by Steven Savile
$2.99 Kindle version
(I noticed when I pulled this title up on Amazon, there is another version that was released by the same author in 2012. I was also given the impression that this novel might have been intended to be part of a series. So, I write this review not knowing what the author's intentions are regarding the release of this version.)
Let me just say that the concept behind London Macabre truly interested me, but it wasn't long before I began to regret reading this novel. The first problem I encountered is the number of main characters. I've read stories with a large cast before, but there isn't much character development, particularly with the relationships between the Gentlemen. Perhaps if there had been more personal history included, the tragedies that befall the Gentlemen might have had more impact. There is a lot of emphasis on the supernatural talents of each man, but not much else is revealed about their personalities. The one called Mason flashes back on his family connection to the Gentlemen, making him the most developed, but I still felt like more effort could have been spent on the characters.
The setup is painfully slow, and it doesn't help that the descriptions of the demons and Hell are a bit mundane. Maybe I am desensitized because of all the horror novels that I read, but for all the buildup, I didn't feel any dread or terror. I spent most of the novel wondering when I would have that a-ha moment that would justify the insane length of time it took me to get through this story.
The twists with the different dimensions, past lives and various angels show great imagination from the author, but there is so much emphasis on the metaphysical action and pseudo-religious themes, reading this story felt more like navigating an obstacle course than experiencing the mystery-drama that I was originally expecting. I think this might possibly be the first time that I felt an author put too much into a single story. I feel that if Savile had broken this story into two or three books, then he would have had the space to develop his characters and their relationships further.
If the novel had been written more like the last two or three chapters, I probably would have given it five stars. As it is, I don't know who I could recommend London Macabre to, so...proceed with caution, and clear your calendar.