Fallen by Tim Lebbon
Review by Floresiensis
Review by Julia Knight
Ramus and Nomi are Voyagers, a select Guild that seeks to explore the untamed wilds of Noreela and reveal them the past and the rest of civilisation. They obtain some documents in a strange language, papers that seem to suggest that there may be something at the top of the Great Divide, a mind-bogglingly high cliff that runs across the southern plains. But whether it is true remains to be seen – no one has ever climbed the Divide and returned. As Voyagers, the promise of exploring uncharted territory is too much. With a small group of mercenaries, the set out to discover what lies at the top – something that might re-write history.
This book, for me, was split into three very distinct thirds. In the first we are introduced to our leads – Ramus and Nomi. The world-building here is rather heavy- handed in places. Do I need to know how too cook every meal they eat? The habits of every plant and animal? An exaggeration – but not by much. Of course, many readers love these things, so bear in mind this niggle is just my personal preference. Then again it’s maybe a little on the light side in others (what haunts the shadowy nights, exactly?). The pace is slow as they start out on their adventure. The characters are well-drawn if a little on the bland side, though they become stronger as we get to know them. But there is a simmering tension between the two that drew me on.
And a third of the way into the book something delightful happens – the tension explodes, in a way that while surprising ( and for me fantastic – I love a good twist), is also fitting – the seeds having been sown with skill earlier. The middle third of the book rolls along at a much better pace, the author relying less on the outlandish nature of the planet and more on his characters, which become more interesting ( if not exactly likeable) as we carry on.
Sadly for me, this improvement that had me dying to see the end falters when they reach their goal and find what they are looking for. While it’s a pretty epic pre-climax, the ending itself has little to no resolution. Some things that played a large part in the proceedings and should, really have become clear were just…left. And while I like an ambiguous ending at times, some concrete outcome to chew on is preferable. There’s little here, which left me feeling rather deflated and as though the author wasn’t sure how he could end it satisfactorily and so just stopped.
All in all, this a good adventure book ( great for those who love exploration tales, or who need to know every detail of the planet), solidly written, sadly let down by an ending that just didn’t quite deliver it for me.
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