Alright, a big disclaimer first and foremost; I got sent this book for review by the author and was asked to give it a read as well as my honest opinion. Obviously, this is what I’ll do here.
Beneath London’s Fog is a short mystery/fantasy/horror story revolving around Jonathan Holloway, who is a vampire. He lives in an abandoned mansion in London, where he cares for his daughter. As a series of gruesome murders starts evolving, Jonathan does his utmost to catch the killer, but things quickly turn dark as his past threatens to destroy everything he loves.
Wow, so that was a handful. The book features some interesting elements and a more or less enjoyable story. Unfortunately, there are a few flaws in the book that hindered me from enjoying it more. I will go into more detail in my review below.
For now, let me say that the book has its ups and downs. I enjoyed the “final fight” but beforehand, there were more than a few question marks that came up, while reading.
I would really only recommend it to fans of vampire stories. The reason being that there are not enough other aspects of different genres to make it worthwhile.
I’ll rate this book a 6,5/10. With a solid premise and an interesting protagonist, the book seems exciting. Unfortunately, it has a few downsides, which drag down the book’s
Iona Caldwell is a US-American author. Her first book Beneath London's Fog is set to published this October (2019)
Publisher: FyreSyde Publishing
Date of release: 30. October 2019
If you are interested in buying the book, check out this link:
Beneath London’s Fog follows Jonathan Holloway – a vampire living in a mansion near London. Here, he raised his daughter Holly and here also lies his dead wife Anna. He lives a more or less happy life until a series of cruel murders start to happen in London. Jonathan does what he can to solve the murders and soon discovers that his former lover Catalina, who he assumed dead, is in fact very much alive and tracking him down, with the intent to destroy everything he loves. So, he must put an end to this, and they clash in an epic final battle.
Since this is a short story, my review will not be as long as others, simply because there is not as much material to tackle. In any case, let’s start with the story in general.
As a whole, I liked the story. It was nothing out of the ordinary. It was a classic plot line that we’ve all read in some form or another before. With such a story, it is all about the execution. Can you pull off a story that is satisfying to read while not boring the reader with the ever-same topics and twists.
Here, I am torn. I think the book had some bright moments, but it also had its lows. To me, the protagonist was well executed. We can easily understand his motives and actions and we seem to resonate with Jonathan. We see that he has suffered a lot during his long lifetime, and we can relate to his desire of having a quiet life away from any trouble. What I also liked is the introductory part. The way we are led into the story without giving away too much information was really nicely done. When we first learn about the initial murder the author leaves us in the dark with only Jonathan giving us the subtle feeling that something is not right here.
On the other hand, we have passages that seemed unnecessary or uninteresting to read. A good example would be the scene, where Johnathan and Holly are attacked while looking for a wedding dress. I do not understand the necessity of this scene, as I felt like it did not add anything new to the story. We already knew that Catalina was hunting him, we knew about the ghouls and what they were, and we also knew that they were in grave danger. I also did not see any character development taking place, which left me, while reading, with the feeling that this scene was not needed.
What I really liked on the other hand, was the final fight between Johnathan and Catalina. I thought the setting was great and matched the atmosphere perfectly. It showed that even though he thought to have killed her, she still kind of won. His house burnt down, his daughter fled, and his wife finally found her final rest. This raised the stakes so high and I really felt with Johnathan in this moment.
Unfortunately, the scene did not last long at all and I need to mention something negative again. It was emphasized throughout the book, that this time Johnathan would make absolutely sure, leave no shimmer of a doubt that Catalina was dead. Yet, when she fell down into the cellar, he seems to have forgotten it all and just leaves her there. It just does not make any sense whatsoever. It is also extremely unsatisfying that many years later she seemed to have survived, once more. There is no more tension left.
The last point I want to mention is something that quite bothered me, while reading Beneath London’s Fog. Iona Caldwell’s story does not seem fleshed out. She uses a lot of Deus Ex Machina, meaning in the last possible moment, we learn something about the protagonist that saves his life. The best example would be the former hunter. There were no hints or clues whatsoever earlier in the book to allude to the fact that there was this person. He appeared seemingly out of nowhere and saved Johnathan’s life. Another example would be us learning about Johnathan’s shape-shifting ability. Often (as in this case) we are bluntly presented with a piece of information, rather than carefully being introduced to it. It takes out a lot of the tension.
The last piece of criticism I want to mention is the writing style. I understand what she tried to go for. She wanted to book to seem “old-fashioned” like it could actually have been written in the early 1900s, when most of the story played out. However, I felt like she excessively used old words and complicated sentence structures, which ended up coming across incredibly pompous and not easy to read, which takes a lot of getting used to and might throw some people off.
Finally, for my closing thoughts. I think the book is a good effort. It is by no means perfect, but it is not terrible either. I’ll recommend it to everyone who would like to give Iona Caldwell a chance. If you are a fan of vampire stories, you might get some enjoyment out of this, as well.