Thursday, July 12, 2012
The City's Son by Tom Pollock
Author: Tom Pollock
Publisher: Flux Books
Released: September 08, 2012
Series: The Skyscraper Throne #1
Page #: 480
Source: ebook from Netgalley
"Running from her traitorous best friend and her estranged father, graffiti artist Beth Bradley is looking for sanctuary. What she finds is Urchin, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London's mystical underworld. Urchin opens Beth's eyes to the city she's never truly seen-where vast spiders crawl telephone wires seeking voices to steal, railwraiths escape their tethers, and statues conceal an ancient priesthood robed in bronze.
But it all teeters on the brink of destruction. Amid rumors that Urchin's goddess mothwer will soon return from her 15-year exile, Reach, a malign god of urban decay, wants the young prince dead. Helping Urchin raise an alleyway army to reclaim his skyscraper throne, Beth soon forgets her old life. But when her best friend is captured, Beth must choose between this wondrous existence and the life she left behind."
"I'm hunting. The sun sits low over Battersea, its rays streaking the brickwork like warpaint as I pad through the railway tunnels. My prey can't be far ahead now: there's a bitter, burned stench in the air, and every few yards I find another charred bundle that used to be a rat."
This may be one of the strangest books I've read in a while. There's a lot of visualizing and imagination... but I'm not sure if it adds up to amazing. There are some crazy beasts, interesting friends, and a weird amount of lamp people. So yeah...
The boy is the son of the streets. His mother is actually London - like, for real. The city. The girl is a rebellious teen who has just gotten expelled from school for drawing her teachers face outside the building. And her father is totally zoned out since her mother's death. These two meet on accident, but the adventures they have from there are nothing short of intense. There's a war coming and they have to work together to keep it from destroying the city.
So... I wasn't expecting this book to be high fantasy. I mean, I got that it was going to be urban and gritty, but there was much more to it. The characters are all ones you have to get set in your head before you can move forward. It doesn't help that one of the characters changes every time you see them - conforming to whatever trash is handy. You have people trapped in statues, mirror people, voice-stealing spiders, lamp people, a creature made of trash, and a boy made of concrete, oil, and gasoline. And those are just the semi-good guys! Yeah, it gets a little confusing. I found myself stopping and having to reimagine some characters as the story went along.
I thought it was interesting the way that the city was its own character. Not in a setting sort of way - but the city actually comes to life. Cranes are characters... bricks are people... Everything is alive in some way - not that people notice it. But once you're aware of the way things really are, you can see it all. It's that whole see what you want to see thing. I do feel like I needed to know more about London to get some of the references to locations.
Because of all the strange characters and situations, it took me a while to get into the story. Once I sort of had things straight in my head, I could get into the battles and relationships. The ending is sort of heartwrenching, but I think it keeps me curious about the next book.
I cannot deny that this story is insanely imaginative. If you're looking for something really different and thought provoking, then I definitely recommend this book to you. If you're looking for something easy and fun, look elsewhere. It's an interesting book and I think it will find the right audience... I'm just not sure I'm in that group. And there's more to come from these characters, so I'll be interested to see how things pan out.
Other Blog Reviews:
Book Review Blog for Caroline Hooton
A Mad Man with a Blog
The Book Zone