The City’s Son by Tom Pollock
Running from her traitorous best friend and her estranged father, graffiti artist Beth Bradley is looking for sanctuary. What she finds is Urchin, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London’s mystical underworld. Urchin opens Beth’s eyes to the city she’s never truly seen-where vast spiders crawl telephone wires seeking voices to steal, railwraiths escape their tethers, and statues conceal an ancient priesthood robed in bronze.But it all teeters on the brink of destruction. Amid rumors that Urchin’s goddess mother will soon return from her 15-year exile, Reach, a malign god of urban decay, wants the young prince dead. Helping Urchin raise an alleyway army to reclaim his skyscraper throne, Beth soon forgets her old life. But when her best friend is captured, Beth must choose between this wondrous existence and the life she left behind.
I love urban fantasy and was excited by the synopsis for The City’s Son. When I requested it, I had no idea of the treasure I found. This urban fantasy is bloody brilliant. Pollock took me on one heck of a ride through the streets of London along the Thames River and I am still in awe about how truly magnificent this tale was. Pollock is pure genius! He weaved a breathtaking fantasy, with spectacular characters and a plot that kept me riveted.
Beth Bradley runs away after her friend betrays her and her absentee Dad fails her. She takes to the modern day streets of London, where she encounters a street urchin named Filius and learns of a world living side by side with hers. She learns he is the crown prince of this mystical world and in danger. The god of urban decay known as Reach is returning to destroy them all. Beth decides to join forces with Filius and help him raise an army to reclaim his throne. The tale that unfolds is dark, gritty, brilliant, and breathtakingly beautiful. It is one of the best urban fantasies I have had the pleasure to read.
The characters Pollock has created are friggin amazing, unique and well fleshed-out. Beth has had a tough life, but she expresses herself through graffiti. Not tagging, but drawings; some angry, some beautiful and some filled with despair. She wants a place to belong, and the world Filius shows her draws her in. I loved Beth; she is strong, fearless, brave and compassionate. Filius is the abandoned son of a goddess who deserted him and her kingdom after banishing Reach. He is lonely and knows he needs to stop Reach. Beth draws out Filius and makes him a better leader. Filius was raised on the streets by Gutterglass his nanny. Gutterglass is made entirely of garbage and is constantly being reassembled by an army of ants, beetles and maggots. He has been taught morals and rules by the Pavement Priests who reside in the cemetery. These creatures live inside the statues. They have been cursed by the goddess and forced to dwell beneath the stone for eternity. I absolutely loved them; they reminded me of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who. In battle they move with lightening speed. We meet Blankeits who dwell inside street lamps and dance in the streets. The Sodiumites live inside modern buildings and consider themselves to be noble. The Chemical Synod, are hooded creatures with blacken teeth and faces, who will help in return for a steep price. They are clever and must only be sought with caution. Victor a street bum adds depth to the tale. I loved this little dude, he was funny and aided Beth. Pen, is Beth’s best friend and the one who betrayed her. I liked Pen and understood where she was coming from. When Beth disappears she helps Beth’s Dad search for her and ends up being caught up in the battle. There are many other creatures living in London that we meet and I was blown away by Pollock’s imagination.
Hands down one of the most amazing urban fantasy worlds I have ever visited. Pollock brought this town and its creatures to life with his pen. I became invested and so caught up in the saga that I consumed this with total disregard for the outside world. While the basic story-line is not original: Abandoned throne, prince who needs to step up, soldiers and countryman unsure if they trust this would-be-king and an enemy who will unite them all. The dark gritty story line made this tale brilliant. The creatures Pollack created are fabulous and his descriptions brought them to life. My emotions were on a roller-coaster ride as the author made me experience; loss, fear, betrayal, anger, laughter and hope. Lives are lost and the tale is at times dark and ugly. It is a time of war and the author brings it to us in all of its devastating glory. It is also bright and has a little romance, a reunion and gives hope. This combined with well fleshed out characters made this tale come to life. The author beautifully weaved details and back-history with twists and turns that had my jaw dropping, emotions running hot and kept me completely enthralled.
I highly recommend The City’s Son to fans of urban fantasy and kick-ass world building. While dark and gritty it is also beautiful and engaging. I am foaming at the mouth for The Glass Republic book two in The Skyscrape Throne series. Pollock is an author whose books I would read without a recommendation based solely on his work in this novel.
I want to thank Flux for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. *Purchases made thorough buy links on this site earn a small commission and help support giveaways.
I gave this novel 5 coffee cups out 5.