characters, and a couple of the heroes were too, and the world did have its intrigue. Also, I have to say, Tim Lebbon really knows how to keep the reader guessing. In fact, it was good enough to keep me reading till the end.
On the other hand, I felt kind of lost, or maybe ripped-off. I admit, I do lean more toward heroic fantasy but I can get into something like this too. (I thought Stephen King's Dark Tower was great after all.)
I read fantasy for the same reason that many fantasy readers do — escapism — and I just couldn't lose myself in this s... Read More
Fallen by Tim Lebbon
Set 4000 years before the Dusk and Dawn duology, Fallen takes readers back to a different Noreela, one that is still dangerous and familiar due to the inclusion of tumblers, skull ravens, the always mysterious Cantrass Angels, Ventgorian wine, fodder and other familiarities, but this version of the world is not nearly as despairing and still possesses a sense of hope — of potential. In this time period, much of Noreela remains uncharted and is a playground for the Voyagers whose vocation is to discover the undiscovered. For the Voyagers their greatest challenge, their Mt. Everest if you will, is the Great Divide in the south, a vertical cliff that rises miles into the sky and extends from east to west seemingly forever. According to legend, the Great Divide marks the end of the world and no one who... Read More
After the War by Tim Lebbon
In my mind, one of the best things about reading fantasy and science fiction is getting to discover other worlds, and for me it doesn’t get much better than Tim Lebbon’s Noreela. Noreela is a fascinating post-apocalyptic world where machines once operated fueled by magic, where drugs can turn a person into a sex god or allow your spirit to travel from your body, where dangerous creatures like the Nax, Tumblers, and Mimics roam the land, and where stories are just begging to be told. After the War features two novellas set in the unforgettable land of Noreela.”
“Vale of Blood Roses” takes place not long after the end of the Cataclysmic War — about three hundred years before Dusk — and concerns an ex-soldier who receives an unwanted reminder of his bloody past that was best left forgotten. From here, the story cuts between the pres... Read More
The Hidden Cities — (2008-2011) Christopher Golden with Tim Lebbon. These are stand-alone novels with a similar theme. Publisher: You never know when you’ll find yourself falling through one of the cracks in the world.… Two of today’s brightest stars of dark fantasy combine their award-winning, critically acclaimed talents in this spellbinding new tale of magic, terror, and adventure that begins when a young woman slips through the space between our everyday world and the one hiding just beneath it. Always assume there’s someone after you. That was the paranoid wisdom her mother had hardwired into Jasmine Towne ever since she was a little girl. Now, suddenly on her own, Jazz is going to need every skill she has ever been taught to survive enemies both seen and unseen. For her mother had given Jazz one last invaluable piece of advice, written in her own blood: Jazz Hide Forever. All her life Jazz has known them only as the “Uncles,” and her mother seemed to fear them as much as depend on them. Now these enigmatic, black-clad strangers are after Jazz for reasons she can’t fathom, and her only escape is to slip into the forgotten tunnels of London’s vast underground. Here she will meet a tribe of survivors calling themselves the United Kingdom and begin an adventure that links her to the ghosts of a city long past, a father she never knew, and a destiny she fears only slightly less than the relentless killers who’d commit any crime under heaven or earth to prevent her from fulfilling it.
Mind the Gap by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Even though Mind the Gap is extremely fast-paced, the novel started out really slowly for me and it wasn’t until 160 pages in that I began to get excited about the book. The problem was that for almost the first half it seemed like Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon were just going through the motions, delivering a plot that was one recognizable convention after another:
The protagonist’s mother mysteriously murdered by shadowy people and forced on the run… Raised to trust no one, Jazz constantly lives in a state of paranoia… Discovers a forgotten subterranean Underworld of abandoned bomb shelters and train stations… The whole London backdrop and its ghosts of the past… A group of runaway urchins — and their Fagin-like mentor Mr. F — who survive by stealing from those ‘topside’… Possessing abilities that no... Read More
The Map of Moments by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon
Mind the Gap, the first collaboration between award-winning and bestselling authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, was a solid offering, marred by a slow start and conventional plotting, but ended on a very strong note. Their second collaboration follows a somewhat similar path — slow beginning, powerful ending — but with some key differences.
Firstly, the setting for The Map of Moments is much more interesting than it was in Mind the Gap. No offense against the city, but I’ve read so many books set in London that every time I go back there, it’s like déjà vu. On the flipside, I’ve only read one short story set in post-Katrina New Orleans, so reading a novel in that milieu was a fresh experience. Of course, it also helps that the... Read More
The Shadow Men by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon
The Shadow Men is the fourth book in Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon’s THE HIDDEN CITIES series. If (like me) you’re not familiar with the previous books, it may be good to know that all four books can be read as standalone novels that share a common premise but (as far as I know) no major characters or plot elements. In the series’ fantasy universe, cities have something like a soul or consciousness, which is incarnated in a human “Oracle” who helps the inhabitants and the city itself. The previous three novels (Mind the Gap, The Map of Moments and The Chamber of Ten) were set in London, New Orleans and Venice respectively, and The Shadow Men takes place in Boston.
When Jim wakes up from... Read More
Toxic City — (2012-2013) Publisher: The Hunger Games meets the X-Men in an exciting postapocalyptic debut. Two years after London is struck by a devastating terrorist attack, it is cut off from the world, protected by a military force known as Choppers. The rest of Britain believes that the city is now a toxic, uninhabited wasteland. But Jack and his friends — some of whom lost family on what has become known as Doomsday — know that the reality is very different. At great risk, they have been gathering evidence about what is really happening in London — and it is incredible. Because the handful of London’s survivors are changing. Developing strange, fantastic powers. Evolving. Upon discovering that his mother is still alive inside London, Jack, his sister, and their three friends sneak into a city in ruins. Vast swathes have been bombed flat. Choppers cruise the streets, looking for survivors to experiment upon. The toxic city is filled with wonders and dangers that will challenge Jack and his friends… and perhaps kill them. But Jack knows that the truth must be revealed to the outside world or every survivor will die.
Reaper’s Legacy by Tim Lebbon
Reaper’s Legacy is the second book in Tim Lebbon’s young-adult paranormal adventure series Toxic London. In London Eye, someone released a strange serum or toxin called Evolve into London, two years earlier, a day now called Doomsday. Millions died. The world has been told that the entire city is a poisoned wasteland, cut off from the rest of England, but within the city, the survivors are changing, mutating, developing paranormal abilities. Jack is searching the deadly ruins of the city to rescue his mother and sister; while his friend Lucy-Anne, aided by the enigmatic boy Rook, seeks her missing brother in Hampstead Heath. Lucy-Anne has precognitive dreams, and as the book opens she is haunted by a dream that ends with a nuclear mushroom cloud engulfing London.
I have not read London Eye, but I think I picked up what was going on pretty eas... Read More
Echo City by Tim Lebbon
Echo City is a vast and ancient city in the middle of a huge, deadly desert. Its inhabitants have been isolated for thousands upon thousands of years and have come to believe that the city is actually all of the world, because venturing out into the surrounding desert is certain death. During its immense history, the city has renewed itself countless times by building new layers on top of the old, not like layers of sediment but more like floors in a building, with the old “echoes” of its past slowly decaying in underground vaults.
Peer Nadawa is a political dissident, living in exile in an isolated prison district in the city, recuperating from the shock and torture she endured in the hands of the Marcellans, Echo City’s religious rulers. After all, before her capture, Peer was a member of the outlawed Watchers, who believe that there’s more to the world than just Echo City. Gorham, her former love... Read More
The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Christopher Golden (ed.)
FORMAT/INFO: The New Dead is 400 pages long divided over nineteen short stories. Also includes a Foreword by the editor Christopher Golden, and biographies on all of the anthology’s contributors. February 16, 2010 marks the North American Trade Paperback publication of The New Dead via St. Martin’s Griffin. Cover art provided by Per Haagensen. The UK version will be published on February 18, 2010 via Piatkus Books under the altered title: Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead. Subterranean Press is also producing a limited signed edition of The ... Read More
The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by John Joseph Adams
In this collection of stories, compiled by John Joseph Adams, a variety of authors invent cases that Sherlock Holmes might encounter if our world were just a bit different. These are cases in which the “improbable” occurs. Most of the stories involve some sort of fantastical situation in which Holmes is required to go outside of his normal logic-based abilities and enter the realm of fantasy. The array of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi authors is quite extensive. Laurie King, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Baxter and Robert Sawyer are just a few of the names that grace this anthology.
I enjoyed the premise of the book ver... Read More
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since it was first announced in 2009. I was particularly excited about the anthology’s impressive list of contributors which includes several authors I enjoy reading like Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tim Lebbon, Read More
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery is an excellent new anthology of original short fantasy fiction, featuring an impressive mixture of established genre masters and newer, highly talented authors. The book’s introduction, by editors Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan, does an excellent job defining the sword & sorcery sub-genre and placing it in its historical context. This is an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the genre and doesn’t have a copy of John Clute and John Grant’s The Encyclopedia of Fantasy handy, but the main... Read More
Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders
As the title suggests, Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders have gathered seventeen new and original sword & sorcery tales in this anthology. The stories are written by a variety of successful authors, bringing to play a broad range of styles and themes. I’m a huge fan of sword & sorcery (it’s what got me into fantasy). So I was extremely eager to get my hands on this book.
I did find Swords and Dark Magic to be heavier on the “sorcery” than the “sword,” more so than is my preference. (Like the greatest S&S hero, Conan the Cimmerian, I subscribe to the belief that when the gods breathed life into mankind, we were gi... Read More
The Secret Journeys of Jack London — (2011-2012) Christopher Golden with Tim Lebbon. Ages 9-12. Publisher: The world knows Jack London as a writer who lived his own thrilling, real-life adventures. But there are parts of his life that have remained hidden for many years, things even he couldn’t set down in writing. Terrifying, mysterious, bizarre, and magical — these are the Secret Journeys of Jack London. We meet Jack at age seventeen, following thousands of men and women into the Yukon Territory in search of gold. For Jack, the journey holds the promise of another kind of fortune: challenge and adventure. But what he finds in the wild north is something far more sinister than he could have ever imagined: kidnapping and slavery, the murderous nature of desperate men, and, amidst it all, supernatural beasts of the wilderness that prey upon the weakness in men’s hearts. Jack’s survival will depend on his ability to quell the demons within himself as much as those without. Acclaimed authors Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon, along with illustrator Greg Ruth, have crafted a masterful tale both classic and contemporary, a gripping original story of the paranormal in the tradition of the great Jack London.