Review: Tim Waggoner’s Nekropolis

Nekropolis: A Matt Richter NovelNekropolis: A Matt Richter Novel by Tim Waggoner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nekroplis is a strange concoction of genres. Its a detective story set in a fantasy background with every describable (and some indescribable)monster from horror featured in it. Its perhaps why it took Nekroplis so long to be taken up by a mainstream publisher. It challenges the norms and the comfort-zones of strictly defined genres. The author suggests that he was way ahead of the times when he wrote this, over a decade ago, with an ex-cop zombie as the main character and his love interest a half-vampire.
But the ex-cop zombie and his half-dead girlfriend aren’t the stars of this book. Its not even the noir detective plot. This book is all about the world-building. The book takes the reader on the trip through all the different boroughs of Nekroplis, bringing the protagonist into contact with every single one of the Darklords that rule over the city. But it makes sense, because the author developed the world as a role-playing setting for his friends.
Basically, Nekroplis was built by Lord Dis, with the aid of the Darklords as a refuge from persecution on Earth, like Genosha is in the X-men universe. Each Darklord then was given a borough of Nekroplis to rule, each connected by a bridge to a central island that is the home of Lord Dis. The city is powered and held together by a false sun known as Umbriel, which needs to be renewed every year in a ceremony, for which all the Darklords conserve their power and then channel it through Lord Dis, who renews Umbriel. Accept this year, someone is trying to derail the ceremony. That’s were Matt Richter comes in.
Tim Waggoner is a seasoned author and handles the various twists and turns of the plot well. His writing is tight and every bit up to describing all the weird and wonderful things about Nekroplis. The lead characters could have been any detective and damsel in distress if it weren’t for their peculiar situation, zombie and half-vampire, and of course their postcode, so I didn’t really feel all that close to them. The plot at times felt convoluted, a vehicle to show us the different parts of the city, but didn’t detract too much from the reading experience.
I’m not sure I will visit the world of Nekroplis again, but I definitely think this is a book reading at least once.

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