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City of Last Chances by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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City of Last Chances by Adrian Tchaikovsky
UK Publication: December 2022
Reviewed by: Book Worm  
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Head of Zeus (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Two word review – gorgeous cover (make of that what you will)

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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 Shadows.
City of Bad Decisions.
City of Last Chances.

My Thoughts: Based on the description and the cover I should have loved this book, but while I still love the cover the book is a different story. (see what I did there LOL)

I found this extremely hard to get into, mainly because each chapter in the first half is told from the perspective of a new character, so each chapter we have to learn who that character is and what their relationship to the world around is. There are a lot of characters!

By the time we get to the second half I was getting into the rhythm of who was who and what events were important to them which meant I got a better handle on the narrative and could finally allow myself to be immersed in the story. Which to give it credit was an interesting story of colonisation, rebellion, competing factions and civil unrest.

What I would have liked more of were the fantasy elements. I want to know more about Anchorwood, where does it go, why is it full of monster, why can only certain people travel it? I want to know more about conquerors – where did they come from? Why are they trying to conquer the world?

My favourite part of the book – the phantom court, complete with phantom music and dancing. Loved it.

Who would like this? This is not one for the faint hearted at nearly 500 pages you need to be prepared to invest your time and energy into keeping all the characters straight. Did I mention there are a lot of characters?

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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