Astro Impossible Books, 685KB eBook,
currently £1.99 on Kindle (November 2015)
Reviewed by R A Bardy [@mangozoid]
Matt Bone’s début novel marks the start of a new prospective Fantasy series set in the world of Crescent, and I ought to say at the start that the title seems strangely appropriate: this was a tough read. It took me a while to crunch through to the end, and at time of writing Kindle hadn’t been updated with page counts, so this had a whopping 6091 ‘locations’ if that’s any help at all… [it’s now listed as 452 pages btw]
To be fair to the author, there is the core of a very good fantasy series here, but the somewhat contrived beginning can be a double-edged sword. I honestly felt the author had started with Alice In Wonderland in mind, and found myself building the barricades and preparing for the worst. Push on however, and you’ll be suitably rewarded with some quite brilliant writing, which exudes confidence, pace and all-round fluidity: as a reader we literally witness the author ‘grow’ and settle into his own strident voice, at once both distinct and manifestly lucid. And it’s a good job because this is a long book, and takes its time to gather the confidence of readers in preparation for the journey ahead.
In brief, John Bridgeman finds himself alone on a deserted, almost apocalyptic Earth, with everybody gone save a few animal rodents and several billion to ns of abandoned cars, vehicles and buildings. Through a contrivance I don’t care to reveal, he finds himself plucked from our world and plunged into Crescent, a fantastic nether-world with two moons, black as night spirit storms adrift in the sky, a diabolical evil villain with an overwhelming personal ‘army’ of light-sucking beasts (The Endless of the title), and an eclectic cast, all with motivations of their own and some of whom may or may not have experienced something eerily similar to our protagonist.
It has twists, it has turns, it has strange domesticated creatures, a relatively unexpected ending, some excellent personalities, and some very strong ideas. All told, I think this is well worth your time, but you’ll need to battle through the crap beginning and brush away the cobwebs first, before the diamond within captures your imagination…
* This review originally appeared on the British Fantasy Society website here