City of Night
Daw, Feb 2 2010, $25.95
In the capital city of Essalieyam Empire Averalaan lies the under city beneath the streets. Very few of the surface dwellers know that life below ground exists. Rath, estranged from his family, seeks valuables from the land below to sell to those above. Also seeking valuables from the undercity in order to survive are the nomadic, street urchins led by Jewell “Jay” Markess. She is a grateful to Rath for taking her off the streets and mentoring her on how to live off the undercity treasures.
Life inside of Averalaan is getting harder. Children are disappearing without a trace including some from Jay’s den. There’s a demon dissonance hovering over the city and Rath investigates what is going on. His inquiries lead to Lord Cordufar and his mistress; bot of whom are not human and dangerous to Rath, Jay and others. He also learns that a demon can take over the body of a person and retain their memories. Jay is a seer who has three identical visions of Cordufar’s mistress. This is significant as it spells out danger especially when Jay also has visions that Rath will die unless he takes precautions to prevent a demon from subsuming him Jay tries to keep Rath safe while he attempts to insure her future if he dies.
This is a super action oriented investigative fantasy in an incredible world as Michelle West makes her empire and capital seem as if it comes from ancient history books rather than her imagination. The cast is strong especially the lead couple who are clearly devoted to one another with each wanting to keep the other safe. However, , it is the city and its undercity that spellbinds the audience as no one knows what is coming to the surface from below.