The much anticipated final instalment of Simon R. Green’s celebrated Nightside series is nearly upon us (the official release date is January 3, 2012) and let me start by assuring you that everything he said in his interview in Gatehouse Gazette issue 21 is true.
Let me first state that this review will contain no spoilers. I don’t want to ruin the experience for those that have to wait for the official release date, as that would be very unfair of me.
What I will say however that the book in itself contains spoilers for those that have not read SRG’s Secret History series books 4 (From Hell with Love) and 5 (For Heaven’s Eyes Only). So if you’ve not read those yet, and are planning to, you may want to do this first if spoilers bother you.
And now to the review of the very last Nightside book, the twelfth in a successful series that has kept fans thrilled and exited for many years. I remember fondly when I picked up my very first Nightside book in the London Forbidden Planet back in 2004. And here we are, nearly eight years, eigth volumes and countless adventures later of everyone’s favourite PI, John Taylor, the knight in cold armour who’s only affliction is his white trenchcoat.
The events of The Bride Wore Black Leather unfold some time after those of the previous book A Hard Day’s Knight. For his sins and the death of the previous Walker, John has now taken over that position. He is about to marry Suzie Shooter, tomorrow in fact, but even with the wedding around the corner he has time for one last case as a PI.
As is customary in the Nightside, this case turns out to be the kick-off to a series of events that threaten the very existence of that secret and dark heart of London itself. With only John Taylor to stand in the way of it’s destruction, and possibly that of the world entirely as well.
This final volume, more so than any other instalment in the series, is fast paced, to the point where you just have to keep reading because you don’t want to miss a single thing and just have to know how it ends. Events follow each other rapidly and the emotions of the characters involved have never been so strongly described nor have they gripped the reader so thoroughly. You will see some characters in a new light, discover things about others that you may or may not have wondered about and learn more of the past of a well established Nightside resident that has been around for a fair share of volumes. Find out who will stick by John when all goes to pot and who will turn against him in true Nightside tradition. And of course there is the answer to that very important question: will he get to the church in time to finally tie the proverbial knot with his Suzie?
Simon R. Green is known for his books that get a deadlock style grip on you, written in an easy to read way with a pace that keeps you interested and hooked and leaves you wanting for more and more of his stories. For his characters you come to love or hate. And this book certainly is no different. Be warned, if you read this on any means of public transport, you may miss your stop. I really wish this wasn’t the last one, as I’d love to read what adventures John would get into as the new Walker of the Nightside.
That aside, I personally am very happy with the ending of this series, I feel that Mr Green delivered the kind of ending a lot of fans no doubt hoped for whilst being true to the setting and the characters. A real recommendation for every Nightside fan out there. And yes it is the last one, and yes it is the end of a literary era but don’t let that stop you from reading it, you will only regret it if you’re a fan.