Book Title: Down Station
Author: Simon Morden
Publisher: Gollancz 2016
Source: The library, my second home
Page Count: 340
Format: Fiction :D
Audience: Adults..maybe YAs
Summed up in one word: POTENTIAL!
First Impressions: I thought Simon Morden's Metrozone series was awesome, so I picked this up already primed for a great read and I was not disappointed. Down Station is not a ground-breaking book, the story and characters are well written, if not for the time being a tad generic but they have serious potential as does the story overall. This is fantasy, with swearing, violence and mystery.
Summary of the Book:
A handful of londoners get trapped in a life threatening situation whilst working their jobs in the London Underground. They seek refuge from danger in a disused train platform which turns out to be a dead end. Just when they think their lives are at an end they discover a portal to a different world. This world is called Down and it has very different rules to our earth!
Their journey takes them through the major pits and perils of the land, meeting the people of Down, learning their stories and attempting to find a way back to London. There are monsters, mysteries and maps, with plenty of swearing and violence thrown into the mix. The main characters Mary and Dalip both find their way and their selves in this unforgiving land full of unforgiving people.
This is a story set in a fantasy land, where people change over time depending on their natural strengths and weaknesses, the strong become heroes, the compassionate become healers and the bad...they turn into sinister beings who want the land for themselves. Down is world similar to all the other fantasy worlds we see across fiction, there are a few original concepts but its business as usual in terms of the stories setting. This is a shame as I have a feeling there will be more revealed in the future, but if SM had included some more detail in the first outing then it would have made this an amazing book instead of a greatly enjoyable one.
The real show pieces are the characters, a diverse group, with lots of different character styles. Some are very standard people, the hard Eastern European, the Den Mother who takes everyone under her wing and some evil henchmen who take the fall to protect their masters. I felt the lead characters were very well written, if not a bit infuriating at times but with this hopefully becoming a trilogy I am seriously looking forward to seeing where SM is taking their stories.
Mary is a moody ne'er-do-well, who is looking for excuses to run away from her crappy life, she manages to get this opportunity in the form of a portal to a new world. Though Mary is fearful at first, she uses anger and profanity to make her way through the world and eventually realise her potential. I did not like Mary at first as she was arrogant, stroppy and power hungry to begin with but by the end I was rooting for her.
Dalip is the other main character of this story and he is by far my favourite. Dalip is a Sikh who has no real life experience outside of his family life. Dalip is boy who always does the right thing and has the harder journey of the two strongest characters. Dalip is forced to do things he never imagined he would do in his life, his story is full of pain, overcoming fear and fighting monsters who want to harm his friends.
There are many other character who are included to bring some other great plot reveals but I don't want to spoil everything if you decide this is the sort of story that you would enjoy. In my opinion, this is a very safe book, it is well written and I found it enjoyable to the point that I read it in 3 sittings, but the real talking point is the potential this story has to be awesome across a trilogy, so Simon Morden this better be a trilogy!!
I recommend this book for those who love a bit of badass fantasy fiction, with an additional enjoyment of a evolving story that doesn't just play it's hand straight of the bat. If you read Down Station and love it then you should definitely check out SM's Samuil Petrovitch trilogy (the front covers are crazy!) while you wait for a sequel :D.
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Thanks for reading!