After killing a crowd of Springheeled Jacks who entered the Nightside through a Timeslip, John Taylor and Suzie Shooter decide to wind down in a Nightside bar. But they can’t relax for long. Soon John’s on-again-off-again friend and arch nemesis brings news of a different kind of monster: a righteous kind.
“The Walking Man, the wrath of God in the world of men, the most powerful and scariest agent of the Good, ever, has come at last to the Nightside to punish the guilty.”
Problem is, if the Walking Man kills all the guilty in the Nightside, no one will be left. John Taylor steps up to challenge the Walking Man, but how can he defeat the unstoppable wrath of God? Just Another Judgement Day is adult UF written by NYT best-selling author Simon R. Green and published December 17th 2008.
So…how did I end up reading #9 of the Nightside series, you ask?
Story Time (You Can Skip Story Time, If You Want) :
It’s kind of funny story. My rural California library hosts several Dresden-addicts and every time they check out their next installment of the series or graphic novels, they ask me, “So did you start book 5 yet?” They get into conversations with each other at the front desk. They ask me how I liked the audiobooks.
I finally admitted to them that while I enjoyed the Dresden books, other series are taking priority at the moment.
So of course one of them took this as permission to hand sell some Dresden drones to me and he went out and bought me Simon Green’s Just Another Judgement Day. This particular Dresden fan is also one of my very favorite library volunteers, and he does some tasks that I would have to do instead of working on fun things like book displays or the teen summer reading program.
So I thanked him profusely, brought the book home and stuffed it into my overflowing bookshelf. But after seeing the volunteer again (who very politely didn’t ask me if I’d read his book, yet) and feeling super guilty, I decided to jump in that very weekend.
Thoughts (The Actual Review) :
At first, Just Another Judgement Day appeared to be exactly what I expected from the Dresden-like cover, from John Taylor’s trench coat to his girlfriend named Suzie, I mean, c’mon!
But I soon realized the error of my assumptions. Not only is John Taylor’s trench coat a living thing (“I’ve always believed in having a coat that can look after itself,” John casually explains), Suzie Shooter likes to trip Mary Sues and laugh at them as they nurse their bruises.
The opening scene hits noir tones as it kicks off a new story in the magical world of “The Nightside.”
“In the Nightside we’re great believers in letting everyone go to Hell in their own way.”
You’ll find more action in the single first macabre chapter than in whole novels of other series. Literally, chapter one runs through a whole plot that I enjoyed immensely, though it has little to do with the rest of the novel. (It’s similar to the Indiana Jones or James Bond stunt at the beginning of every Jones/Bond movie that sets the tone.) The large volume of wacky, fun adventures overwhelms any little considerations about convenient happenstances that smooth the plot *WINK*
And beside the terrific speed and volume of the action, the worldbuilding surrounding it all is a magical, living thing. I haven’t read anything that felt so effortlessly magical since I read Harry Potter when I was a kid. Breezy comments and even whole scenes hint at great story possibilities for past and future books:
“A great painting of a strange alien jungle suddenly came alive and formed a window into that world.”
Jumanji moment! I almost wish this volume had taken advantage of more of that—but that’s that trouble with coming in at book 9. I’m sure the author has “gone there” in other books, but this very specific adventure deals instead with the shades of morality in the Nightside.
The other great thing about Just Another Judgement Day is John’s first-person narration, which made me literally laugh out loud:
‘It’s not really my usual kind of case,’ I said.
‘I’ll pay you half a million pounds.’
‘But clearly this is something that needs to be investigated. Leave it with me, Percy.’”
I enjoyed the characters, although other reviewers (who have read more than book #9 haha) say they’re very two-dimensional; from this I assume the characters don’t undergo much series-level character change, and yet Suzie does change in this book. I love how her growth caps off the story. It’s the perfect ending, imo. Though the plot climax is otherwise anti-climactic and suffers from some repetition and alittabitta moralizing, I enjoyed the rest of the book enormously and Suzie’s revelation totally made it work for me.
Get ready for some serious fun, UF lovers. I think I’d have to be in the right mood to pick up this series again—I like a little more characterization in my average fare—but I would definitely not be opposed. That was fun!
Recommended To :
Anyone looking especially for humor and warp-speed pacing in their Urban Fantasy.
Plot: 3 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Writing: 3.5 Stars
Worldbuilding: 5 Stars