Book Review: Morningside Fall by Jay Posey
Morningside Falls is the second in Posey’s post-apocalyptic cyber-western series, Legends of the Duskwalker. It takes up shortly where THREE left off, with prodigy Wren and his sorta-undead mother safely ensconced in Morningside after their brutal adventures. Or not so safely. Admittedly we all knew that – but Posey does pop their bubble with brutal immediacy and a hired assassin out to kill young Wren.
Although Wren survives the attempt, his mother and guardians all know it is only the first salvo from their enemies. Wren is heir to Morningside, but is also too young to be taken seriously by his political enemies and his championship of the Awakened Weir – cyborg zombies he freed from their reprogramming – stirs resentment as well as hope.
There is something else too, something new. Or maybe something old in a shiny new skin.
At bay, their allies whittled away before they have a chance to become allies and without their indomitable gunslinger for help, Wren and Cass will have to pull another miracle out of the bag to even survive, never mind win.
Morningside Falls is a clever, unexpected take on a digitally enhanced post-apocalyptic world. Posey blends the aesthetic of the Western and the cyber-spec fic worlds with a sure and sentimental (in the best way) hand. The Weir are an elegantly horrific vehicle of destruction, all the more so for how matter-of-fact the inhabitants of the world are in dealing with them. They are a trial and a terror to them, but one they have accepted as part of their lives. It is only when you dwell on them – these hive-minded revenants driven to slaughter by imperatives no-one understands – that the horror of it dawns. There is no sense to their violence, just inevitability – and yet the person they were is still locked in there somewhere.
The only one who sees it though, is Wren. Who, unfortunately, I didn’t much like. He was too nice, too kind, too wise and it never seemed to come hard to him. Compared to his mother or the oiled efficiency of his guard, he left me cold. In a way, he seemed like a maguffin – something for the plot to revolve around rather than to be a moving part of it. However, the narrative treated him as the protagonist.
It was a shame, in a book otherwise filled with vivid, dramatic characters Wren just didn’t connect with me. That and a faint clumsiness in handling the character of Chapel – whose early mission was compelling but never quite made sense to me – were the only main flaws in the book.
Morningside Falls will be available from Angry Robot Books on 29 April