Author: Tom Pollock
Published: 2 August 2012 by Joe Fletcher Books
Length: 422 pages
Warnings: violence, sexual abuse, adult themes
Summary : 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: a story about family,friends and monsters, and how you can’t always tell which is which.
Review: There’s more to London than you’ve ever know.live people in statues. Trains with minds of their own. Electric dancers. And an evil god in the skyscrapers. Beth, after one last act of betrayal, has been thrown out of her school and her home. After unexpectedcly coming across a pair of fighting railwraiths, she then finds Filius Viae, the Son of the Street, the son of Mother Thames, the goddess of London who has been absent for years. Together, they face adventure, danger and all kinds of things as they try and find a way to keep their London safe.
I love London. I live about 30 minutes from there and I think that wandering round and looking at landmarks and pretty buildings and such is a great way to spend a day. Books set in the UK are good because I understand them and the language and idioms and such. Set in my favourite city? Huge bonus.
I also love urban fantasy. And if there was ever a book to describe that term, this would be it. Pollock has created creatures that you couldn’t think about ever. The originality in coming up with the city’s underworld is amazing. This is a drawback in some ways. For example, on my first reading, I was tired and I just couldn’t envisage these things . This is one of the few books where I recommend a rereading, because a second time round, I got a lot more brilliance from this. There isn’t much world building, more a take it as you go along. This adds pace to the story and if you can handle it, you’ll love it.
The characters are really good. Oh Fillius, I love you. I’m not sure why, but you are just generally awesome. You go through a lot, you stay strong and you are the most unique character I’ve come across. Beth is just as good a main character, feisty, talented, and really brave. I also really liked Parva, Beth’s best friend who should have featured a little bit more. Beth’s father, you feel for a lot, and Victor provides welcome humour. The other secondary characters are all distinctive and really well written.
The plot is really interesting. I like the fact that Reach is simply an ever present threat, not up and in your face too much. The preparing and going to war was really interesting, and there’s a few character storylines too that just make you want to go up to almost every single one of them and hug them.
The writing is good. The writing of action scenes and the description of everything are the best features of this, but for a really dark and gritty book (a lot of adult themes running through this) there’s some snatches of humour that are welcomed.
Overall: Strength 4.5 average (1st reading 4, second a 5) rounded up to a 5 tea to urban fantasy in the best sense of the word.