Charlie’s Review of London Falling by Paul Cornell

sb10063436a-002As I have stated over and over again I am a HUGE fan of the fantasy genre, so when I was asked to read London Falling I welcomed it with open arms. To top it off, it’s written by Paul Cornell, who I was fortunate enough to interview not only about London Falling, but just chat with in general. It was a huge honor. I’m a big fan of his work, so I jumped at the chance to read his new novel.

From the publisher: Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London—or they think they do. While investigating a mobster’s mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.

Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. Football lore and the tragic history of a Tudor queen become entwined in their pursuit of an age-old witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city.

The centralized plot of the story revolves around the main characters, who are police officers investigating the death of a local mob boss. This leads to the formation of a secret squad to further explore the mysteries surrounding the criminal enterprise they begin to uncover. As the boss died under mysterious circumstances, the team starts tracking a lead that might also connect the crime to a series of child abductions and a long-standing curse on the local football team. Something supernatural has invaded their world and it will forever bond this group of police officers together. They can now see the true horrors that no one else can see, which leads them to discover new ways to tackle the unexplained besides just relying on their police instincts and procedures. With all that being said, you can find out the rest for yourself, as there is a plethora of storytelling for you to look forward to.

I’m a big fan of the BBC’s Doctor Who franchise, and one of the main factors that piqued my interest in London Falling was Paul Cornell, who is a writing contributor to that series. His new novel, the first in a proposed series, is a great mix of not only the fantasy genre, but the horror and crime genres as well. This gives it the opportunity to appeal to a wide variety of people. While I definitely enjoyed the book, its mix of these genres presented a dilemma for me at first. Personally I grow tired of the crime genre, which is duplicated over and over again in different ways. However, the fantasy elements here gave London Falling (and the crime genre) a fresh new take, which I loved. Having a historical backstory really was a great add-on for me as well, since I am fascinated by the English culture. London is the one place in the world I would want to live outside of the US. Additionally, I’m a sucker for mythology, so the inclusion of mythical elements in the work were an added bonus as well.

All and all, Cornell has constructed an excellent new series in the world of fantasy. It’s well written, detailed, original, complex, and has great character development.  He has definitely executed a plan for the series in my eyes. He makes readers want to know what is going to happen next. His knack for the unusual really makes the book shine. Hopefully this can generate a nice fan base because I think there is a lot of potential for a wonderful adult fantasy series, especially considering that this would adapt very well to the screen. We get a whole new look at the city of London, which even though it may be supernatural, is intriguingly believable. With good word of mouth, as well as the fact that it’s written by Paul Cornell, I feel that not only does London Falling have a fan base off the bat, it has great promise to become something even greater. While some may not agree, I really believe this novel has something for everyone. Like I said earlier, it’s part horror, crime, and fantasy all wrapped into one. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something new, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, The Severed Streets.

4 out of 5 Stars

London Falling by Paul Cornell
Tor (2013)
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN: 9780765330277

Special thanks to Tor Books for my review copy!

An Interview With Paul Cornell: Author of London Falling

Recently I was given the awesome opportunity to interview Paul Cornell.  You may know him best as one of the writers of Doctor Who, who has won several Hugo awards for episodes that he has written.  Now, he is taking on a new project, an urban fantasy novel, entitled London Falling.  As a massive Doctor Who fan myself, I am very excited about this interview in general, and thankful that Paul has taken time out of his busy schedule to give us a glimpse into this new work.  So, without further adieu, here it is!

Hi Paul, thank you so much for agreeing to the interview! First, a few questions about you as a writer and London Falling:

Author Paul Cornell outside New Scotland Yard in London

Photo credit: Rob Monk

What inspired you to write London Falling?

I wanted to talk about modern life, and have fantasy onside when I did it.  I like the idea of professionals, in this case undercover Metropolitan Police officers, trying to use their training against something beyond them, in this case, magic and monsters.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced in writing this book?

The research, but that was made easier by knowing several police officers and intelligence analysts I could ask about their work.

How did you get into writing professionally?

I flunked out of an Astrophysics course, and had to find some way to make a living. There followed years of poverty, but I recommend it as a learning curve.

Do you base your characters off people in your actual life?

Bits here and there.  Very rarely a whole person.

If you could write for any series, what would it be and why?

You mean a TV series?  I’d love to do a Game of Thrones. But that’s trying to get onto a very small team.

sb10063436a-002Who are your literature inspirations?

Christopher Priest, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Brian Aldiss, M. John Harrison, a lot of the New Wave of SF in the UK.

Now, a few questions about you as a sci-fi fan:

Are you a geek at heart, or does science fiction just come natural to you?

Is there an ‘or’ there?  I am a geek, and I try, now I have the luxury of that choice, to only write SF and fantasy.

I have to ask as a huge Doctor Who fan, who is your favorite Doctor?

Complicated.  I love Matt Smith.  Back in the day, it was a choice between Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy.  That’s as close as I can get to an answer.

Do you enjoying writing literature more than you do for the screen?

Hugely.  Books are where the writer has sole responsibility.  Prose is my favourite way to write anything.  I hope to end my career as a novelist.  Hopefully not soon.

What did you think of The Avengers film, and can you see yourself ever doing any work in the Marvel cinematic universe?

I loved it.  Cracking shape.  Characterful and even arty, which is what we should expect of Joss. If they ask me, yeah, of course I’d do that.

Finally, a few general questions:

What is your favorite novel of all-time?

Light by M. John Harrison.

Do you have any feature films in the works?

No.

How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing?

Following cricket, matters Fortean, looking after my little boy.

Are you currently reading any books or following any television series?

Loads!  Listening to Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal and Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman.  I consume most books on audio these days, on long walks with the baby.  My two favourite TV shows right now (apart from Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, which are more lifestyle choices), are Arrow and Person of Interest.

What advice do you have for us aspiring writers?

I sum it up in a sentence: ‘Your job is to seek out harsh criticism of your work and change as a result’.

Thank you for having me along!

Learn more about Paul Cornell by following him via:

Twitter: @Paul_Cornell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaulCornellOfficial
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/63341.Paul_Cornell
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/paulcornell/
The Web: http://www.paulcornell.com/

The March Roundup!

Well folks, the first quarter of the year is over.  Wasn’t it just January 1st?  With the first quarter over I feel the need to evaluate where I am on my reading goal.  I need to read 10 books a month to stay on pace for the overall goal of 120 books read.  At the end of March my year-to-date total was 43 books, 13 books ahead of schedule!!  (The 24 books I finished reading in March went a long way in pushing me over the mark).  You can see a full listing of everything I’ve read so far with links to their reviews here.

Completed favors

Now that March is over I can tell you what really kept me so busy in February!  My mother turned sixty on March 20th and as such my family threw a surprise party for her at the beginning of March! (She’s too smart to have done it any closer to her actual birthday).  Anyway, her birthday falls on the first day of spring so we decided on a “spring” theme for the party.  I’m still shocked that my sister, aunts, and father were able to pull it off without her finding out.  Anyway, back to the planning!  As the crafty sister, I was placed in charge of the centerpieces, favors, and cake!  Working off the spring theme I bought different colored ceramic birds, Spanish moss, and cellophane bags to make birds in nests for each guest to take home.  I really need to pat myself on the back. They came out great and everyone loved them!  Also, sticking with the spring idea I got these awesome colored flower pots to put fresh flowers in for each of the tables.  Unfortunately, that wound up turning into a disaster because the pots were wider than I thought and the flowers were all over the place and ::sigh:: it was a mess.  I wound up having to stuff wet paper towels into the pots with the flowers to prop them up and keep them hydrated.  It was all worth it though just to see the shocked look on my mom’s face.

Surprised mom!

Surprised mom!

I don’t think anything can beat that face. Seriously.  Anyway, we kept busy the rest of the month with visits to my cousin’s house in upstate New York as well as a trip to the vet for Belle and Sebastian.  Our bowling league also finished up the last Thursday of the month and I can happily say I killed it this year!  I finished as the highest scoring female bowler in our league with a high score of 181 (WOO-HOO)!

On the reading front I read a wide variety of genres last month.  Time-traveling, historical fiction, mysteries, romances, graphic novels, and even a few paranormal ones! I definitely covered the entire spectrum this month, and I’m proud to say that I enjoyed every minute!  It’s not every month that I get to be this productive, and I’m happy that I was able to accomplish so many goals in such a short amount of time.   It’s difficult to come up with a top read of the month having read so many different genres, but if I was being forced to pick one I’d have to pick Voyager by Diana Gabaldon.  I quite simply cannot put her Outlander series down.  I have so many reviews forthcoming for all the great books I read in March. I have to say there are not many losers in the bunch.  It was hands down a month full of reading surprises!

Looking forward to April, I can tell you I’m part of a few blog tours for new releases from Michelle Diener (author of In A Treacherous Courtand M.J. Rose (author of  The Book of Lost Fragrances). Todd’s currently reading Resurrection Express by Stephen Romano and How To Plant A Body by Terri Ann Armstrong. Adam’s working on his review of Game of the Gods by E.J Dabel, the second book in Dabel’s Pantheons series. Sam’s review for Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason is going to be posted on the blog in the next few days.  Once that’s posted she’s moving on to Firebrand by Gillian Philip and The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison.  Jess is reading a biography about Sylvia Plath entitled Mad Girl’s Love Song.  Charlie’s working on an interview with Paul Cornell, author of London Falling and writer for Doctor Who!  And Christine is reading Under the Same Stars by Tim Lott and Over the Rainbow by Paul Pickering.  The staff is doing a fantastic job at keeping this blog well-rounded and full of book selections for all genres and all readers.  My thanks and praise goes out to them!

Well folks, that’s March in a nutshell.

Until next time, happy reading!