The City’s Son by Tom Pollock

The Citys Son

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.

Plot

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.

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The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale

The Wicked Boy Kate Summerscale

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

In June 1930 an eleven-year-old boy walked four miles along a dirt track in New South Wales, south-eastern Australia, to report a crime.

About

Early in the morning of Monday 8 July 1895, thirteen-year-old Robert Coombes and his twelve-year-old brother Nattie set out from their small, yellow-brick terraced house in East London to watch a cricket match at Lord’s. Their father had gone to sea the previous Friday, the boys told their neighbours, and their mother was visiting her family in Liverpool. Over the next ten days Robert and Nattie spent extravagantly, pawning their parents’ valuables to fund trips to the theatre and the seaside. But as the sun beat down on the Coombes house, a strange smell began to emanate from the building.

When the police were finally called to investigate, the discovery they made sent the press into a frenzy of horror and alarm, and Robert and Nattie were swept up in a criminal trial that echoed the outrageous plots of the ‘penny dreadful’ novels that Robert loved to read.

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Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

Back in the summer I’d made the mistake of telling my mum what I did for a living.



Plot

It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.


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Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Moon Over Soho

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

It’s a sad fact of modern life that if you drive long enough, sooner or later you must leave London behind.



Plot

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.


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Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

Rating: 2.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

The rue du Coq d’Or, Paris, seven in the morning.



About

As a young man living in Paris, George Orwell finds himself struggling to survive with very limited resources. This memoir chronicles his time among the poor in Paris, and his drudging work as a dishwasher in a Paris hotel. Later, he recounts the time he spent living among the vagabonds in London.

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic


Rating: 4 Stars


Plot

Kell is an Antari, a Mage with the ability to pass between worlds. He’s in the service of the Red Throne, monarchs of a world thriving with magic. But he also has a secret: Despite being forbidden, he smuggles items from one world into the other.

When one of the items he carries turns out to be incredibly dangerous, he has to run. And he runs straight into Lila Bard: pickpocket, wanted bandit and would-be pirate.

Together, they have to return the stone where it came from and save the worlds from danger.


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The Palace of Curiosities – Review

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Rating: 3 Stars

Before I am born, my mother goes to the circus.



The Plot


Eve is the Lion-Faced Girl, covered from birth in fur, yearning for a happy relationship, married to the erratic Professor Arroner. Abel is the Man with No Memories, the Flayed Man, who can cut but never heal and who is desperately trying to find out who and what he is. In Professor Arroner’s Palace of Curiosities, the fates of Eve and Abel intertwine.


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