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In the city, Kat is chasing a Soul Thief. This malignant entity hunts people with magical talent and literally sucks them dry of it. It preys on the poor of the lower city, and so far the authorities have done nothing to stop it. So Kat and her band of antiheroes, the survivors of the vicious gladiatorial pits, are trying to fill the void.

Eventually they hatch a half-baked scheme to use people with talent as bait. Lurking behind these two stories, like a spider at its web, is the prime master. I love this guy. I hate that I love this guy, because he is bad for the plot like trans fat is for your heart—it can taste so good, but it is going to kill you one day.

City of Hope and Despair – Angry Robot

The prime master is one of those characters who has more answers than the reader—almost but not quite an author avatar—and manipulates other characters from behind the scenes. He confronts the mysterious bone disease that is attacking the talented of Thaiburley. When it comes to his personality, his character, there are no flaws.


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To his credit, he gives Kat and her sister an interesting and fairly deep backstory about their childhood in the Pits. Much like the first book, this one seem to reach for but never quite grasp the story it wants to be. Nov 05, Joseph rated it really liked it.

A second visit to Thaiburley, City of a Hundred Rows, but we actually spend surprisingly little time in the City proper. Our Heroes from the previous installment, Tom and Kat, have gone in separate directions. Tom has been sent on a mission that takes him and some companions out of the City, following the great river Thair back to its source; needless to say, peril awaits and dark forces dog their steps.

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Kat, in the meantime, is reuniting with her gang, the Tattooed Men, to track down the Soul T A second visit to Thaiburley, City of a Hundred Rows, but we actually spend surprisingly little time in the City proper. Kat, in the meantime, is reuniting with her gang, the Tattooed Men, to track down the Soul Thief that's been killing folks down in the underCity.

Again, needless to say, complications ensue A worthy successor to, and improvement on, the first book even if, as mentioned, much of it takes place off in the wilderness , and I look forward to seeing how it all concludes in the third book. Mar 01, Rob rated it liked it Shelves: I wasn't terribly impressed with the first volume and I'm not blown away but this second book either.

As I mentioned in the introduction, they are entertaining, tightly plotted novels but fairly light reading.


  1. City of Hope and Despair.
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  3. City of Hope & Despair (City of a Hundred Rows, #2) by Ian Whates.
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  5. The end offer no clear resolution. One of the story lines ends a major cliffhanger and elsewhere in the novel lots of threads in the story are obviously going to continue into One of the story lines ends a major cliffhanger and elsewhere in the novel lots of threads in the story are obviously going to continue into the next book. With the expanded scope of the story and hints of a far larger conflict than what we've seen thus far spread throughout the novel, there is something to look forward to in the third volume of The City of a Hundred Rows.

    Full Random Comments review Oct 25, Liviu rated it it was amazing Shelves: And this shows since the book has the typical middle book structure where things advance, some threads get solved but nothing essentially stands on its own and the book ends like the first one with a semi-cliffhanger in one of the two main storylines and with a clear tbc in the other.

    The blurb below provided the other new aspect, namely the expansion of the story beyond Thaiburley though the city features strongly in the second main thread of the novel. It soon becomes evident that their journey has more significance than any of them realize, as past secrets catch up with them and unknown adversaries hunt them Inside Thaiburley nasty things stir and bad things happen, most notably a creature called The Soul Thief - who does precisely what its name says and steals the souls especially of the people with a little "talent" - is on one of its occasional rampages.

    To add to uncertainty, the city's underground is in flux after the events of the first book and new gangs appear to take place of the decimated older ones Kat whom we last have seen locked into mortal duel with her sister for the mastery of the Tattooed Men and the Arena is the main protagonist here with her sister - their battle gets postponed due to the Soul Thief of course - and a various cast, mostly familiar from the first book; this part is a little weaker than the first book mostly because it brings little new and reads not unlike typical UF stuff, but Kat makes it worth reading.

    In the second thread we get to see the world outside Thaiburley and learn some backstory and some of the big picture issues, when Tom is sent by the First Minister on a crucial mission with DeWar as a "bodyguard" as well as two other companions. This part alternates the expected - fights, ambushes, So the content of the book is comparable with book one with the large advantage in originality City of Dreams and Nightmares had by simply being the first book in the milieu, being only partly compensated by the expansion of the universe here.

    The action takes place in a fairly limited amount of time so the main characters do not change much, but we find out crucial information about their background and that adds to their depth as well as offering a better understanding of their motivations and actions from the first book. Apr 04, Kyle Maas rated it really liked it Shelves: Great series, good story, engaging characters; this is one of my surprise favorites from the last year. Slightly Orson Scott Card'ian in that this a fairly adult story told through the eyes of children, this series The City of a Hundred Rows places the reader into a city on the brink of change.

    For decades, this vertical city has existed comfortably with it's clearly delineated class system: All of this changes when one boy, seeking approval from his fellow gang members, accepts a dare to climb to the top and bring back evidence of his journey. Along the way, he sees something that he shouldn't have, and soon sets into motion a series of events that will find him facing danger at every turn and threaten the very social hierarchy the city is based on. Let me put it simply: I really like these books.

    The first two are out with the third on the way and thus far I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. Ian Whates does an excellent job of imbuing everything with a sense of history; the city is one that feels lived in. The characters, even the small roles, all given a history and vitality that makes the world created one that is very easy to invest in. All of this is done with a deft touch, hints of backstory revealed naturally through the characters eyes, never leaving a feeling of being "told" anything.

    Action and pacing are excellent, with the fight scenes in particular detailed and inventive in their execution. His characters are all wonderfully human; each an outcast in their own right being forced into positions where they are responsible for far more than they asked for. If you are looking for some fun, fast, entertaining reads, perhaps something to fill that post-Harry-Potter-I-want-to-take-a-break-from-Game-of-Thrones-void, pick these up and give them a chance. Jan 11, Jessica Strider rated it really liked it.

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    The first involves Tom's first time outside Thaiburley as he, the assassin Dewar, Kohn, a sightless giant and the Thaistess, Mildra, journey to find the source of the goddess Thaiss's river. A demon doesn't want them to succeed a Pros: A demon doesn't want them to succeed and has alerted another assassin to stop them. Back in the city, Kat and her sister postpone their fight to the death in order to hunt down the returned Soul Thief, the monster that killed their mother.

    It's nice to see Tom grow up a bit and realize that street smarts won't cut it in the real world where dangers are many and varied. It's also fun to see him falling for the unobtainable priestess. Seeing more of the world Whates has created as well as learning why Thaiburley has isolated itself was great after the very contained in terms of worldbuilding City of Dreams and Nightmare.

    The Prime Master has more of a role in this book, and as he's a character much like the Patrician in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, that was a welcome addition. Both quests encounter a number of difficulties, which keeps the book moving at a fast pace. It was surprising how quickly the protagonists managed to overcome some of the obstacles in their path, and while they faced tragedy, their triumphs seemed easier won than expected given the power of their enemies. The book ends on a double cliffhanger, with both quests leading to something new, to be picked up in the final volume of the series.

    And given the quality of writing in the first two books, that's a book worth picking up. May 03, Amber rated it really liked it. This second installment of the City of a Hundred Rows is in motion in several directions, and it makes you insanely curious about how Mr. Whates is going to tie the series up. Tom sets off with a group consisting of Dewar, the assassin, Mildra, a Thaistress, and Kohn, a giant cyclopian Kayjele, seeking the source of the Thair river and the home of the goddess Thais.

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    Their journey is anything but an easy one, what with an innkeeper reverting to a deadly secret identity and waking an ancient enemy This second installment of the City of a Hundred Rows is in motion in several directions, and it makes you insanely curious about how Mr. Their journey is anything but an easy one, what with an innkeeper reverting to a deadly secret identity and waking an ancient enemy to hunt them down and prevent them from achieving their destination.

    Kat is back with the formidable Tattooed Men, which means she's got to face her sister, the leader of the group which Kat abandoned, and they're facing the Soul Thief, who descends on the City Below every few years and turns several people possessing special talents to husks.

    It's personal because the Soul Thief stole Kat and Chavver's mother from them. Their vendetta is complicated by an upstart gang called the Fang and a stranger from the East called Brent. This battle was complicated before it even began, and the price of success will be high. As if that wasn't enough, the prime master is investigating a mysterious and implacable new disease called bone flu, which gradually ossifies entire human bodies.

    Things are complicated no matter which of the hundred rows you're on, and unlikely alliances must be made if the threats are to be confronted and vanquished. I can't wait for the last book! Sep 21, Christopher Stilson rated it liked it Recommends it for: Fans of Neil Gaiman and China Mieville. In contrast to the previous book, this one took me several months to finish, although not because of any intrinsic failing on the part of the book except insofar as, following as it does three dissimilar plot threads instead of a unified, interwoven theme like the previous book, it makes it easier to find convenient stopping points.

    Also, unlike the previous book, it ends rather abruptly on a not-quite-cliffhanger, with each of the major characters facing a vague and undefined threat which we ar In contrast to the previous book, this one took me several months to finish, although not because of any intrinsic failing on the part of the book except insofar as, following as it does three dissimilar plot threads instead of a unified, interwoven theme like the previous book, it makes it easier to find convenient stopping points. Also, unlike the previous book, it ends rather abruptly on a not-quite-cliffhanger, with each of the major characters facing a vague and undefined threat which we are assured is immanent.

    City of Hope & Despair

    Furthermore, the draw of the previous story - the teasing characterization of the city - is largely absent from this one due to the fact that half the book does not take place within the titular city. On the whole, this entry into the series feels like half a book. Jul 23, Rollie Reid rated it liked it Shelves: I liked this one more than the first novel. The protagonist from book one is back, along with one of the villains, except that he is reformed, sort of.

    The villain is an assassin by the name of Dewar, who is tasked with killing Tom, the protagonist in book 1. Now, in book 2 he is tasked with protecting Tom on a long journey. That long journey is one half of the story. In book 1, Tom has a protector by the name of Kat. The other half of the story is about Kat, and happens in the city of Thaiburley I liked this one more than the first novel. The other half of the story is about Kat, and happens in the city of Thaiburley, the locale of the book 1. We learn more of the city, which is rather interesting all by itself.

    The first book comes to a good solid ending, but with many possibilities for sequels. The second book ends on a cliff hanger, so I will be rushing on to read the third book. The street-nick Tom must find the source of the great river Thair and perhaps learn the secret of his own strange powers…. Kat, the renegade nick, forms an uneasy alliance with her sister Charveve, and the two lead the Tattooed Men through the dark streets of the City Below in search of the Soul Thief: Welcome back to Thaiburley, the City of Rows, the City of Dreams… where the nightmare has only just begun….

    I really want to see where this series is going. His first novel is the work of a born storyteller. Highly recommended as a strong A and a fun, page turning sff adventure that will enchant all fans of such. Highly plotted with multiple point-of-view characters set loose in a mega-city that might not be a city at all but a living creature. Ian Whates lives in a comfortable home down a quiet cul-de-sac in an idyllic Cambridgeshire village, which he shares with his partner Helen and their pets — Honey the golden cocker spaniel, Calvin the tailless black cat and Inky the goldfish sadly, Binky died a few years ago.

    More information about the author. Find a Book Search for: Facebook Angry Robot Books.


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