Paul Cornell is a name known to many thanks to his work in ‘Doctor Who’ fiction and comics writing, having written some of the best British-related DC superheroes in recent history. I loved his run on ‘Knight and Squire’ and much has been said of his ‘Captain Britain and MI: 13’ series. So when I saw he had written an urban fantasy novel set in London, I jumped at the chance to read it.
Sadly, Paul Cornell’s imagination didn’t have the greatest outlet, which was disappointing, because ‘London Falling’ had such an interesting and exciting story to tell.
Set in a London no doubt very much like our own, this story tells what happens when four of London’s police-force are inadvertently forced into the world of London magic. They have no supervisor or mentor to guide them – an interesting plot choice, and one which makes it all the more upsetting that Cornell couldn’t pull off the writing job necessary to tell this intriguing tale.
Littered to the point of absurdity with ‘authentic London slang’ and a haphazard-disjointed writing style, London Falling is a really tough book to get through. I had to fight through unclear storytelling, point of views, and reveals, leaving me confused as to what had happened, why it happened, and what the relevance was.
A London urban fantasy book simply must include traditional aspects of London culture – its language, understanding, and feel – but not to the detriment of anyone who lives outside the 32 boroughs.
So finishing this book was a real disappointment, given how intriguing the underlying story seemed. While it was a little hard to gauge all the nuances of the story that Cornell was trying to tell, the reality is, in other hands this could have been a gold-star book. And no doubt, if Cornell tried a little less to make this “authentic” then I have every confidence he would be capable of conveying this story in a manner accessible to anyone.
If you are from London, then this book might make more sense to you, however I still feel that it is a book suffering from disjointed narrative.
Review by Joshua S Hill
6/10 from 1 reviews
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