Series: Low Town #1
Published by Doubleday on August 16, 2011
Genres: Adult SFF, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Source: Won in a Giveaway
Drug dealers, hustlers, brothels, dirty politics, corrupt cops . . . and sorcery. Welcome to Low Town.
In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of Rigus, the finest city of the Thirteen Lands, you will find Low Town. It is an ugly place, and its champion is an ugly man. Disgraced intelligence agent. Forgotten war hero. Independent drug dealer. After a fall from grace five years ago, a man known as the Warden leads a life of crime, addicted to cheap violence and expensive drugs. Every day is a constant hustle to find new customers and protect his turf from low-life competition like Tancred the Harelip and Ling Chi, the enigmatic crime lord of the heathens.
The Warden’s life of drugged iniquity is shaken by his discovery of a murdered child down a dead-end street . . . setting him on a collision course with the life he left behind. As a former agent with Black House—the secret police—he knows better than anyone that murder in Low Town is an everyday thing, the kind of crime that doesn’t get investigated. To protect his home, he will take part in a dangerous game of deception between underworld bosses and the psychotic head of Black House, but the truth is far darker than he imagines. In Low Town, no one can be trusted.
Daniel Polansky has crafted a thrilling novel steeped in noir sensibilities and relentless action, and set in an original world of stunning imagination, leading to a gut-wrenching, unforeseeable conclusion. Low Town is an attention-grabbing debut that will leave readers riveted . . . and hungry for more.
I simply have to preface this review with – GO OUT AND GET THIS BOOK! Beg, borrow, buy, or steal it from a friend – I don’t care, but you must read it because Low Town is just THAT good. Now that I’ve made my demands let me tell you why I loved it.
The character building that is done for the protagonist, Warden, is great. He is the good guy, but then hell he’s also one of the bad guys. A low life to love. How is that possible? Essentially he’s a good guy gone bad. He’s fallen in with the Crime world when he got booted from being an Agent of the Crown. I think my only bone of contention with this book is that you never find out exactly why he was given the forcible boot.
As I feel in this specific case Polansky’s words might server as a better incentive for you to read the book than my own will – here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book. Oh the teasers!
“Mac had managed to carve out a small territory by virtue of his skill with a blade and the unreserved dedication of his whores, who to a woman, were as enamored of him as a mother is her firstborn.” page 5
The background and backflashes in the book on Warden’s life were very well placed. I like that you got to see some of his experiences as a soldier as well as a child during the time of the plague. This particular one below had me laughing so hard, probably because I knew some foul mouthed sergeants in my time.
“They aren’t expecting you to do anything, Private. I, however, am ordering you to shut that flapping cunt mouth of yours and gear up, because you’re going over the wall in a quarter hour whether you’re butt-fucking naked or covered in soot. And don’t worry about the enemy, from what I hear they only fire at men.” page 51
I loved how when reading this book I felt like I was in a different land, so similar to what maybe our own might have been like in another time/world and the differences to some of the normal speech patterns helped give that effect.
Now, Warden, tries to play like he’s a ball breaker, because he is, but he’s got a soft heart. There are so many times reading this when I thought – he’s only being cruel because it’s how he shows he cares. I’m so thankful this book didn’t have any romance in it – I wasn’t in the mood for any of those shenanigans so if that’s what you’re looking for this book is not it. I think this is about Warden, rediscovering part of who he is and what it is to watch out for your own.
I just have to throw this last quote in here because I thought it was way too hilarious to leave out. Now this is definitely how you get rid of an unwanted visitor!
“Up close she looked like someone better seen from father away. ‘I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure,’ she began. ‘Are you mad? I had you last year at Lord Addington’s spring formal! We went behind his pagoda and I took you from the rear. You said I was the best you’d ever had!’ The color drained from her face-clearly she didn’t find my scenario entirely implausible. Stammering an explanation she hurried off” page 303