The White City by Simon Morden

Rating 8.0/10
An exciting sequel to Down Station that leaves the main characters forever changed

The White City is Morden’s follow up to Down Station. If you haven’t read Down Station yet, please do not continue to read this review as there may be spoilers below. My review for Down Station can be found here.

Following where we left our survivors at the end of the last novel, an uneasy alliance has formed with Crows joining Dilip, Mary, Mama, Luiza and Elena. Dilip, Mary, Mama, Luiza and Elena are the last of the group that came through Down Station together. They are still wary of the land they find themselves in and distrustful of the way Down changes the people who inhabit it. With Mary now fully embracing her new powers which allow her to change her shape and fly, the others are trying to not be affected by Down.

Their new goal is to get to the White City with the maps they took from the defeated geomancer. Crows has promised the group that he will help them find the White City. Where reminiscent of the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz they should be able to find the answers to their questions about Down and whether it is possible to get back to their London. Not fully trusting Crows, the group gingerly follow him to a shoreline, where they discover that just like places to stay if you need something then Down will provide. Waiting for a boat to grow out of the ground they are unsurprisingly betrayed by Crows who wants the maps for himself. Mary decides to track down Crows, as she should be able to slow him down enough so that the others can catch up to her. Whilst Dilip and the others end up joining a ship full of pirates who agree to get them to the White City.

In Down Station we got to know the characters of Dilip and Mary quite well, we now get to see how they are both dealing and adapting to Down. Dilip still just wants to go home, to follow the plan set out for him by his family. Down, though, continually challenges him and Dilip is slowly becoming someone who takes risks on his quest to discover why Down exists. Mary who had already accepted the changes that happened to her is hoping that once she has helped the others work out how to get home, she will be able to enjoy everything about Down. Dilip and Mary are still learning to trust and lean on each other, even with their conflicting personalities and their ability to misunderstand each other.

The horrors and delights of Down continue to expand throughout this novel as they meet more inhabitants of this strange land. Dilip and Mary’s expectations are always thrown off kilter by their experiences, with the White City being no exception. Whether they find the answers they are looking for or not, Down has more surprises to throw in their way, testing their resourcefulness as the secrets of the White City are even more deadly than their previous encounters with the residents of the geomancer’s castle. The White City is an exciting sequel to Down Station that leaves the main characters forever changed by their experiences with an ending that left me astonished.

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