Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Book Review: The Nightside (book series)

Series Title: The Nightside
Author: Simon R. Green
Year Published: 2003 - current
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Current titles in The Nightside series:
  • Something from the Nightside
  • Agents of Light and Darkness
  • Nightingale’s Lament
  • Hex and the City
  • Paths not Taken
  • Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth
  • Hell to Pay
  • The Unnatural Inquirer
  • Just another Judgment Day
  • The Good, the Bad and the Uncanny
  • A Hard Day’s Knight
  • The Bride Wore Black Leather

From the first novel of The Nightside series, the author lures you into another fantasy world where nothing is impossible. It could be your heaven or your hell. A dimension where you can walk among monsters, make deals on the Street of the Gods or if you’re lucky, get eaten by the alien that is posing as a taxi.

Not anyone can find this place. It’s better to say the Nightside chooses its ‘victims’.

Tempted yet?

I was. I expected science fiction and horror. That is exactly what I got. This is not the typical science fiction where your hero defeats the alien robots that have come to take over the earth. If you’re looking for an action -packed science fiction, this is not the right series. However, if you’re looking for a release from our reality into a place of gore and darkness, please read!

Warning: keep an open mind.

So not to spoil too much, it follows a man named John Taylor. He is a detective who is made to return to the Nightside. Through the series you meet the range of characters who appear to be John Taylor's friends/enemies. It’s hard to tell when everyone in the Nightside is ‘every man for himself’.

With help from these frenemies, he solves cases and eventually discovers his origins. 

Every novel has its own plot so you do not need to read it from start to finish, although it will help when the characters refer to situations that happen in previous books.

I was attracted to the author's description of the Nightside and the size of the book. Each book is pretty short. From the first book, Something from the Nightside, I was sold. Simon R. Green does not hold anything back and obviously has no concern over the mental state of his readers. There are no long explanations and no long winded descriptions. Enough for you to understand the situation and to use your imagination.

The book has a good running pace with no boring bits, and a healthy amount of horror. It’s not the type of scary that keeps you up at night, it’s horror you pray you will never experience. In one book, a thief caught by Old Father Time is imprisoned in a painting screaming in pain for all eternity. Another involves an extreme fan-girl being hanged on a hook with her stomach ripped out while still alive.

Romance is not Simon R. Green’s strongest point. There were parts in the books where I would flip pages back to try and find the romantic link between the characters and fail. This however did not put me off as I did not expect romance to be a key element in his books.

This series to this day consists of 12 books with more to come. No doubt within these 12 books there are some areas I don’t like. After reading the first three, I realized most of the characters, who have their own significance in each novel respectively, have attitude problems. Testosterone levels are high even for the female characters. This frustrates me as it makes all the characters have similar personalities - from an insignificant bouncer at a club to the all-guns-blazing Suzie Shotgun, one of the main characters of the books.

The same words are used throughout the novels. “Damnation” being a favorite. 

I have read most, if not all of Simon R. Green's novels and have realized this is his style and appears more in his later books. Because of this, I recommend taking a break between his novels. This will help ease the repetitiveness of the words and character attitudes.

Having written that, I enjoyed The Nightside series. Well paced, no-nonsense science fiction fantasy with enough disturbing situations to forget about our own reality. Definitely worth a try.

Terri's Rating: 4/5


  1. Nice, Theresa!! I need to get onto this series!

    1. Terri: No problem. If you would like any other recommendations on Simon R. Green books just let me know. Or if you like us to do a review on another book you know where to find us.