Book Review: The City's Son

The City's Son (The Skyscraper Throne #1)
Published By: Flux
Publication Date: September 8, 2012
Page Count: 480
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Urban Fantasy

This book is by far one of the most innovative gems that I have seen in YA lit lately. I am in awe of the amount of creativity that lingers among these pages. Tom Pollock has created a fascinating world laden with symbolism that will have you enthralled. Pollock's urban mythology is magical and thought provoking.

In London, Beth is struggling to make it through the endless days in her lackluster existence. Her mother's death sent her father into a downward spiral - he hardly even knows she exists. School sucks. The only thing she has going for her is her artwork and her best friend, Pen. But when things at school take a turn for the worst and Beth learns that Pen is to blame, her world turns black. She sets off on her own seeking a place where she will be loved and accepted. Beth never expects to find her niche with the street people, but once she meets Filius she knows she has found someone who can accept her - flaws and all.

This is not the London you know. The streets are full of fantastic creatures such as mechanical spiders who feed on human voices, wraiths contained inside of locomotives, and people made of light. Be prepared to do a lot of visualizing as you read this one. I was lost in my imaginings of what these beings would look like and sound like. The whole reading experience felt magical. 

I really enjoyed the conflict between Filius and Reach as well as the symbolism behind it. Reach represents urban sprawl and the spread of technology while Filius represents the more simplistic ways of the past. It is so hard for me to decide which is better: tradition or progress. I often lean towards the side of progress, but this book really made me stop and think about the implications of that choice. Is it always better for a society to expand? What do we truly lose when we allow urban sprawl to occur?

In addition, I also really liked watching the tension between the amber lights and the white lights unfold. Their conflict and attitudes toward one another conjured images of racial discrimination. I love when books can find ways to provide social commentary - even in a fantasy setting.

It is so hard for me to describe just how creative this novel is ... I can only encourage you to pick it up if you're a fan of urban fantasy and writing that sucks you in from moment one. Pollock has managed to create a riveting commentary on urbanization and technology without forsaking the urban fantasy elements. He has crafted such a creative and unique world. This novel is truly epic. This is one that should certainly be on your pre-order list for fall.

One Last Gripe: There were some moments that were so detailed that I felt overwhelmed. The massive amounts of visualization required for this one left me mentally exhausted from time to time. 

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I am in awe of this universe

First Sentence: I'm hunting.

Favorite Character: Beth

Least Favorite Character: Some characters frustrated me, but by the end I appreciated all of them for the purpose they served

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.