City of Last Chances

English language

Published Dec. 27, 2022 by Head of Zeus.

ISBN:
978-1-80110-845-4
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4 stars (4 reviews)

Arthur C. Clarke winner and Sunday Times bestseller Adrian Tchaikovsky's triumphant return to fantasy with a darkly inventive portrait of a city under occupation and on the verge of revolution.

There has always been a darkness to Ilmar, but never more so than now. The city chafes under the heavy hand of the Palleseen occupation, the choke-hold of its criminal underworld, the boot of its factory owners, the weight of its wretched poor and the burden of its ancient curse. What will be the spark that lights the conflagration? Despite the city's refugees, wanderers, murderers, madmen, fanatics and thieves, the catalyst, as always, will be the Anchorwood – that dark grove of trees, that primeval remnant, that portal, when the moon is full, to strange and distant shores.

Ilmar, some say, is the worst place in the world and the gateway to a thousand worse places.

Ilmar, City of Long …

4 editions

4 stars with a caveat

4 stars

4 stars is fair here I think. There seems to be a bit of a thing where a few authors are trying to move Fantasy forward to the industrial era and extrapolating into what that might look like. This is Tchaikovsky's take on that trend. This, however, was a slightly odd book. Firstly, I should say it is Tchaikovsky so it is well executed with his trademark flair. However (and you knew there was a but), it ended up striking me as a somewhat disjointed book. I don't know if it was meant to be the lead off for a series or not (and it certainly felt as if it was written that way) but there were a few notes that jarred for me and I wasn't entirely satisfied with the resolution. For example, a Shakespearean narration is thrown in about a third through, clearly to smooth over a rough …

City of Last Chances

4 stars

There were a lot of scenes I loved, and the sequence in the beginning where the narrative is passed along a chain of serially coinciding characters is wonderful. When I read the reunion near the end, I literally exclaimed "Hahaha, yes!" As a whole, it felt a touch rambly, but I have no regrets. One area where Tchaikovsky excels is departing from (or maybe just ignoring?) genre tropes, and this is no exception.