Review: The Long Way Down

I’m always reading. Here’s something I’ve recently finished and given a five star review on Amazon.de.

I heard Craig Schaefer‘s interview on the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast and was impressed how accurate his insights on his readers were. Intrigued, I thought, fantasy noir – why not? This may be something I like, figuring Fantasy is one of my favourite genres and I like Raymond Chandler’s noir fiction, too.

This is pretty much a good description of what The Long Way Down is. Daniel Faust reads like Philip Marlowe with an attitude and a few magic tricks up his sleeve, a man with an inner code he answers to come what may and who has an extreme commitment to his job.

The story arc is great – giving you closure where necessary, but loose ends in the details to keep wanting more. As the start of a series, The Long Way Down makes a great intro to the world, the main characters, but also to the stakes and what’s at risk. The pacing is well crafted, too, and I found myself carving out chunks of time whenever possible to find out what happens next. But …

I won’t read on. It took me quite some time to figure out why and it boils down to two reasons that, I think, have a lot more to do with my personal taste than the actual quality of the book.

Reason number one: I like my Good to be Good and my Evil to be Evil. Maybe it’s a fantasy thing, I dunno. Side effect of epic reading taste? I mean, I can deal with certain shades of gray and when characters ultimately do evil things out of a good intention and the like … but to my taste The Long Way Down just went a step overboard with the whole Faustian (excuse the pun) concept of Evil ( aka Hiya Goethe’s Mephistopheles!). You know, I quote: “I am part of that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good.” Yeah. Hmmm. Pullman did something similiar in His Dark Materials. Didn’t like that. Didn’t like Goethe’s Faust Part One (or Two) either for the same reason. Don’t like the same idea that’s traced out here. Like I said, it’s a personal taste thing and really, if you have no issues with monsters being good guys and good guys being monsters, then this is a very entertaining book to read.

Reason number two is very closely related to reason number one. To paraphrase Dr. Malcolm in Jurassic Park: I’m always on the lookout for my next imaginary boyfriend. And Daniel, I’m sorry, love, but it’s not you, it’s me. It would never have worked between us.

In sum, I am impressed enough with Schaefer’s writing skill to probably pick up his epic fantasy story Revanche. But while this is a good start to a probably exciting and thrilling fantasy noir series, it’s just not for me.

What are you reading?

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