City of Last Chances

eBook, 512 pages

English language

Published Dec. 26, 2022 by Head of Zeus.

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4 stars (3 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 …

3 editions

Struggled with the format

3 stars

This is actually a really good book, but for some reason I struggled a lot with the format, in which each chapter is told from a different character's perspective and frequently only a character that we meet for one or two chapters. Yes, there are a few "main" characters that we get to come back to again and again, but you don't really start revisiting them until later in the book and so for the first part it's kind of an endless parade of new points of view. Took me quite a while to wade through those to where everything clicked for me and I was able to keep my attention on the book for more than a single chapter at a time.

Overall, it has a good arc, a good plot, good character development etc though and I enjoyed the story quite a lot by the time I reached …

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.