Thursday, 18 February 2016

Down Station by Simon Morden

On a seemingly ordinary day, Underground operatives Mary, Dilip and Stanislav are amongst a number of workers making their way onto the tracks for their shift. Troubled teen Mary is part of a cleaning crew and is hoping a steady job will keep her on the straight and narrow. Burly European Stanislav is part of a maintenance crew and has taken young Dilip under his wing to show him the ropes of the job. 

A terrifying, mystery occurrence sees people from both teams perish suddenly and a small band of survivors run for their lives through the tunnels. They find a hidden door and go through it. Leaving a London in flames they find themselves in unknown territory where a wolf man stalks the forests and beaches, a geomancer enslaves people for their knowledge and magic can be made if you need it. 

In a brand new world, where normality does not seem to apply, the party must learn the ways of their new environment if they have any chance of survival. 

The transition from modern day London into the fantasy world of Down is a quick one, and the reader gets to share the experience with the survivors as they come to terms with their predicament. When the group becomes separated, you get to see Down and it’s mysterious terrain through the different characters’ eyes. 

The concept of Down is an interesting one; a magical world where things that are needed or things that need to occur, come into existence seemingly by the power of thought. Castles grow from the ground, shadows can be manipulated to make a person invisible and some people can change into beasts, although not always for the better. 

It’s such a journey that the characters go on; each has a unique past and individual battles to face in their new situation, and Down has something in store for each personally. There are some strong personalities in the group and original, multi-cultural characters that really stick in your mind as you follow their journeys of identity and self-discovery. I loved the concept of portals that have opened and transported people from different time periods and versions of London which adds to the mix of people to be encountered. 

Down Station is a radiantly original fantasy story full of memorable characters, magic and adventure that will thrill and captivate readers willing to open their minds to an unknown and interesting world. 

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