Monday, August 03, 2009

Book/Magazine Review: Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book/magazine reviews.

It was a normal Saturday morning and I wasn't intending to finish reading Nekropolis in one sitting but that's what I ended up doing. Tim Waggoner knows how to hook readers as this book is easily a guilty pleasure that's a mix between China Mieville and Piers Anthony. The author creates a fascinating world that's a combination of horror and humor, everything from techno-vampires to genetically-modified lycanthropes. Our protagonist is this zombie detective (falling body parts included) and features many of the tropes of a P.I. novel, from the damsel in distress to the whodunnit mystery.

Waggoner's strengths are two-fold. One is that he immediately gets you into the action but at the same time hints at something bigger. When I started reading Nekropolis, I had the sense that this was the middle of a series and somehow managed to keep up with the pace and the narrative. The other strength is that this is actually a stand-alone novel and over the course of the book, Waggoner introduces most of the elements of the city, such as many of the Darklords hinted in the beginning. The rest is enough action and mystery to keep readers mesmerized and on their toes.

One factor that's probably going to be a hit or miss is Waggoner's humor. Personally, it straddles the line between cheesy and acceptable. There were times when I felt that if Waggoner overuses it, I'd end up dropping the book but thankfully that never came (although there were a couple of groans here and there). Readers however are prepared for it as it's part of the atmosphere that Waggoner builds early on.

Overall, this was a fun and refreshing book, an urban fantasy novel that doesn't take place on Earth and features an engaging genre mishmash.

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