Beth Bradley is a rebel, and a girl great with a can of spray paint. She spend her fee time tagging the city, while her friend Pen scrawls poetry to accompany it. Beth’s father is lost in grief over his late wife, and Pen is trapped by the expectations and demands of others. After a daring evening an apparent betrayal separates the friends and sends them both out into a world born of the very essence of London. They have very different paths, and different dreams. Beth meets Urchin, the prince of the streets who opens her eyes to the layers of the world around her. The city and all of its components are alive, and there is a major battle brewing. Reach, a source of death and destruction, is trying to rise, and the city’s creature are abuzz with rumors that Urchin’s Goddess and mother might be returning to fight the final battle. But when the battle is over, who will have won and what will the final price be?
The City’s Son is a original and engaging read. Beth is a risk taker, and is so used to making her own decisions that she does no bow to the voices of those who expect her to. A prince, his people, and their expectations can not withstand her will. She is a strong girl, but still carries a vulnerability that makes her feel real. The collection of the city’s creatures were imaginative an believable. I could easily see some of those statues coming to life, of reflections in skyscrapers taking on a life of their own. The mix of imagination and absolute reality come together perfectly. I will admit to looking at light bulbs, telephone wires, and bricks in a different way since finishing the book.
I highly recommend The City’s Son to teens and adults that like urban fantasy novels that carry with it a fresh perspective of the world, and yourself. There is just as much exploration into what Beth, Pen, and others want as there is the physical world around them. The story is unique, with a skill in building a world that exists along side our own that reminds me of Neil Gaiman and Holly Black’s work. The introduction to a society that very well could be real, but since we are so good at ignoring what we do not want to see I doubt we would ever notice it. If you are looking for something fun, adventurous, and different then this is a must read!
A version of this review was previously posted on Sharon the Librarian.