The City's Son

The City's Son by Tom Pollock, The Skyscraper Throne #1

Hidden under the surface of everyday London is a city of monsters and miracles, where wild train spirits stampede over the tracks and glass-skinned dancers with glowing veins light the streets.

When a devastating betrayal drives her from her home, graffiti artist Beth Bradley stumbles into the secret city, where she finds Filius Viae, London's ragged crown prince, just when he needs someone most. An ancient enemy has returned to the darkness under St Paul's Cathedral, bent on reigniting a centuries-old war, and Beth and Fil find themselves in a desperate race through a bizarre urban wonderland, searching for a way to save the city they both love.

The City's Son is the first book of The Skyscraper Throne: a story about family, friends and monsters, and how you can't always tell which is which.

To be honest, The City's Son had escaped my notice until a copy of The Glass Republic popped up in my mailbox (the second book in the series). I was caught by the blurb and the first few pages, but I also wanted to get the full story from the start so I was later send The City's Son and it's cool! Urban Fantasy is one of the most widespread genre's of fantasy, it has a lot of diversity and lets authors interpret it in their own ways. The City's Son isn't an exception either and Tom Pollock does an amazing job in showing his spin on this ever rich genre. In the recent months I have read a lot of UF books and I am happy to say that even though a lot of things have already been explored; The City's Son has its own unique and cool idea's. The City's Son the first book in The Skyscraper Throne and Tom Pollock's debut in the fantasy genre. 

Now from the blurb you might think, no not another UF story centered in London. Well. This isn't the London you know, trust me. The story centers around two main characters. Filius Viae and Beth Bradley. Now Filius Viae isn't your average teenager. When you first read about what he does, armed with his spear, battling the oddities of the re-envisioned London of Tom Pollock, just scream "I wanna do that as well". Soon you find out that Filius is the son of a goddess and not just a goddess; the goddess. But his mother also abandoned him. Filius is the Son of the City. Yes that right! He has all the cool things, the city runs through his veins, from oil through his veins and much more. he has enhanced abilities is speed and strength as well. But his problems are about to get a lot worse, as Reach, the master of cranes has plans to take over the city again. It's up to Filius to put an end to this threat, but for Filius alone this is proving to be a hard task. 

Beth is a 16 year old human girl and an artist. She has a rebellious nature in her and likes to tag the city with her spray can of graffiti. I found her character most interesting from the point of her hobby of tagging graffiti to her whole nature, it all comes together. Beth is a bit of a stray, not really fitting into general society and likes to go her own way in the world, but also desperately seeks a place to fit in and get some kind of acknowledgement and meaning in her life. I know this might sound a bit controversial, but it seems that she is the typical teenager with a lot of feeling that she finds hard to place. Soon she meets up with Filius by a freak incident (I will get to that). And she finds out that London is much, much more that simply meets the eye. I do have to mention one thing. The part with her conversing with Filius and Chemical Synod to become better, to find her meaning in life was so cool, this was quite the transformation. Her character goes through a lot of phases and the end result is quite amazing, from a shy girl, she becomes the determined warrior and she now has a new place in the world, one that I will eagerly await to see explored more. 

Besides these two character there are also enough supporting character and one of the first and foremost is Gutterglass, a god made of trash, he or should I say she? well quite depends on the spur of the moment, anyway, Gutterglass has trained and is guiding Filius. Telling stories of his mother and the past of London. The way that Gutterglass was shown fitted spot on the whole idea behind The City's Son, from his emerging from trash to all that he can do. But most importantly, mainly in the ending there are some important revealings in the story that are done by Gutterglass's character and now I am in between whether to hate him/her... It's quite a fast and abrupt ending that I cant really place him in the whole but I am more than eager to find out what more is in store for Gutterglass in the remainder of the series. Another character is Beth's father. Beth goes missing and her father is desperately trying to find her. This was a bit of a sidetrack of the story but it does come to show later on that even though Beth thought that her father didn't care about here, that it is directly the opposite, and her father even goes as far as joining up with the Pavement Priests.

The great thing about both the characters of Filius and Beth is that they aren't by far all knowable. They have their good moments but also bad moments. They have things they excel in but also their flaws. Filius though being the Son of the City knows far from all that goes around in the streets of London... With showing both characters in a human way (though they are a bit far from it), Tom Pollock managed to create a interesting set of perspectives that readily drew me into the story and felt like a natural way of guiding me through the story.

The start up of the story was a bit off a "rough" spot of the story, I don't mean this in a negative way but it was not as fluent as the rest of the book. In the starting chapters you are introduced to a lot of new things, but the way it was written felt a bit overwhelming, luckily later there is a lot of time invested in setting all the things you were earlier introduced to straight. In this I did check back with the earlier chapter just to get the things straight. But once you get the full thoughts of Tom Pollock behind this weird London it proved to be that much more rewarding. And yes his London is weird. In putting his vision of an  UF London onto paper, Tom Pollock steered away from the usual werewolves and vampires and took an a more daunting task. Showing Pavement Priests, Bahngeists (Railwraiths), Blankeits, Sodiumite Girls, The Chemical Synod and much more. I really enjoyed reading about these unqiue and interesting idea's and it comes to show that Tom Pollock had really thought this story true, each one of these bizarr-o concepts comes to full show in all that they do, they aren't empty idea's but full build and neatly constructed ones. And even now still after I finished the book, all these idea's are stilling go around in my had from the dancing Sodiumites to the battle with the Railwraiths and Filius with his spear. Just. So. Cool!

The story of The City's Son goes through quite a few phases from the initial encounter between Filius and Beth through amassing an army to battle the King of Cranes. All this is just one action packed ride through an interestingly weird and bizarre London. Besides this mad dash, Tom Pollock invests a lot of time and effort in showing his London, how it all goes down, different faction and entities. His describing of the events and the surroundings is just top notch and it felt like I was walking the streets besides Filius and Beth. A lot of the cool scenes, the supernatural battles, the eventual encounter with the King of Cranes and the transformation of Beth are scenes that will stick to me for quite some time.

With The City's Son Tom Pollock has given his own unique twist to the popular Urban Fantasy genre and the result is well worth the read! He envisions a unique London with a few unexplored aspects to show. Though the initial start-up of the story might have gotten a little used to, I now can't seem to get enough of this world. The characters are quite unique and maybe from the initial introdcution that might seem a bit flat but when you get deeper and deeper into the story, Tom pollock proves that this is the contrary, on the whole his characters are great, show depth and are developed along the way. The world itself is rich, colorful, interesting and weird. I can still see those battles in the back of my mind! With such a great entry as it's debut, you must keep a close eye on Tom Pollock, I think we can expect some fine reads in the future from him. The introduction to this bizarre London can only to prove to be a solid basis for his series and I am looking forward to see how it will be explored in The Glass Republic.

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