Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: Netherworld (The Chronicles of Diana Furnaval #1) by Lisa Morton

Netherworld (The Chronicles of Diana Furnaval #1)

by Lisa Morton

Paperback, 282 pages


It should be no shock to anyone who follows my blog, or my reviews that Lisa Morton out of Los Angeles is one of my favorite writers working today. In the last decade Morton separated herself from the pack with several amazing short stories in major anthologies often being the best story along side names like Clive Barker, Dennis Ecthison or Gary Braunbeck. These stories earned her several Bram Stoker awards and when she unleashed her first novel The Castle of Los Angles I was excited by the ghost story which was a personal spin that was totally Lisa Morton.

That is what I look for in a horror novel. It has all been done a hundred times, so what does a writer bring to a story that no one else can bring? This novel is very much a Lisa Morton story and I am not sure I see anyone else pulling it off.

Netherworld is the story of Diana Furnaval who just inherited the fortune of her husband's wealth and responsibility. Passed on in the form of journal that contains of maps to various gateways between our world and the netherworld. The family had become guardians who use magi from the journals to close the gateways. Through these gateways 80 or so of them around the come various monsters that make up the local mythology.

Diana is good hero, a woman who is progressive for her time. Haunted by the loss of her husband and wanting to complete his mission. This set-up is perfect a long running series (I believe a trilogy is planned) which has potential to send Diana on many swashbuckling adventures fighting various local monsters around the globe. Diana has two sidekicks a cat who senses the gateways named Mina and a Chinese martial artist Yi-kin.

Once Diana and crew start globe trotting we are treated to adventures in India, china and the old west. If there is a weakness to me these chapters could have been entire novels and I would have been happy. The China segment finally gives Morton ( a Hong Kong film-a-phile and Tsui Hark expert) a chance to write her Wuxia story complete hopping vampires.

The writing is simple but effective, the prose does a great job of creating a vivid setting. The 19th century setting is used create mood and I enjoyed spending time there. The characters are strong Diana is a good hero, and much like Kato in Green Hornet Yi-kin is a great hero that risks stealing the show.

Ready for more. I’ll be picking up book two for sure. This novel is a swashbuckling supernatural horror crossover with a historical vibe, big thumbs up from me.

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