Night Fall, the final installment of several of Simon R. Green’s iconic series, but especially the Nightside and Secret Histories ones, is probably one of the most anticipated urban fantasy and neo-noir (or should that be neon-noir?) novels of 2018.
Does it live up to the expectations?
Mixing the Nightside and Secret Histories is something that works, as we can remember from Secret Histories’ third book, The Spy Who Haunted Me. But it really works well here.
From the very start, Night Fall is a rollercoaster. It’s one of those books you start and have a hard time putting down. It’s not just any story unfolding, it’s the ending of many beloved characters. Which is something advertised on the cover, but not something we’ll go into deeper, as you will find no spoilers here.
There is a bit of a chance, as the narrative has switched from first- to third-person. But that is an excellent choice. Focusing on several characters from that perspective allows for a better inclusion in the story, which is essential in a work so vast and complex as Night Fall.
The book doesn’t focus on the most famous characters from the Nightside and Secret Histories. The characters aren’t just the series regulars, so to speak, and that’s partly what makes it great. You do see quite a few of those pop up, but the fact that previously unknown characters get thrown in the mix is what keeps the story fresh and interesting.
Th book’s premise of the Droods going to war in the Nightside does not disappoint. You may think that this is just the umptieth big battle in/for the Nightside, only with different antagonists, and while there is something to that, this story goes much deeper than just the scene of a war.
While several settings are mixed together, Green manages to stay true to the core of all of them, even though the book mostly takes place in that secret dark heart of London.
Did the Droods get more than they bargained for by taking on the Long Night? Or has John Taylor finally met a match too big for him and his marvelous gift?
What about all the other characters from those settings we’ve come to love over the past years?
Who will live and who will die?
And how will things unavoidably end full stop?
Night Fall is bittersweet for sure. On one hand, it is a book like the ones we’ve come to love from Simon Green: great characters, dark fantasy and neon-noir and a story that leaves you wanting for more. And that’s just the thing: this really is the end. You’ll just have to read for yourself whether or not it’s a happy one.
On another note: I do feel that if you haven’t read at least some of the Nightside, Secret Histories and Ghost Finders books (the more the better), you will be left with a bunch of unanswered questions. Not to the point where you cannot enjoy this book, but it might be a bit annoying.
I’m not going to lie, this not my favorite Simon R. Green book. That’s still A Hard Day’s Knight. And I still feel that the ending of the Ghost Finders series, Forces From Beyond, is the best in literary history. But this is definitely something you should pick up if you’re into any of the Simon R. Green settings covered here (Nightside, Secret Histories, Ghost Finders).
I’m glad these series got a proper sendoff. That and it is a pretty darn good book that I would absolutely recommend if you’re into dark or uban fantasy.