Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review: Nekropolis

Tim Waggoner, 2009, Angry Robot

Almost 400 years ago, Father Dis opened a portal that allowed the myriad supernatural entities of Old Earth to colonise a dark planet in another dimension. Welcome to Nekropolis, bustling metropolis of the undead and indefinable, home to vampires, werewolves, and things that go bump in the night. Problem is, unless Matt Richter - zombie, detective, and relative newcomer to the Dark City - can get to the bottom of what appears to be a simple case of jewel theft, Nekropolis might not be around for another 400 years. In fact, it might not even last through the next twelve hours...

Nekropolis can best be described as a fun read. The crime / dark fantasy mash-up works well, the plot rolls along at a decent pace, and the main characters are relatively engaging.

My one issue with the book - and unfortunately, it's a fairly big one - is that the whole thing falls way below the expectations created by the back-cover blurb, which likens Nekropolis to the works of Charlie Huston and John Meaney, among others. Perhaps, I'd have been more satisfied with the novel if I'd not expected deep insights into the society and culture of Nekropolis on par with Huston's insights into vampire-run Brooklyn, or if I'd not expected the city of Nekropolis to be so richly described that it became a character in its own right, as with Meaney's Tristopolis. By comparison with the aforementioned, Nekropolis (both the novel and the city) came across as frustratingly insubstantial, with the the various locations and situations experienced by the main protagonists largely failing to gel in terms of providing a genuine 'feel' for the location.

In a nutshell: Nekropolis is worth reading. It is a fun read. Just don't approach it thinking you're getting into anything other than a light romp.

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