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Early Review: The City's Son by Tom Pollock

The City's Son by Tom Pollock (The Skyscraper Throne #1)

Egalley thanks to Flux Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
Expelled from school, betrayed by her best friend and virtually ignored by her dad, who's never recovered from the death of her mum, Beth Bradley retreats to the sanctuary of the streets, looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius Viae, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London, who opens her eyes to the place she's never truly seen. But the hidden London is on the brink of destruction. Reach, the King of the Cranes, is a malign god of demolition, and he wants Filius dead. In the absence of the Lady of the Streets, Filius' goddess mother, Beth rouses Filius to raise an alleyway army, to reclaim London's skyscraper throne for the mother he's never known. Beth has almost forgotten her old life - until her best friend and her father come searching for her, and she must choose between the streets and the life she left behind.

Release date: 2nd of August 2012 (UK), 8th of September 2012 (US) 

Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK


* * *
It looks like I'm really rooting for British YA authors these days, doesn't it?

Tom Pollock has a sick and brilliant mind. The City's Son is an overpowering, overwhelming cascade of strong emotions and harsh images, urban jungle and beauty in completely unexpected settings.

I'm in absolute awe the more I'm thinking about this book. So very clever...

 The author has taken an old idea - hidden fae court, heir reclaiming his legacy, a common enemy bent on destruction, and outsider tipping the balance... and urbanised it to the max.


Filius is a gray skinned, almost indestructible street urchin who is looked after by his old nanny Gutterglass who constantly assembles himself/herself out of pieces of rubbish, and Pavement priests cursed by the Goddess to keep dying and being reborn within stone statues of London. He dances with street light fae Blankeits and Sodiumites, despises aristocratic fae hidden in glass surfaces of modern buildings and makes dangerous deals with Chemical Synod... all in weak attempts to stop Reach, the king of Cranes from destroying his city, but when he saves Beth, a runaway graffiti artist, from Railway Wrath, everything changes.

Beth takes his battle to heart and inspires him, urges him and his people to fight Reach and his Wire Mistress. But what happens when Beth's best friend, Pen, and Beth's father who try to find the girl get caught up in this war, and Pen is snatched as a host by Wire Mistress?

This book is harsh, gritty, brutal and beautiful at the same time. This is war, and its mindless violence and sudden kills are not whitewashed in any way. People and fae die badly, characters you get used to and sympathise with disappear. It's heart wrenching and bitter, but this bitterness is what makes this all so real.

Excellent characterisation for both main and secondary characters. Filius, Beth, Pen, a wonderfully crazy Russian homeless guy, Victor, - they are all flawed, human, afraid and ready to back down any moment. But despite their weaknesses they all make huge sacrifices to help the cause, and that's why this book is so emotional.

Don't expect a happy ending, instead there is a reassessment of personal strengths and weaknesses, necessity to go on and important lessons learnt.

I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment in the series. Highly recommended.

* * *
До редкости замечательнейшая книга! Вот совершенно особенный у британского YA стиль, какой-то очень реалистичный, мрачный, приземлённый и не чурающийся сложных тем.

Том Поллок сотворил безумный урбанистический мир фэ Лондона, с аристократией зеркал - Миррократией, Химическим Синодом, Священниками Асфальта, воюющими малыми народами уличных фонарей, сетями пауков, питающимеся голосами и прочими чудесами...

Характеры тоже вышли совершенно обалденные - и сам  Филиус, Бет, её подруга, Пен, сумасшедший пьяный русский бомж, Виктор, и всяческие городские эльфы. У всех у них есть слабости и недостатки, они колеблются и совершают ошибки, и от этого нам более близки и человечны.

В конце концов - эта книга о войне с её бессмысленной жестокостью и  самопожертвовании. На счастливую концовку и на выживание всех персонажей не надейтесь, но концовка будет интересной и заставит задуматься о смысле жизни. Очень советую.


Christina said...

OMG, that cover is SO MUCH BETTER than the US one.

I wasn't interested in this, largely because of the cover, but it's British and the author is hot, or so I heard, so I guess I should give it a go, huh?

Christina said...

Or maybe they redid the cover? Either way, this is a vast improvement!

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Oh, it's a UK cover, Christina. :) and I agree I didn't like US caver as well, it was just too awkward...

Blodeuedd said...

Yes I might have noticed a love for British YA lately ;)

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