Time for another reread folks! And this week I’m doing the penultimate four chapters of The Glass Republic. Which means there’s only one month to go before the release of Our Lady of the Streets. Hold on to your hats and make sure to leave your comments below or with #SkyscraperThroneReRead! (And watch out, there are spoilers!)
It’s the day before The Looking-Glass Lottery and Pen, fresh from finding Parva and being chased by Masonry Men, is being driven towards the compound, from which The Looking-Glass Lottery will be televised. Once there she is separated from Espel, but makes a promise to her ‘I’ll find you at the end of the day.’ Little does Pen know the things she is about to discover.
Now in the clutches of Corbin, and therefore Case, Pen is taken deep underground where the foundations feel ‘impossibly deep and cold, like an ancient grave sunk into the bedrock beneath London’s clay.’ There, she finds something horrifying; every sound she heard echoing up to the kitchen, was the sound of someone – a child, a man, a wife – being shot. But their life is not all Case has been taking; she has also been taking their memories and storing them in little glass bottles, the clink of the glass all that is left of what were once people.
Then, out of the darkness, comes something even worse: green pinpricks of light grow closer and closer; they are eyes; Mater Viae is here and she wants to find a way back to her child, to our London, and she doesn’t much care what happens to Pen.
On their way out, Case threatens Pen with torture so that Pen will continue to front the lottery, but Pen has already been through hell with the Wire Mistress, there is nothing Case can threaten her with.
‘I’ll have to find something,’ Case replies.
The full extent of Case’s treachery has been revealed and now Pen is trapped, locked in her room so that Case can ensure The Looking-Glass Lottery can go off without a hitch.
In the quiet of her room, Pen swears she will not perform for the senator, and knows that there is nothing Case can do to make her stay and be the face of the lottery. She knows there is one thing she can do to make herself feel calmer; she can use the rituals and prayer she has known since she was a child. Once she’s finished, she finds that she is ready to face Case – and tell her to bugger off.
That is until Case reveals the thing she’s found to threaten Pen with: Espel.
Forced to perform for the Countess by Espel’s capture and the threat against her life, Pen steps into the spotlight and begins presenting The Looking-Glass Lottery.
Then she sees Espel mouth ‘Do it for me’, and Pen realises that Espel doesn’t much care if she dies – but she does care that the tyranny of the Looking-Glass Lottery is ended.
Pen begins her own speech, going directly against Case, and broadcasts the truth to millions of people. Chaos ensues and Case reveals herself in front of all the mirrorstocracy. She is shot by Pen’s bodyguard, but manages to send a message to Corbin ‘wake the steeplejill’s id.’
By the time Pen fights her way to Espel, the damage has been done and her id has been awakened, which means there are two sides of her fighting for supremacy. Pen knows it’s over, but she can’t leave Espel there. She picks her up and makes her run, and together the dive through the rubbish chute and towards freedom.
As they run, a large group of rebel Faceless walk towards them; a war for London-Under-Glass is about to begin and Pen and Espel are in the middle of it.
Just as Pen thinks all hope is lost, Cray finds them and runs to help them both. They dive into the crowd just as hundreds of Chevalier soldiers arrive to restore order to the boiling streets.
As they run – Espel on Cray’s back – Cray is brought down at the point of a Chevalier’s lance, but manages to survive and fight back, killing the Chevalier. Then, just in time, his friend Jack arrives with a car. They pile in and run for it, but there is no way they can take Espel to a hospital, and besides – the Chevaliers have found them.