Good news everyone! It's time for another young adult novel here at I Will Read Books. The City's Son, a urban fantasy set in London, is the debut novel by Tom Pollock. Now why did I read another YA novel when I made it so clear it is not my genre. Curiosity mainly, I have met Tom Pollock on several occasions, and I even joined him on one of his writing sessions. Many thanks to Jo Fletcher Books for providing me with a review copy of The City's Son.
The City's Son, or part one of the Skyscraper Throne trilogy, is a story about a young girl who discovers a secret most of us chooses to ignore. Magic is real, and London is full of mythical beasts and beings just under our noses. Tom Pollock's world building reminds me a lot of Kate Griffin's version of London, which is a good thing. It has the same romantic, but yet deadly, feel to it. Both beautiful and sinister.
The young girl who makes this discovery, Beth Bradley, is a troubled teenager who roams the street at night making her own mark on the city with her graffiti. She lost her mother, and at the same time her father, who is lost in his own grief. His grief has driven a wedge between them, and when her best friend betrays her it is no surprise she seeks refuge in the new London she discovered. Even less of a surprise since there is a prince involved, Filius Viae, the ragged crown prince of London. He is quite handsome after all.
There is obviously quite a lot of squabbling between the two youngsters, and they both wear their hearts on their sleeves. I do find them a bit annoying and trying to read about, they often overreact and throw tantrums. Tom Pollock is simply good at writing teenagers.
Anyway, an ancient enemy is back to take over London and make it into a heartless concrete and steel city. Canary wharf is already considered lost territory. Surprise surprise. It's up to Fil and Beth to stop this evil, they just have to stop bickering first.
It's the usual UF trope where the protagonists, who are strangely powerless compared to their opposition, have to strong arm others into following them. Fil's subjects are not the most loyal bunch.
The only time I have seen Tom Pollock sit still is when he was writing, the man is otherwise positively brimming with energy, which is also evident from his writing. The City's Son is a fast paced book, with a lot of stuff going on, and new things to take in all the time. The writing is bold, and straight to the point, which really suits the story. It's also way more brutal than I expected for the genre, and even scary at times.
I was able to enjoy The City's Son without belonging to the target audience, and Tom Pollock's London is a place I felt I could lose myself in. I would have to avoid any teenagers though :)
The City's Son weighs in at 422 pages and is published by Jo Fletcher Books.