Reviewed by: Nicole DeVincentis
Cover/Title: The cover is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and really caught my attention. The bright orange and yellow makes the title jump out at you and the near-black background offers the perfect balance. This combination immediately drew me in and would have me taking the book off the shelf in any library. My only suggestion would be to include your name somewhere on the cover, so readers become more familiar with you. Perhaps placing it at the very top, or directly underneath the title in the center. The title is unique and gives us only subtle clues as to the plot, effective in making us all the more curious.
Summary/Synopsis: The last part of the summary is my favorite part. It tantalizes the reader, teasing them with this “cheeky” fellow with a nickname that bodes trouble. We immediately form a curiosity for who this boy is and how he might impact Leithan’s life. The first paragraph comes off just as impactful; however, I did notice a grammar mistake or two. Despite these minor oversights, the information introduced is spectacular. We get little pieces of the puzzle, without getting the full picture and it piques our interest.
Grammar/Structure: I found very little mistakes in grammar. Punctuation is superb and fluid sentence structure makes for an easy read. It’s clear that the author has a firm grasp of English grammar and exemplary writing skills.
Vocabulary/Descriptions: Vocabulary is extensive and well integrated, and descriptions are spot on. There are several characters introduced very early on, so the small attributes included give us some very effective markers to distinguish between characters. As a side note, the made-up language is a nice touch. Especially the execution, where the author has other characters “learning” the language. It makes it interesting for readers, and we feel smart when we can follow as well.
Pace/Character Development: The story has a very fast pace to it. As it is, I feel the pace works well, but it can be a little slower. For instance, as helpful as the descriptions are to differentiate between characters, slowing it down may also be helpful. Several characters are introduced very early in the story and it can be a lot to keep track of. What I really like is the beginning; we don’t have paragraphs upon paragraphs of backstory or setting description. We’re thrown right into the middle of things, and dialogue starts a few lines in. It’s very well executed and is a refreshing change. As far as character development, it takes a few chapters for everyone to assume their own identity in the story. My earlier mention of either slowing the story down, or possibly tacking their characteristics onto the end of dialogue tags might prove effective in that. Just so I’m clear, I didn’t find it “difficult” to keep track of the characters, but the more characters introduced so early in the story the greater chance of overwhelming the reader.
What I like most: To reiterate my earlier point, I love the way this story begins. The author has an excellent way of putting us right in the middle of the conflict without confusing us. Other authors try to be almost poetic in describing the setting in the first three paragraphs and, while it’s always nice to have visuals, the story comes off as slow, often tedious, right away. In Son Of No City, we get right to the excitement, and it’s brilliant.
Concluding thoughts: Son Of No City offers unpredictable plot twists, relatable characters, and even a new language to enthrall readers with a story of betrayal, coercion, suspense, and loyalty. It’s protagonist, Leithan, narrates the story through the young eyes of a teenager, but with the mind of an astute detective, carefully assessing the situation and offering valuable insight to the reader. However, as acute as Leithan is portrayed to be, his extensive insight seems questionable. For instance, how does he know Nix (his boyfriend) is up to something in the first chapter and that it has something to do with his clan? The author attributes it to the drug he ingested, and how it magnifies his perception, but I didn’t see how the accusation was preluded. He also seems to have a very specific idea of what it is, asking Nix if it has something to do with his shaman. The reader is left to question how Leithan could know that. Other than that, I found Son Of No City to be a very enjoyable read, and would certainly recommend it.