With the concluding part of the Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets, hitting shelves in August we decided to do a Jo Fletcher Books first and conduct a complete re-read of the series so far. Last week we looked at chapters 1-4 and this week we delve deeper into @tomhpollock’s secret London, looking back on chapters 5-8 of The City’s Son.
After meeting Beth, Pen and Fil in the first 4 chapters of The City’s Son we are immediately introduced to Beth’s father in chapter 5. It is a short meeting but one that reveals a lot, both about Beth’s past and how it has affected her character. She isn’t just a rebellious teen with a chip on her shoulder. She has lost her Mum, and in many senses her Dad as a consequence, and is a girl struggling to cope, whilst searching for a connection in the world. This was Pen. With this realisation we can fully understand the strength of her feelings after Pen’s betrayal.
Another thing we draw from this brief encounter is a theme that will re-appear throughout the series – people break, ‘but people also heal’. This sense of hope and belief, fuel’s Beth and it is her father’s inability to heal that hurts her the most. The theme of people’s ability to heal is one which comes across throughout not only this novel, but the series, and serves as a positive backdrop as events take our characters to dark places.
We are then once again greeted by a now familiar Thrum-clatter-clatter as Beth is thrown headfirst into Fil’s world and Tom creates an amazing battle between Railwraith’s, Fil and Beth. The culmination of this is the first time that Beth and Fil meet and it is remarkable how similar they are –Motherless, searching for human connection, bravado masking their fear and loyal. Immediately they are connected, and although this meeting is short lived, it fills us and them with the hope that they can help each other, whether it be in fighting monsters (real or internal) or to heal from past pains.
The reaction of both characters after this meeting highlights just that. Beth is able to walk away from Pen, safe in the knowledge that she is not alone, although not without leaving a few breadcrumbs for Pen, and Fil is able to smile at the thought of ‘We’.
Yet this is also a ‘fractured harmony’, another recurring theme in the books. Fil is forced to face the size of the threat not only Reach, but a returning Mater Viae, Our Lady of the Streets, presents to him and Beth finds herself unable to fully heal after the pain of Pen’s betrayal. She is forced to walk away in the knowledge that the only person she could trust to tell the events of the previous night too is someone she no longer feels she can.
In chapters 5–8 Tom builds on the first 4 chapters brilliantly. We are drawn into the characters of Beth and Fil as Tom shows us deeper parts of the souls and starts to reveal what has shaped them. This means we become drawn to the characters as if we have known them through multiple books, rather than multiple chapters, and when combined with the slow revelation of the fascinating Secrete London and its monsters and wars, you can’t help but really care what will happen next.
That brings to a close chapters 5-8. Let us know what you think below. Chapters 9-12 will be the focus of next week’s catch up and the lovely Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow will be hosting. See you there!