- Tom Pollock
Publisher: Flux Books (To be Published 8th September 2012)
E-Arc read courtesy of Flux Books and Netgalley
Expelled from school, betrayed by her best friend and virtually ignored by her dad, who’s never recovered from the death of her mum, Beth Bradley retreats to the sanctuary of the streets, looking for a new home. What she finds is Filius Viae, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London, who opens her eyes to the place she’s never truly seen. But the hidden London is on the brink of destruction. Reach, the King of the Cranes, is a malign god of demolition, and he wants Filius dead. In the absence of the Lady of the Streets, Filius’ goddess mother, Beth rouses Filius to raise an alleyway army, to reclaim London’s skyscraper throne for the mother he’s never known. Beth has almost forgotten her old life – until her best friend and her father come searching for her, and she must choose between the streets and the life she left behind...
Beth hasn’t had an easy life – her Mum died and her father has never got over it. Her only escape is with her best friend Pen and the graffiti art they do together around the city. That is until she meets Fil – a boy who’s mother was the Goddess of the city of London, a boy who’s skin is pavement grey and can absorb nutrition directly from the streets. Suddenly, she involves herself in a war raging across London...
Tom Pollock has managed to capture the essence of modern London, distil it and use it to turn everyday ordinary objects into something fascinating and bizarre. After finishing The City’s Son, there’s no way I will every look at cranes, statues or even broken down trains in the same light again. This has imagination and inventiveness stuffed into every sentence as the real world has been twisted through 180 degrees to look the same but completely new. I adore stories that take the familiar and make it extraordinary. The writing might be a little dense for young teens but for adult and older teens this will open up new worlds.
Beth and Fil are both interesting characters although the immediate connection between them was a bit of a jump to accept. However, Beth’s friend, Pen is immediately relatable - trapped between worlds and expectations she struggles to know what to do. I would love to get to know more about her!
As well as exploring this new London beneath the familiar there are some intense battle scenes – the fight at Chelsea Bridge is crying out for the big screen. This is the first book of a trilogy but does a great job of wrapping up the main story plots – even managing to reveal something unexpected at the end that may make the next instalment a completely different story. Intense, imaginative and bags of fun – what more can you ask for?!
Recommended for fans of Kate Griffin and Neil Gaiman. 9 out of 10