The City’s Son is a book I have had for months and one I put off reading the final hundred pages of for ages. This is not because it was so bad, or because I could cope without knowing how it ended, but simply because I really, really didn’t want it to end. However I needed how it would end so I finally tackled those final chapters.
Pollock’s debut is an exquisitely written debut with real appeal to both teenagers and adults alike. Set in London and the mysterious other side of London- the one where street lamps are people, statues too, and there is such a thing as a Mirrorstocracy – Beth’s finds herself in a strange place while running from her father and her best friend who has betrayed her. There she encounters a Railwraith and Filius Viae. Filius is the son of the goddess Mater Viae, The Lady of Streets. However she has vanished and a sinister presence, Reach is intent on demolition and destruction. Beth befriends Filius and finds herself helping raise an army to defeat Reach.
There are several great twists and turns in this sprawling urban fantasy that I cannot spoil. Beth was a great heroine and brave and fantastic to root for. I also loved the development of her relationship with Filius. However Pollock is often at his most compelling when writing Pen’s perspective. Pen, Beth’s friend, is a character who is not traditionally strong and is struggling with her parents’ expectations, a completely awful and creepy teacher and then also finds herself in the hidden London. Pollock’s development with Pen had me wincing and truly feeling for her character.
Pollock mentions some of his inspirations in his acknowledgements including the awesome China Mieville. I would happily argue that Pollock’s debut easily stands with those greats and that his work was quite reminiscent of some of Mieville to me, in particular, which is no easy feat! I have been earnestly recommending it to a lot of my course mates who loved China Mieville’s work. However the City’s Son is a book that should stand in its own right; the prose is stunning, the characterisation strong and the world he has created is so imaginative and also so utterly London it’s brilliant for a UKYA fan, like myself, to read.
I could say a lot about this book. I could talk and talk about the complete WriterEnvy I had reading this (and I don’t even write fantasy) and how even though I don’t read a lot of fantasy generally, this book just totally entranced me. I could also say how the ending had me sitting there desperate for book two. However, what I will say is that this book is perfect for fans of fantasy and fans of YA alike. This is also definitely a book who when silly people raise their eyebrows at you reading YA, you can use as a perfect example of what YA is really like at its best.
I received a free copy from Quercus for my honest review. The City’s Son is available now and comes highly recommended. It is also published by Flux in the US for my lovely US readers! I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel, The Glass Republic!