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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Bride Wore Black Leather by Simon R. Green

One of us has been reading Simon Green’s Nightside series for years. The reason we like it is the Nightside itself. The world under London that Green imagined was just as colorful on the page as in Green’s head, it seemed. We also liked the eclectic mix of characters and mythical beings. John was ok, but he was never the draw. We liked the noir-ish tone and the standalone mystery plots. This series is a good springboard for the imaginations. We always thought there was more that an author could get out of this world and more that he could do with it. We guess Green ran out of ideas. We wish he would co-author this series, with, like, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, or someone else. It helped that all the books were short too. 

One of us usually hates the parts in books that feature description and prefers dialogue. Here, the descriptions and back-stories were what won that blogger over. This series isn’t must-read, rush to the bookstore stuff. We weren’t waiting earnestly for another installment. It’s one of those things that you read because it’s there, it’s mildly entertaining, and you’re waiting for something better to come out. It's not particularly great, but if it's your taste, it has its moments.

This series was at its best in the first six books, when John was trying to figure out who his mother was. Then things got repetitive and fluffy. The climax happened halfway through the series and it was stalled from there. The last two books, however, were pretty good and almost a return to form. We thought the Unnatural Enquirer was the weakest entry. We never liked that demon girl reporter.

We always had a problem with the seeming limitlessness of John’s gift. In later books, using it too much made him bleed from his head orifices, which by that point just seemed like a way to answer that complaint. We also hated the way Green would repeat the same jokes, but we liked the self-aware way he addressed that later in the series.

We liked that Suzie got healthier, over the course of a few books, and was able to get married at all. We really liked how Green brought back most of the characters for a farewell, including some that have been long gone. Green knows how to end a series. This last book almost made the ones that were dull worth continuing the series for. It was a fun and satisfying conclusion.

We are a little annoyed that it’s ending NOW. It would have taken real imagination for Green to keep things going with John as Walker now. It’s easy to write for the underdog defying authority. We thought Green breathed new life into the series by making John the authority, but then he decided to do nothing with that and just end things. We hope Green changes his mind.

Now that it’s over, even though we haven’t appreciated it much in the last few years, we are wondering if there is a way we can bring it back. If there was a book series that would make a good TV show, this is absolutely it. The standalone adventures worked well for this series and we could see it making a decent TV show, even if it would be too weird for most people.

Book grade: B
Series grade: B

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