Hidden under the surface of everyday London is a city of monsters and miracles, where wild train spirits stampede over the tracks and glass-skinned dancers with glowing veins light the streets.
When a devastating betrayal drives her from her home, graffiti artist Beth Bradley stumbles into the secret city, where she finds Filius Viae, London’s ragged crown prince, just when he needs someone most.
An ancient enemy has returned to the darkness under St Paul’s Cathedral, bent on reigniting a centuries-old war, and Beth and Fil find themselves in a desperate race through a bizarre urban wonderland, searching for a way to save the city they both love.
The City’s Son is the first book of The Skyscraper Throne trilogy: a story about family, friends and monsters, and how you can’t always tell which is which.
I was almost blown away by this urban fantasy from Tom Pollock. I almost wish I had waited for the final book rather than reading the e-galley provided by the publisher via @netgalley as those little rough edges would have been polished out. Yet I then wouldn’t have had the pleasure of knowing just how good this little gem was, before everyone else…
I’m reading a lot of urban fantasy books at the moment that are set in an alternative London, and as Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere is my favourite book, it goes without saying that I naturally compare the execution of these worlds against it.
I am pleased to say Pollocks’s even harsher, grittier and more brutal, London more than stacks up. The fate of Pen, Beth’s former best-friend, is a horrifying and painful example of this (and no, I’m not going to tell you what it is here, you will have to read the book to find out!).
Beth and Filius are right up there with my favourite characters of the year, these are a pair with lots of layers to their characters, and they continually offer the reader something of interest to discover. Their partnership (yes, there is a romance as well, but I’m not taking this too much in to account here,) builds though out the novel, pushing and supporting each other towards the inevitable fight with Reach.
Just as important as getting the physical world right, in this type of book is getting the inhabitants (other than just the MCs) right. Thankfully, in the world of The Skyscraper Throne, there’s a whole host of wonderful secondary characters that we meet along the way, whilst not always as well-developed as Beth and Filius (you wouldn’t expect them to be), they are unique and most certainly individual, and they add so much to the story.
It’s clear as you read the book the ending is never going to be sunshine and rainbows, even so, it will take your breath away when it punches you in the gut…
That’s not to say it’s totally without hope… But still…
The sequel will be going straight on my wishlist.
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Buy: The Citys’ Son by Tom Pollock
My copy of this book was provided by the publisher via @netgalley for review purposes.
The City’s Son by Tom Pollock is released in the UK in August and the USA in September