Review: The Glass Republic (The Skyscraper Throne, Book II) / Author: Tom Pollock / Publisher: Quercus / Release Date: Out Now
The urban fantasy genre is incredibly crowded right now, especially with stories about major cities being somehow warped or different. There is such a broad selection out there that you may have missed last year’s The City’s Son, Tom Pollock’s striking and distinctive debut novel. The Glass Republic follows on from there. It is very firmly a sequel and should not be read out of order; not only would you be shortchanging yourself, you’ll ruin the first book for yourself as well.
The plot sees one of the supporting cast from the last novel, Pen, attempting to come to terms with the massive life changes the events of the last novel brought on her. It’s not long before things overtake her and her sister goes missing, meaning that she has to leave the mundane behind and dive into the (literal) mirror world of London-Under-Glass. Pen is very different from the protagonist of the last book, and this also helps add extra layers to the tale. Whereas the bravado-filled Beth seemed to charge in, Pen is understandably more cautious, though still believable and interesting enough to make the reader yell at the page when she does something ill-advised.
Adding magic and mystery to the city of London has been done many times before, but Pollock’s easy to follow narrative and gentle yet steady world-building neatly avoids stereotypical pitfalls such as simply listing street names and giving them a pun-like twist. Instead, the mirror-universe of London-Under-Glass is a cleverly measured reflection of the world that retains enough uniqueness to remain fascinating throughout. This is a world filled with Pavement Priests, Masonry Men and Gutterglass, and is a much welcome relief from the usual ghosts, werewolves and vampires that litter the genre. Tom Pollock is absolutely one to watch, and not only do we look forward to the final book in this series, we are also eager to see what else he has planned.