Review: Down Station by Simon Morden

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Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: August 2016

ISBN: 9781473211469

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 3.3/5

Publishers Description: A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through…and find themselves on a wild shore backed by cliffs and rolling grassland. The way back is blocked. Making their way inland they meet a man dressed in a wolf’s cloak and with wolves by his side. 

Review: Reviewers either liked this or were fairly ‘meh’ about the experience. Most thought the plot was thin, characters under developed and the world building fairly constrained.  While I agree with most of the sentiments, I was still engaged. Maybe I was longing for a full leap into a magic arena that never materialized and left me constantly wanting. The characters just revolve around a finite area experiencing differing levels of magic.

The story line has been done, and although I wouldn’t say “rip-off”, the idea has been manufactured in Science Fiction. David Brin wrote “The Practice Effect” back in 1984 where ” instead of objects wearing out as you use them, they improve…”. The same goes in Down Station, only it is magic that infuses and grows within. For example, Dalip, be sheer practice becomes super strong after a week of intense training and Mary is able to manipulate matter after a short time.

The writing is good and the storyline, creative. Expand the world, insert a quest or two and start to imbue the characters with a revelatory growth in magic and you have a winner.

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