As I’m failing to write myself, even to update blogs, I thought I’d finally get my finger out and write the reviews I was supposed to do ages ago.
First up ‘City of Dreams & Nightmare’ by Ian Whates, published by one of my favorite publishers, Angry Robot. I often decide to buy books based on the fact that it’s an Angry Robot book… the books they publish are that good. Anyhow, I did what I very rarely do and read the first chapter of this online from the Angry Robot website. I much prefer proper books to online though I’m becoming more of a convert over time.
After reading chapter one I was hooked on the story of Tom from the City Below, the slums below Thaiburley, the City of One-Hundred Rows and dashed to my local Waterstones to buy a copy. The rest of the book did not disappoint and although it is the first volume of a series it managed to have a satisfying ending of its own.
Thaiburley is a multilayered metropolis with the wealthy and important dwelling in the upper tiers, workers and tradesfolk lower down and the street nicks and lower classes at the very bottom. Tom, a street nick, born and raised in the slums is sent on a mission to the very heights of Thaiburley. He never makes it. On the climb through the dizzying heights of the city rows he witnesses a murder. A murder no one was meant to see. As Tom races back to familiar ground he finds himself pursued by Kite Guards and assassins and at the centre of a plot that goes right to the top of the City of One-Hundred Rows. Finding allies in unlikely places, Tom is confronted by mechanical spiders, brainwashed street nicks and demon hounds and begins to display powers of his own that could well get him killed.
I won’t say too much more on the plot for fear of revealing too much. The world is deftly drawn and compelling and the variety of life held within the city works really well. Tom can sometimes seem a little passive compared to his guide, the very streetwise Kat, but for me that serves to illustrate his complete confusion at being caught in so much turmoil. There is definitely a lot more to come from the series and I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses.