The dark is rising....
Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect, Rob Toshack, is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal.
Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law - until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again.
As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment, and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game - and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.
Paul Cornell has written some of Doctor Who's best-loved episodes for the BBC. He has also written on a number of comic book series for Marvel and DC, including X-Men and Batman and Robin. He has been Hugo Award nominated for his work in TV, comics, and prose, and won the BSFA award for his short fiction. London Falling is his first urban fantasy novel.
©2013 Paul Cornell (P)2014 Audible Studios
"He's gone and written a novel too! I suspect it will be just as good as everything else he's written, and that's not fair at all." (George R R Martin)
It took a while to understand the roles of the team as I was only half paying attention at the start and the names were so confusing... Costan, Sefton, toshack, quill... I couldn't work out who was the main character... Soon I realised there wasn't one, but four!
I loved the depth that added to the story. However sometimes it was easy to get lost as to what character he was talking about as the narrator sometimes as it changes quickly between the four characters.
Overall I loved it though!!
I was a little hesitant to pick up one more urban noir fantasy set in London having already read Peter Grant, Alex Verus, Felix Castor, and Courts of Feyre - all UNF series set in or around London. However, London is 2000 years old and packed with history so I finally decided the city could probably support one more. Good decision, me! After listening to London Falling, I decided that London actually could support several more UNF series if there are more writers like Paul Cornell.
The Publisher's Summary is quite sufficient to give you a flavor of this tale and get you started, however, I will note an explanation of one thing that confused me at the outset in case it might help someone else. The story begins with two detectives, Costain and Sefton, undercover attempting to bust a mob boss, Rob Toshack. DI James Quill (Costain's and Sefton's boss) has a brief meeting with Costain in a men's room to give him instructions. The very beginning of the book was a bit confusing to me because I didn't quite understand who were the bad guys, who were the police, and how they were interacting. Part of this is because Damian Lynch uses a very authentic accent for the seedier types of London, which nicely sets the tone of the book, but makes for a challenge for American ears. You have to get the rhythm of that accent before you can really understand what is being said and who is saying it. I would encourage you to stay with it, because once you get clear (it only takes about 15 minutes), this gritty, history-soaked tale really takes off.
There are several things in this series that make it unique and bear special mention:
1. I like urban noir fantasy, especially when the dark stories are offset a bit with humor and good characters. London Falling has both - no LOL, but lots of wry, ironic moments and believable, fleshed out characters.
2. Unlike most UNF, there is no one central wizard, mage, or necromancer. If fact, in the beginning, there are no magic-wielders on the protagonist side at all. Each of the four central protagonists has a backstory that draws him/her into the mystery and each has certain talents that are enhanced and informed by one moment that the four share while trying to solve the case. From that point, although Quill is "in charge", the four members of the team are equal and essential to the resolution of the mystery. So, this is a "team" series rather than another "lone wolf" escapade.
3. London Falling is very dark and truly gritty. Unlike several authors I have read recently, Cornell seems to understand that gritty and vulgar are not synonyms. There isn't much coarse language or lewdness in London Falling, but there is a deep creepiness that makes London Falling read more like some horror mysteries than like other UNF novels.
I have continued this series with the next book, The Severed Streets, and there were lots more surprises and another story utilizing the loooooong, crazy history of London. And, once you adjust your ears to Damian Lynch, I think you'll enjoy this narrator, too.
"One of the best books I've heard!"
The character development of our four "heroes" was just wonderful. I felt like I really understood what made them tick, even in the bizarre supernatural world that they discovered. In the middle of incredible and incomprehensible events, I cared and cheered for these people.
Somehow this impossible world became plausible. I think it's very, very difficult for an author to maintain any credibility while writing about the supernatural - but this book does it. The plot held water in a way that built suspense and was immensely satisfying at the end.
He has a sort of halting style that was a little distracting at first, but quickly it became just right for the story because it gave me a bit of time to think between phrases. This can be a tough story to follow but the narrator helped make it work. Plus, of course, his accent is brilliant!
Its British-ness was wonderful to hear! I am one of the countless American anglo-philes out there; this book was written for Brits alone so I had to work to understand some of the language that was used. A labor of love!
Can't WAIT to listen to the sequel.
"Coopers meets the occult; interesting clash"
Couldn't stop listening. As a fan of the Dresden Files and Iron Druid and the like this was different in a good way, being more serious and a tad darker.
"Riveting and well narrated"
A great example of the hidden London genre with an excellent juxtaposition of solid police mythology with the supernatural world. The narration is immersive with Damian Lynch presenting a whole cast of voices, all with authentic but very understandable local accents.
"English horror mystery"
This is a very good book to listen to however I will say due to the english accent you might find yourself listening to it more than once. It has a Stephen King feel to it so it does hurry to develop the story. But once your into this book I believe you will really love this story.
So I guess there are couple of these series out now, with London Police dealing with the supernatural. Among this group London Falling had little to separate it from the crowd. None of the characters are especially likeable, and I found several just plain annoying and/or condescending. Nothing about the plot was particularly clever and, as far as magic systems and the supernatural goes, this was pretty poorly developed. There's some potential for this to improve in future books in the series, but I'm not sure I want to spend another credit on any more books in this series to find out.
I was also not a fan of Damian Lynch's narration. His voice was fine, and while the range between characters wasn't great, it was adequate. However, he continually has these long pauses between phrases and sentences. It's incredibly annoying to the point where I wanted to shout at him, "Get on with it!" It would go something like this: brief phrase, pause... end of phrase. Long pause... (like he's finding his spot in the text), Next sentence. Another pause, and so on. This book would probably be several hours shorter if that stuff was edited out. There were also several other parts where the narrator repeats himself because he lost his place so editing overall was pretty shoddy.
As for this London supernatural police sub-genre, I much preferred Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series.
"Good gritty Urban Fantasy"
Good gritty Urban Fantasy with an homage to Lovecraft's Dreams in a Witch House.
Excellently developed characters.
"a darker British cop version of the dresden files"
i have wanted to read this since it was released in the uk. Now i have and love it's dark yet funny tone .
the cat i don't really have a reason
where is the second book
This book did nothing for me except bore me to death. I stuck with it until chapter 18 and had enough.
In the first part of the book I could not get a grasp of what was going on and the relationship between the characters because the accent was so bad. Therefore, I had to listen to the first chapter a few times. There was some dysfunction among the detectives, that I still missed.
As you know from the summary, a team of detectives has acquired sight to see the supernatural world. The sight gave them the proof to think outside the box. They identified a series murders, which had been committed for decades involving the supernatural. The entity had dealing with a notorious mob family. The smell and description of the other-world gave a dark feel. The child kidnappings and murders was on the light side because of the lack of detail.
My one complaint –Most action consists of the police team running from danger. There is not one gun fired! I have read enough British novels to know that the officers do not carry firearms. Some of those I have enjoyed. But not this one. The action consists of the team utilizing police procedures to solving supernatural crimes. Why does that sound like an oxymoron? Police procedures, which suggest very human procedures and supernatural, that which goes contrary to the normal. We identify things are supernatural because they do not fall within man’s spectrum of normal. The entity they are dealing with can bend time.
"Great Story Awful Narration."
It took me three tries to get through this story because of how bad the narrator reads.
If I could give performance 0 stars I would.
He breaks up the flow of the story by pausing for an incredible long time at each break in a sentence/paragraph. It was like listening to a bad British Capt. Kirk imitator.
The story itself was so fresh, new, and unlike any other urban fantasy that I did enjoy it immensely that third time.
"Starts slow and a bit confusing but stick with it!"
I wasn't sure at first. The first chapter dumps you straight in the middle of an undercover police operation which is about to get chaotic and there is no exposition to help you understand what is going on. But then the magical stuff starts to happen and it turns out the protagonists have no idea what is going on either. I read a review that said if Rivers of London is The Bill, then London Falling is The Sweeney; darker and more violent. Like Ben Aaronovitch's London, it's authentically multi-cultural and all kinds of magic grows from the city's lengthy history and complex mythology. I LIVE for this stuff :)
There's one amazing reveal that is brilliantly handled. Really did not see it coming and it's perfect - I genuinely gasped out loud when I realized.
It's the start of a series and whilst the main storyline is resolved there is lots of setup for the next book(s). From initially thinking it wasn't for me (NB Wolves of London which I really couldn't get on with) I ended up binge listening and getting the sequel straight away to binge listen to that too.
Damian Lynch does a great job; well pace, all the characters clearly differentiated and believable.
"Too much of everything.."
I can only agree to some of other reviews - the story line sounds too familiar and it is quite hard to get in to the story at first. If you are a fan of Ben Aaronovitch and expect something like Rivers of London there might be a disappointment. For my taste there is too much of everything - witch sanctifying children according the football scores, talking cats and time travel, even a hint of free masonry... If with Aaronovitch`s books one actually starts to believe the story and it positively drags you in, then with this story you just do not believe. I had to force to listen until the end, just out of curiosity how it shall end.
The performance though is very impressive.
"A cracking book"
If you liked Rivers of London, London Revenant or the Jack Nightingale books you will like this one, its a new slant on the urban supernatural thriller with elements of a police Procedural and who done it, with realistic flawed characters.
Damian Lynch gives a really good performance.
I will certainly be looking forward to the next book in this series "the Severed Streets"
"A great find."
Yes I'd read it again. I struggled a little to get into the story at the very beginning but am SO glad I stuck with it. I really did enjoy it and intend to go straight back and start again now that I know the characters. If you find yourself in the same situation I urge you to keep going, you won't regret it.
Well read and with lots of character.
You know it's a great book when you find yourself frozen, fork half way to your mouth mid meal, totally transported.
Can't wait for book two.
"What the devil?"
Magical horror squad
Highly unconventional and was kept in suspense by a very unusual tale.
Good pace, but let down by too many similarities between accents of key players so I kept forgetting who was gay and straight. Horror scenes not really scary as they should be.
Not really, needed to have a break between some of the horror scenes.
Fans of West Ham should probably avoid ;-)
"I can't wait for book 2"
I found this quite difficult to get into at first but I'm glad I stuck with it. The tension is on from the first chapter and I listened to the whole thing over a weekend. The book is both a satisfying crime thiller and a thouroughly enjoyable fantasy adventure.
Was a good listen and I liked the story,. I have listened to Rivers of London and a couple that came after and this seemed very similar - perhaps its a Genre thing. It is a good and well written story and is enjoyable, but it was so close to Rivers of London themes for me I couldn't quite get into it as much as I would have liked.
"Good story but seemed very familiar...."
Not sure if it's the style of Dr Who writers but this very much in the same vein as Ben Aaronovitch albeit in the third person as opposed to first; rozzers with particular skills. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh but my overall opinion is "good story but seemed very familiar". If it wasn't for this it would be a five star story. The performance is let down, not by Damian Lynch, who did very well, but the editing which produced lots of repeats.
"Fantastic Listen - if you like this sort of thing!"
I really enjoyed London Falling - I did have to listen to the beginning a couple of times to get into the story initially - but give it a go - you will not be disappointed. A top 10 listen!
Well, I like The Rivers of London series a lot - and this is not like those although it has a similar strand ( and no underlying humour in London Falling) although perhaps the characters in the Rivers series are a bit deeper. I also enjoy Neil Gaimans writing and am a big fan of Stephen King. If you like a dark big romping tale - give this a go.
Maura and her cat (and Lisa Ross)
no - took a bit of getting into. I did then listen to it again back to back
If you like dark stories, with familiar places and contemporary characters - then give this a go, The only disappointment is there are no more Paul Cornell books on Audible right now
"Not enough variation in voices but interesting tale"
Wasn't at all what I was expecting but a good listen none the less.
Narrator was very clear but I got a bit confused sometimes as to who was speaking.
On to book two......
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