The City’s Son (The Skyscraper Throne #1) – Tom Pollock

“I’m hunting. The sun sits low over Battersea, its rays streaking the brickwork like warpaint as I pad through the railway tunnels. My prey can’t be far ahead now: there’s a bitter, burnt stench in the air, and every few yards I find another charred bundle that used to be a rat.”

Beth Bradley is in trouble. Having been caught doing graffiti on her school she is expelled. Her father doesn’t bat an eyelid and sits reading in the armchair just as he has done for the past three years since her mother died. Leaving the house she decides the streets are a better place for her and her drawings. There she finds Filius Viae, son of the streets and even though he doesn’t want her, she is pulled into the hidden world of London, a world she didn’t know existed, with stampeding train spirits and dancing glass girls who give light. Worst of all this world is dangerous, with an emery currently towering over ST Paul’s Cathedral, Filius needs help to save the streets that flow within his body and that hold Beth’s heart. 


I really didn’t know what to expect from The City’s Son. It was sent to me as an unsolicited review copy and I hadn’t even heard of it before I opened the package. When I googled it I got very intrigued and thanked in my head whoever it was that sent it. It sounded really good, but very strange and now I’ve read it, I can tell you it was both! 

This hidden London that Tom Pollock has created is amazing, with speeding train spirits and people trapped within statues, a walking trash person and dancing lamp people! it was incredible but also so so scary. The war that Filius is involved with is against Reach who sounds terrifying, truly terrifying! I was warned on Twitter that I wouldn’t be able to look at cranes in the same way again and I really wont, a bit of a problem when you work for a construction magazine! But anyway, the story… It was immense, I was confused for the first 50 pages or so, I swear, but it was that kind of intriguing confusion, I needed answers to what the hell these things are and why they were going around London! You get those answers once Fil and Beth get closer and I liked the way that even then the answers weren’t just simple, they weren’t handed to you on a plate. There’s a serious underlying message in this book I think, and it really makes you  think about society and the way things are, even though its all fantasy! 

The characters were amazing and I really enjoyed taking this journey with them. They were all messed up, especially Beth. Her father has been pretty much mute since her mum died and she gets her feelings out through pictures not words. Its amazing to read about her pictures and I could envisage them throughout the book, they were beautiful. Filius is again brilliant and is waging a war that’s not even his to wage, it’s his mothers, so you know, he has a reason to be messed up. I loved how sweet he was and how much he cared about the people close to him, he wanted to do right by everyone but knew he couldn’t always do that. Pen, Beth’s best friend was the most realistic character ever, I swear she could be anyones best friend and I loved her for that, she was messed up in a completely different way and I loved her storyline throughout the book, it was separate from Beth and Fil’s and it made the book have so much more depth. I adored the sections of the book that explored what would happen next for Pen and thought that they were what made her the strong character she was in the end. I want to know more about Pen and what does happen next for her and really hope she is in the next book. Beth’s father was a bit of a waste of space at the beginning of the book but by the end I had so much room in my heart for him, I can understand why he was how he was and thought it was beautiful the way he changes for his daughter. It’s awful that it had to get the those extremities before he did anything but he did do something, that’s what matters. 

I am trying so hard not to give a lot of the story away but seriously, there are so many creatures and characters that I could talk about in this book and they are all amazing in their own way, Lec, Glas, the wolves, the priests. I couldn’t get enough of any of them and I want the railwraith that Beth meets at the beginning of the story as a pet, seriously! 

The world that Pollock has created sparkles with beauty, even in its war torn state. I couldn’t get enough of the writing, which chopped and changed perspectives and even voice in some places; but worked so well. I will be recommending this book for years to come and think that adults and teens alike will love it. 

The City’s Son is the first in the Skyscraper Throne series and was published on August 2nd by Jo Fletcher Books, a Quercus imprint. My copy was sent in exchange for an honest review form the publisher. 

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  • Ellie Warren

    So glad you loved it. I met Tom last week and told him I can’t come to London without thinking about his book now! There are always loads of cranes on the train in and I read most of it whilst travelling (adds extra atmosphere to the rail wraiths!).

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