The Nowhere Chronicles: The Double-Edged Sword by Sarah Silverwood
|The Nowhere Chronicles: The Double-Edged Sword by Sarah Silverwood|
|Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam|
|Summary: An edgy thrilling urban fantasy set in two parallel Londons with plenty of action, magic and vivid intriguing characters. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: September 2010|
When Fin's guardian, Judge Harlequin Brown is murdered, life as he knows it becomes a whole lot more exciting and dangerous. In the course of one life-changing day, he learns that there is a pathway between his London in 'Somewhere', and an alternate London of a parallel world called 'Nowhere', and that the fates of both worlds are now under threat from a group of rogue Knights, who have the ability to travel between these worlds using their double edged swords.
Finmere Tingewick Smith is the whole name of our protagonist, and his name isn't the only thing odd about him. Left on the steps of the Old Bailey as a baby he has lived a strange life, spending alternate years at very different schools and growing up under the tutelage of the amicable but austere Judge, who he only sees once a year on his birthday. Lacking any constants in his life and desperate for answers, Fin looks forward to some answers on his 16th birthday. He ends up getting some of these answers and a whole lot more as he is thrust into a dangerous adventure spanning across two alternate versions of London.
'Somewhere' is based upon our typical London while 'Nowhere' is very different, yet with subtle similarities. Both worlds are well drawn out with the interesting and dark London of 'Nowhere' being envisioned particularly imaginatively. Setting out with his best friend from both of his schools, Fin attempts to reinvigorate the elderly and disillusioned remains of the order of The Knights of Nowhere to fight back against the threat of this dark rogue group, while simultaneously trying to find the kidnapped Storyholder, key to the balance of the parallel worlds weaved together, without which all the worlds are susceptible to a black madness-invoking storm. All the while, Fin is on the lookout for answers to his own past which has been shrouded in mystery, answers that will define his destiny.
The characters are brought to life in great vividness with each of them having their own individual flair making them enjoyable to read. Only the main antagonist, St John Golden, a rogue Knight leading a brainwashed group of younger Knights on a mission to acquire control over all the parallel worlds, is a bit of a cardboard cut-out, though there are hints in the epilogue that the main villain of the whole series is someone much more guileful and fascinating. Fin is a strong character with hidden depths and determination that make him likeable. Furthermore, the various secondary characters are given notable development with both of Fin's friends being involved in intriguing sub-plots themselves. Quiet Christopher is stunned by a horrific revelation and is in particular very changed by his experience in 'Nowhere'.
Although the story was slightly slow to start off, with some of the ambiguity in the first 100 pages proving to be slightly frustrating, once I grew more familiar with the setting and the characters, and the pacing and action picked up a bit, I was totally enthralled. Although the author takes care to bring the settings to life with vivid description, this never hinders the pacing of the story or the fluidity of the dialogue. Mystery and intrigue envelop both the settings and the characters and I was genuinely surprised by a number of unexpected revelations. The author skilfully provides reveals at calculated moments – just enough answers are given that readers will feel satisfied at the end, but are guaranteed to be left very curious and yearning for the release of the prequel. The humorous banter between the three friends and their other companions was also something that I highly appreciated when I was reading the book, as it ensured that the tone never became unwelcomingly dark.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Un-Lun-Dun by China Mieville is a similarly dark fantasy novel set in a very different alternate London that I would recommend to those who enjoyed the premise of this story.
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