Author: Simon R. Green
Blurb: John Taylor works in the Nightside—the gaudy, neon noir, secret heart of London, where it’s always three in the morning, where gods and monsters make deals and seek pleasures they won’t find anywhere else. He has a gift for finding things. And sometimes what he’s hired to locate can be very, very dangerous indeed.
Right now, for example, he’s searching for The Unholy Grail, the cup that Judas drank from at the Last Supper. It corrupts all who touch it—but it also gives enormous power. So he’s not the only one hunting. Angels, devils, sinners and saints—they’re all out there, tearing apart The Nightside, seeking the dark goblet.
And it’s only a matter of time until they realize that the famous John Taylor, the man with the gift for finding things, can lead them straight to it…
So even though I wasn’t particularly enamored with the first book in this series, the world-building impressed me so much that I decided to pick up the sequel and see if it would interest me enough to commit to the rest of the series. I am happy to that this book did exactly that.
The Good: The characterization of John Taylor was much more consistent in this book. You get a much better idea this time of who John is, what he wants out of life, and what he’s willing to go through to achieve his goals. You also get to learn a lot more about his relationships with the other major players in the Nightside, something that was introduced in only a very superficial way in the first book.
The plot of this book was also far more interesting than book one’s, with lots of twists and turns, and constant danger always on the verge of catching up to the main characters. Consequently, there was a great deal more tension this time around, and it propelled the narrative forward, keeping me interested in turning to the page to see what happened next.
The Bad: All that said, the writing still leaves some things to be desired. A lot of the paragraphs still have awkward topic shifts in the middle, and many of them drag on for entire pages as a consequence. And there are still a few infodumps scattered about, particularly when new characters are introduced and the narrator feels compelled to explain the character’s entire backstory before they actually do anything of consequence. So at times, the actual reading can be a bit confusing or difficult, even though the plot is very interesting.
Overall, this was a definitely an improvement from the first book, but it’s still not quite great.
Rating: 3/5 stars