Author: Tom Pollock
Series: Skyscraper Throne #2
Published: August 2013 by Jo Fletcher
Length: 464 pages
Other info: The City's Son, book one, is awesome. Book three should come some day.
Summary : 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.
Review: After the events of The City's Son, Pen has been left with scars over face, and with Parva, her sister of a kind-a double in London Under-Glass, the reflection of the city found in the mirrors. Pen's been trying to get back to normalcy, but one day, Parva isn't in the mirror. What is in the mirror is blood. After making a deal with the Chemical Synod, Pen travels through London Under-Glass, passing asher mirror sister, a countess and the Face of the Looking Glass Lottery, and gets pulled into the world where people are stripped of their faces, where people go missing, and a group called the Faceless are on the streets.
I finished The City's Son and knew I had to read this as soon as I could. Because reasons.
Pen is an awesome character. I liked her in The City's Son, and I'm really glad we get a whole book for her. She could choose to carry on with her life of relative normalcy, but instead goes back. She then pays a huge price for passage to London Under-Glass, adapts quickly, and is clever and quick in certain situations. Espel, the girl who Pen saves and puts on staff, is a whole load of surprises, especially around the 200 page mark. The romance is nice. There's repeat appearances from Beth and the Chemical Synod and some other familiar faces from The City's Son. It kept things going and set up for book 3, but I like that the main focus is Pen in London Under-Glass.
I know Tom has received a few very ignorant comments from people. Pen is Muslim, and it's a sad thing that there isn't more Muslim main characters in literature in general (or any religion that isn't Christian/fantasy religion-says a lot about diversity).
I really like the comments on beauty in society. In this world, Pen is attacked violently for not telling how she got her scars (people from her school burn her headscarf), and she acknowledges that she isn't the most desirable due to them. In London Under-Glass, asymmetry (in a world where the standard is being only one half of you is actually you, the other half is a symmetrical copy) is desirable, valuable, and Pen is loved for them. Also, props to the US team who showed Pen's scars on the cover. Ok, that last paragraph wasn't particularly on topic about how The Glass Republic comments on beauty in society. But it did, subtly. Just read it.
Once again, it is wonderfully unique. London Under-Glass has a different flavour to our fantasy filled London. There's a bit of possible squick with the people without faces and with the excitations, but it's morbidly fascinating to imagine.
Guys. Guys. Guys. The ending. And the title for book 3. I CANNOT WAIT PLEASE TIME TRAVEL BE INVENTED BOOK THREE NEEDS TO COME NOW.
On a final note, I want a sewermander. Dragon that manipulates gas. Made of fire. Oscar is awesome.
Overall: Strength 4.5, very slightly more a 4, to a great continuation to a unique series.