Rating: 4.5 Stars ★★★★☆
I’m hunting, The sun sits low over Battersea, its rays streaking the brickwork like warpaint as I pad through the railway tunnels.
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.
Beth roams the city of London with her best friend, Pen, leaving her art and Pen’s poetry everywhere they go. Beth doesn’t have much of a home to go back to ever since her mother died and her father sunk into his grief.
And Pen would follow Beth anywhere. Except they get into a terrible fight and Beth leaves Pen behind. She soon finds herself in a different world. A London where spirits of railroad cars are alive, where people live in statues and pylon spiders steal people’s voices.
Electra is the first, the boldest, as always. She slides her body smoothly down the length of the dimmed streetlamp until her feet scorch asphalt. Her glassy skin is perfectly clear. The fluorescent dust in her blood is blinding. Fibre.optic hair waves in a magnetic breeze I can only dream of feeling.
It is the world of Filius Viae, the son of the disappeared Goddess of the Streets. And it is a world in danger, because the Crane King is rising, reaching with his fingers across the city, destroying everything in its wake.
Droplets of petrol-hued sweat stood out on the boy’s bizarrely coloured skin, etching paths around starkly defined muscle, tendon and bone.
I just adored the worldbuilding. It is so refreshingly different. There are no vampires, no werewolves (though I do enjoy them). Instead, we get something else. We get Railwraiths and Mirror People and Wolves made out of Scaffold and we get the incredibly creepy Wire Mistress.
I loved it.
And then there’s Beth. Beth is so cool. I love the way she talks, the way she acts. And I loved the relationship between her and Fil. Their romance feels sweet and real and it’s not sappy.
An incredibly inventive story with great characters.