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.
Book 2 of the Skyscraper Throne series.
The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock
I previously read the first book of this series, The City’s Son, back in April and I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of a YA version of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. So, when I was approached to review the sequel, I was extremely excited! I wanted to know how the story continued for Beth without Fil, and how Pen was able to piece her life back together. Let me tell you, The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock completely BLOWS the first book out of the water. It was such an exciting read that really added so much depth to a character that wasn’t really looked into that much in the first book of the trilogy. We get to look at a new facet of this amazing world Pollock has created and the story itself is wonderful!
When we ended The City’s Son, Fil had been reborn as a pavement priest with no memory of his past life, or of Beth, who had seemingly taken his place as the child of Mater Viae. Beth’s best friend Pen, meanwhile, was recovering from her horrific barbed wire and brainwashing attack, as well as her sexual assault. In The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock, the story switches its focus away from the recently fought war, and away from Beth (mostly), to focus on Pen. This was such a brave act by Pollock as having to go write about Pen’s PTSD is something extremely difficult, yet he managed to do so quite well. Her reaction to what she endured seemed real, and her desire to cling to her mirror-sister Parva, while at the same time keeping her best friend Beth at arm’s length, all make perfect sense for someone who endured what she did. So, when Pen decides to travel to London-Under-Glass on her own to investigate her mirror-sister’s disappearance, it comes as no surprise. She needs to prove to herself she can do it on her own. And mostly, she does. What I especially loved was that my hunch on her sexual preferences from the first novel were seemingly confirmed here in the second (yay!)
The pacing, which was an issue in the first novel, was flawless in this novel. It read quickly, and every single chapter and passage held purpose. Pollock continued to build upon the world he created in the first novel, but does it through the story this time, which worked extremely well. Beth’s tiny side story is great and leaves me excited for the final story of the trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets. The ending this time was well deserved and yet, still had me frustrated because I WANTED IT TO CONTINUE! I didn’t want to stop reading, which is a great thing to say of a book.
If you’ve read The City’s Son and enjoyed it, then you definitely need to pick up The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock. It takes what was introduced in the first novel and just builds so beautifully upon it without breaking pace or story. Cannot wait for the last book of the trilogy!