Sunday, 8 January 2012

City of Light and Shadow by Ian Whates

Reviewed by Emilia Etherheart

The third book in "The City of a Hundred Rows" series, this review is based on the electronic version supplied by Angry Robot.

What has gone before ...

Book One (City of Dreams and Nightmares) introduces our heroes - Tom, a street nick (urchin) and Kat, a fellow street nick but older, wiser and tougher. Tom gets lost in the lower levels of Thaiburley, the city of a hundred rows, and Kat is employed to return him to his rightful level. As they make their way across the city they find all is not well, uncovering plots against both the city and the Prime Master, leader of the city.

Book Two (City of Hope and Despair) introduces a new enemy, the Soul Thief, a nightmare from Kat's childhood. We learn more of Kat's background, the political structure of the Heights, and how daily life works in the under-city. At the end of the book the two companions have separated, Kat staying in Thaiburley and Tom going north to the Citadel of Thaiss.

Book Three follows our heroes Tom and Kat as they go their separate ways to save the citizens of Thaiburley from a mysterious ailment, bone flu, and the Soul Thief respectively. Towards the end of the book, various threads had come together, and I was looking at the percentage bar on the Kindle thinking, "It can't end here". And it doesn't. As I'm a friend of Ian's on Facebook, I asked him about whether there was a sequel on his launch thread ... he's remained mysteriously quiet! I hope so, as it raises more questions than it answers.

The lead characters are strong and well realised, with a good supporting cast. Overall the books explore the political structures created by a ruling class and its impact on the under-class, friendship, betrayal and what happens when people meet their idols (or even their goddess).

Looking forward to reading the next book, assuming there is one, and anything else Ian brings out.