Mammoth #SkyscraperThroneReRead: Part 18

This week @EffingRainbow hosts the #SkyscraperThroneReRead. She looks at chapters 13-15 of The Glass Republic, why not share your thoughts on the chapters on twitter with #SkyscraperThroneReRead or below.

For those who are unfamiliar with the book(s), here’s some summary info (please note that spoilers will be galore below!) . . .

The Glass Republic cover artSeries: The Skyscraper Throne #2 | Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA | Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books | Publication date: August 2013 | Format(s): Hardcover, paperback, ebook (Kindle)

Pen’s life is all about secrets: the secret of the city’s spirits, deities and monsters her best friend Beth discovered, living just beyond the notice of modern Londoners; the secret of how she got the intricate scars that disfigure her so cruelly – and the most closely guarded secret of all: Parva, her mirror-sister, forged from her reflections in a school bathroom mirror. Pen’s reflected twin is the only girl who really understands her.

Then Parva is abducted and Pen makes a terrible bargain for the means to track her down. In London-Under-Glass looks are currency, and Pen’s scars make her a rare and valuable commodity. But some in the reflected city will do anything to keep Pen from the secret of what happened to the sister who shared her face.

Right then! Let’s get to the recapping. From here I’ll do quick summaries of each chapter, and give my thoughts on the segment as a whole afterward. So here goes:

Chapter 13

‘Countess.’ He inclined his head respectfully. ‘My name is Edward. I’ll be your bodyguard from now on.’

Pen took him in. He was like a cliff with a head on it. He had two small scars patched to one side of his perfectly symmetrical chin, just to the right of the silver seam that bisected his face. She blew out her cheeks. ‘Okay,’ she said. ‘Why not?’

Pen starts to familiarise herself with her new digs and her new environment here, from the layout of her rooms to the fact that anything printed or written seems to appear backwards – mirror-writing, naturally. Then comes the ‘weatherturn’ – a brief, violent storm consisting of bricks, slate and dust rather than rain or hail. We’re introduced to ‘steeplejacks’ and ‘steeplejills’, whose job is apparently to use this storm debris to add to buildings and make them taller. One such steeplejill is injured in the slate storm, and rescued by Pen.

Chapter 14

Edward coughed uncomfortably. ‘That’s your prerogative, of course, ma’am,’ he said, ‘but I doubt Slater’ll let her back into his precipitecture crew. Not after she let Your Ladyship get all cut up on her behalf.’ He glared down at the steeplejill, who didn’t meet his eye.

After rescuing the steeplejill, whose name is Espel, Pen manages to speak to her alone, and convinces her that, as Parva, she’s lost her memory of life in London-Under-Glass. She offers Espel a new job as her lady-in-waiting in exchange for the information she’s ‘lost’.

Chapter 15

Pen blinked. ‘Say again?’

‘You’re the most beautiful woman in the world, ma’am.’

Espel explains a bit about why Parva Khan is such a celebrity, and why people love her so much – those with symmetrical faces have them because they’re born with only half a face. Prosthetics complete them via surgery, hence the lines of stitches. Parva’s face, however, is considered beautiful because it’s all her own. No surgery, no symmetry; this is why people pay to imitate her look.

Chapter 16

‘We brought him in here when the weather turned nasty,’ the Pavement Priest rumbled in the gloom. ‘It’s dark, but it’s a bit warmer and at least it’s dry. It’s…’ The gruffness in his voice faded slightly. ‘It’s what we thought you’d have wanted.’

Here the story returns to Beth in London above. She’s gone to Petris, who’s been guarding the reincarnated Filius since the battle with Reach. He isn’t very pleased to see her, but he stands against Ezekiel when he shows up demanding Beth’s life for her blasphemy.

. . . And here’s where this section of the re-read ends. It’s my first time reading The Glass Republic, so all of this is completely new to me. As such, my thoughts are pretty much first impressions.

It’s awesome. All of it. Once again, Tom Pollock’s imaginative and intricate worldbuilding gives me joy. I love the idea of precipitecture, even if it is unnervingly dangerous work! And the deal with people only having half of a natural face… Creepy. Fascinating as heck, but creepy! And I have a pretty good feeling it isn’t going to end there . . .

I’d also like to add here that, without risking outright spoilers for other new readers, my early suspicions about what was in store for Beth after what happened in The City’s Son would seem to have been confirmed! This delights me. I definitely can’t wait to find out where it all leads!

And that brings a close to week 18 of the #SkyscraperThroneReRead. Be sure to head to A Fantastical Librarian next week where @Pallekenl will be looking at chapters 17-20 of The Glass Republic.

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