Tim Lebbon's The Folded Land was published by Titan Books in March 2018.
Information about Tim Lebbon:
Tim Lebbon is the New York Times bestselling author of the movie novelizations of 30 Days of Night and The Cabin in the Woods. He has also written many critically acclaimed horror and dark fantasy novels. Tim has won three British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, a Shocker, a Tombstone and been a finalist for the International Horror Guild and World Fantasy Awards.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about The Folded Land:
In the dark underbelly of our world, there’s a black market in arcane things - living and dead. Angela Gough has been pulled into this world, making her a criminal on the run.
In London she encountered the Kin - satyrs and centaurs, Nephilim and wraiths, they are hunted and slaughtered for their body parts. Fleeing back to the United States, Angela discovers that the Kin are everywhere, and they are tired of being prey.
When her niece Sammi is struck by lightning, she is drawn toward the mysterious Folded Land, and its powerful and deadly ruler. Helped by her lover Vince, caught in the midst of a Kin uprising, Angela must locate Sammi before the girl is lost forever.
A REVIEW OF TIM LEBBON'S THE FOLDED LAND
Tim Lebbon's The Folded Land is a highly enjoyable and suspenseful sequel to Relics, which is one of the best urban fantasy novels of recent years. Just like Relics, this novel is a refreshingly different kind of an urban fantasy novel. It's a dark and intense reading experience for those who love good stories.
What separates The Folded Land from other urban fantasy novels is its freshness and originality. The author has an exceptionally gripping vision about what urban fantasy is and he effortlessly conveys it to readers. If you're a fan of the darker side of speculative fiction and enjoy well written urban fantasy, you'll find a lot to enjoy in this novel, because it's satisfyingly dark and urban fantasy elements are handled in an excellent way.
The Folded Land continues the story that began in Relics. In Relics, an American criminology student Angela Gough found out about the Kin and her whole life changed because of it. She and her lover, Vince, faced gangsters and helped the Kin, but it cost them a lot and they had to flee from London.
In this novel, Angela has become a criminal on the run and the authorities are trying to find her. After the strange and violent happenings in London, she has fled to the USA and tries not to attract the attention of those who hunt her. Angela has found out that the Kin are not only found in London, but are everywhere. She hears from Vince that her niece, Sammi, has been struck by lightning and has been kidnapped by the fairy she and Vince helped to save in London. Angela wants to find Sammi before it's too late to save her...
The story is delightfully fast-paced and well written. The author keeps things on the move and delivers a couple of intriguing surprises along the way that readers are not prepared for. The story transcends the normal boundaries of urban fantasy, because the author has infused the story with dark fiction elements.
The characterisation is good and effective. The cast of characters is wonderfully diverse, because the author writes about humans and various members of the Kin. Both the human characters and the members of the Kin are well portrayed. It's great that the author also pays attention to interaction between the humans and the Kin.
Here's a bit of information about some of the characters:
- Angela is a well-created character, because her life has changed completely after what has happened in London. The happenings have turned her into a criminal on the run and her whole life has been ripped apart. She does her best not to attract the attention of the authorities and others who hunt her.
- Vince is Angela's lover who is also on the run and is wanted by the authorities. Vince loves Angela and helps her.
- Sammi is Angela's niece who, after being struck twice by lightning, is drawn towards the mysterious Folded Land. Her whole life changes when she is being led towards the Folded Land.
- Gregor is a menacing character who is killing members of the Kin and collecting components that can be used to fulfill the promises of the Script. The Kin have tried to find him, but he has always managed to avoid being captured.
- Lilou is an intriguing nymph, because she is old and wise and can use her powers to seduce others. It was fascinating to read about her connection to Fat Frederick Meloy and how she observed him, travelled with him and used him.
- Mallian the Nephilim dreams of the Ascent, which would reveal all of the Kin to the humans and the Kin would take their place beside or above humanity. He wants full exposure for the Kin.
I enjoyed reading about the ancient fairy and her plans, because she had her own desires and needs. The author's vision of what she does with her powers is captivating in its grandness. It was interesting to read about her strong magic and how she used it.
The author writes about what the Kin-killer Gregor does in an unflinching way. There's unrelenting brutality and darkness in his actions that will terrify readers, because he's a remorseless killer who kills the Kin for his own purposes. He believes in what he does and mercilessly hunts his prey.
One of the best things about The Folded Land is that the magical and mythical beings known as the Kin are presented as fascinatingly inhuman and mysterious beings. It's great that the author hasn't tried to make them too human, but describes them as something different. Although some of the Kin may appear to be humanlike and consider certain humans to be their friends, they're different from humans and have various abilities.
In this novel, the author delves deeper into the world of the Kin and reveals that the Kin are everywhere around the world. He writes about how the Kin live in the shadows, hide themselves from humans and evade them in order to survive. He also tells of how the Kin and the humankind once existed alongside one another, but that time has passed and is ancient history that only a few still remember.
It's good that this novel doesn't have any kind of paranormal romance elements. I greatly respect the author for avoiding these elements, because paranormal romance elements are often the main reason why many urban fantasy novels are bad.
I found myself fascinated by the Fold and everything it presented. I'm not going to reveal what it is, but I can mention that it's an integral part of the story and reading about it is fascinating.
There's something about this novel that reminds me of Clive Barker's dark fantasy/horror novella Cabal. This novel also has distinct echoes of Neil Gaiman's novels. The Barkeresque and Gaimanesque elements blend in an intriguing way during the story and make for an interesting read.
I think that one of the most important reasons why The Folded Land is splendid entertainment can be credited to the Tim Lebbon's background as a fantasy and horror author. The author delivers a good and solid story, and he avoids tiresome clichés and plot twists that have become the bane of the genre.
Tim Lebbon's The Folded Land is one of the few urban novels that I can highly recommend to readers without hesitation due to its fascinatingly dark and intense story. If you enjoy reading urban fantasy, I urge you to read this novel, because it's urban fantasy at its best and most compelling.