ARC Review: “The City’s Son” by Tom Pollock

The City’s Son (The Skyscraper Throne #1) by Tom Pollock (Click for Goodreads)

3 1/2 stars

A stunningly original urban fantasy debut

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.

This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley. You can get yours hands on a copy September 8, 2012.

So, if you follow me on Goodreads then you know this already, but this is for everyone else.

I HAVE ALL OF THE FEELINGS FOR THIS BOOK.

Not all of them are good. Not all of them are bad. I don’t even know how to deal with many of them right now. But I’m going to try to hash them out for you right here.

I’m going to start with the world, because it makes me drool. Seriously. That awesome set up the blurb gives you? IT’S EVEN COOLER THAN IT SOUNDS. Pollock has an awesome way of writing it, and every single line of description just makes it greater. It was a wonderfully refreshing read on multiple levels. It reminded me of older style fantasy, not simplified or watered down. It’s real, serious fantasy and is delightfully original and great to see in a young adult novel.

However, the world is also where the problem starts. I felt like I was never concretely set in it. All the sudden the book just comes at you and screams “RAILWRAITH ATTACK” and barely pauses to explain what a railwraith IS. How the world works, how the beings in the world work–all of it could have had a little bit more time spent on it and I would have given this book AT LEAST four stars, if not more. The setting was spectacular, but at times I just really didn’t understand it.

Unfortunately, the logical inconsistencies didn’t stop there. The main characters, Beth and Filius, made some really wacky judgements that didn’t make sense even if you try to pass them off for teenage rashness. It got to the point where I was literally yelling, “THINK A LITTLE BIT.” Most of this occurred in the beginning of the book, because I did not believe Beth’s reasons for finding and then joining Filius were believable. For me, it was too rushed and too implausible.

Speaking of which, everyone knows how I feel about insta-love in YA, right? Because I hate it. I hate it with all of my heart and soul. Which is why this book confused me. Beth and Filius never really fall in love, and then all the sudden they’re kissing and trying to take clothes off (they’re 15, people!) and offering to die for each other when I have no idea why. As far as I’m concerned, the reasons they were friends who made each other better was down like concrete and I believed it–that was very well written. But romance? That was never, ever there and just ended feeling awkward.

ALSO–lookout, angry Gretchen coming through–you cannot just have a character raped and forget about it. You really can’t do that. I understand that character then went through a crazy ordeal, but seriously. Why that was there at all I have no idea, because it had no impact on the plot and then wasn’t taken care of at all. It’s literally mentioned in all of two sentences. Rape is a big deal that can’t just be shoehorned like that.

A few technical issues on my part as well: The constantly switching point of view (POV). You were being slung around from character to character in the beginning, chapter to chapter, but for the rest of the book the bulk of it is just Beth. It constantly irked me that while everyone else’s POVs were in the third person, past tense, Filius’s (and a few random moments of other people) were first person, present tense. The editor in me was consistently jolted by this.

But honestly? At the end of the day, I liked the book. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I really did. I didn’t find it spectacular, but I found it to have potential. Just this world is worth reading, once you get into about the second half of the book. By that point, even if you don’t feel like you know all the details, you get enough so that things make enough sense to be really freaking awesome (if they weren’t already). The war, the description of it and the aftermath of it–for the winners!–was gritty, realistic, and showed the bittersweetness that comes with even being the victor. People died. People got hurt. The ending felt a little rushed, but it worked to show the impact that everyone feels, and the consequences of the choices they’ve made. I would definitely recommend this to all fantasy fans, young adult or no so young adult. This book isn’t watered down or romance oriented. It’s a story of multiple struggles, bravery and war. I eagerly anticipate the next book, The Glass Republic, because I believe that Pollock can only go up from here.

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Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is actually pretty straight forward. This is a YA blog, and I could say some profound things about world building in YA, but instead I’m going to focus on GOOD world building this time around. Ready? Here we go!

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

If you haven’t picked this up now, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. I believe I said that in my 5 star review. This world is as fantastically built as Game of Thrones, without all the things I don’t like about Game of Thrones, all the way through the characters and the dialogue. EVERYTHING about this book is amazingly awesome.

2. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Though I made many comments about the characterization in this novel in my review, the world absolutely knocked me off my feet. Russian magic? With clothing that’s describes like costumes you just HAVE to own? FANTASTIC images that pop off the page? This has it ALL. I recommend this to all those looking for a unique read.

3. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Don’t really think I have to explain this to most folks. I mean, is there anyone left on the planet that reads YA but hasn’t read this? Well, for you guys, best dystopian novel out there, hands down.

4. The Girl of Fire of Thorns by Rae Carson

I basically bought this book for a unique world, and I wasn’t disappointed. The characters were awesome and at the end Carson dropped a BOMB OF FANTASTIC on the whole plot line. I loved every little bit of this, and it was one of the first books I reviewed!

5. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

If you missed my review of this, you missed a whole heck of a lot of CAPS. It was just as beautiful as the book’s cover. From the dragons to the city to the notion that love does not depend on gender, Incarnate was a work of art that everyone should read.

6. Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

This one I was reminded of because I’m currently hosting a giveaway for this entire series, but basically it’s a fantasy world made up of shapeshifters that is amazingly awesome.

7. The City’s Son by Tom Pollock

You guys have no idea how much I could link to this review, but it’s not out yet. If memory serves, it’ll be up next week or the week after, since this book doesn’t come out til September. The important thing, though, is that this was the most amazing description of urban fantasy I’d ever read.

8. Eon by Alison Goodman

Japanese based world with huge country and DRAGONS. Seriously, what else do you need? Nothing, it’s nothing. The characters were also just as unique as the setting, which was awesome.

9. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

How many times have I talked about this book? I know it’s a lot, so I’m not going to stay very long here…

10. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Talk about a fantastic world building and a unique concept. I didn’t really like the following two books, but this one was pretty fantastic.

Top Ten Books I’d Like To See Made Into A Movie

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Let’s face it. Books-to-movies is a really touchy thing. I even blogged about it once, back when I really couldn’t find many things to blog about, it’s THAT important. 😛 However, I’ll make up this list with the hopes and dreams that studios could get a hold of these books and NOT demolish them. So is my faith in humanity. Some of these books might even have options on them or whatever, but I don’t keep track. I usually don’t even know until the trailer comes out. 😛 So here they are, in no particular order!

1. The Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins

Seriously, I want this to be a thing. I’d be very, very vocal about their casting choices because Sophie and Archer and, er, everyone would have to be JUST perfect, but gah. This would be a beautiful thing. Laugh out loud comedy AND magical action? I’d bankroll the project myself if I could.

2. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

I know this already has on option on it, thank you very much. I’m even a fan of the movie’s page on Facebook. But that DOESN’T mean that it will actually be made into a movie, so just let me lend it some more support. It SHOULD be. For the only reason that I want to see Dimitri come to life.

3. The Angelfire series by Courtney Allison Moulton

THIS WOULD BE AMAZING. Nonstop action, sarcasm and supernatural butt kicking. This would be a spectacular movie; it already reads like one! I would shave my head to have this happen. (Just please don’t actually ask me to shave my head. That would be awkward. I have an oddily shaped head.)

4. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

How in the world would anyone NOT want to see giant dragons flying around spitting acid, a building that moves and talks AND THAT MASQUERADE. I would do ANYTHING to just see that masquerade come to life. Heck, I’d put one on. Any Incarnate fans want to help?

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Quite frankly, I’d be floor if something wasn’t already in the works for this, but hey. I haven’t heard anything about it, so HI LIST! I’d pay good money just to see the scene where they jump off the train. And the scene where their fears come to life. And the scene–er. Ahem.

6. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

This could be the darkest, coolest teen vampire movie ever. At least nothing would sparkle. Plus, those zombie-vamps? That’d be cool to see–especially the fight scenes. Now please?

7. The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

I know they’re casting a Mortal Instruments movie, but I’m worried that if they screw it up we’ll never get to see the Infernal Devices come to life, which would be upsetting. The Mortal Instruments is awesome, but their supernatural world mashed with clockwork soldiers? Now that gets even cooler.

8. At least ONE of Tamora Pierce’s series

I mean, come on! You could pick anyone and have awesomesauce right there. They’ve been optioned, apparently, but the studio thinks they’d be too expensive to produce. Pardon me? I saw the Hunger Games. I can guess the fx bill for one SCENE. If there is interest, they will make it. HI, HERE’S INTEREST!

9. The City’s Son by Tom Pollock

Though I can’t share my review of this book with you guys until August, I CAN give you guys a teaser here so you know what I’m talking about. While I wasn’t impressed with some of the characterization, I’d pay money just to see this world come to life. Lightbulb people? Steel wolves? Mirror people? Yes please!

10. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Just finished this one, and it’s one of my new favorites of the year. Historical romance with a girl assassin? How can you go wrong? Plus, I’m a sucker for period pieces like this because I want to marry the costume department EVERY time. Can you blame me? Can you see the dress she’s even wearing on the COVER? This is a definite must for me.

Teaser Book Review: “The City’s Son” by Tom Pollock

You may be asking yourself, what in the world is a teaser review? It’s NOT a full book review, is what that is. I got this book from NetGalley, but it won’t be published until Sept 8, 2012, and I CANNOT wait months to talk to you guys about it. So here we go!

The City’s Son (Skyscraper Throne #1) by Tom Pollock (Click for Goodreads)

A stunningly original urban fantasy debut

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.

MY READING JOURNEY

7% complete: “Not sure how I feel about the tense changing with the POV. However…this book reads like YA fantasy pre-Twilight. Not sure if I like it or not.”          

18% complete: “I am so utterly confused. Beth. You just signed up in blood to fight a battle with/for a boy you JUST MET. I have absolutely no idea how that moved that fast. *I* did not understand a thing he just “explained” and I’ve been reading from his POV.”

20% complete: “This does NOT read like a first in a series. I feel like I’m missing SO MUCH.”

36% complete: “Oh. So in the computer copy I have, they show splits were the POV/tense changes in a chapter. But guys, really?
Also, did we just blow over a mention of Pen being raped? Because I can’t even tell if that was rape or sex she participated in without enjoying and that makes me ridiculously angry.”

38% complete: “Are sections of this book MISSING? I’m now legitimately curious. It’s either that or I’m missing something BIG. Multiple somethings big.”

61% complete: “And just when I think it’s getting better, that goes and happens. Aren’t they, like, 15? Because that was just awkward and out of place.”

76% complete: “I have all of the feelings about this book.”

NOW AT 100% COMPLETE: 3 1/2 stars

THIS WORLD. GUYS. IT MAKES ME DROOL. Literally. I slobber like a dog. (Okay, that’s not literally. Wait. None of it is. Never mind.) But I did drool! Sorta! SO REFRESHING. SO NEAT. I LOVE. The updates become less towards the end for a REASON. If you wait out the first half, the second half is spectacular. Yeah, I had my issues, but GUYS. There is so much refreshing, original potential here I could dance. The description of war, it’s consequences and it’s harshness is done to near perfection. I can’t wait to share my full review with you guys in August!