Whates, Ian: City of a Hundred Rows

Although Ian Whates has writing experience, City of a Hundred Rows is his debut into the industry of novels.

CITY OF DREAMS & NIGHTMARE (2010)

Cover art by Greg Bridges (Incredible artwork)

Chance brought me to the city of Thaiburley and the street-nick named Tom. Sometimes chance is a wonderful thing and sometimes it isn’t. In this case I found myself liking the writing of Ian Whates and wanted to read the next book of the trilogy.

Thaiburley is a city built in tiers – one hundred of them. At the bottom we find the City Below (often called City of Nightmare by its denizens) and the poorest of the population. Wealth increases as one ascends, until one hits to the top layer – the Upper Heights. This is where the angel-like demons are supposed to reside.

The first two people we meet in City of Dreams & Nightmare are Tylus, our newly-minted Kite Guard, and Tom, our young street-nick. Tylus is out patrolling for the night, while Tom is climbing the many layers of the city so he can get to the top and steal a demon egg. Both stumble onto the apparent murder of a council-man. Thinking Tom is the culprit, Tylus chases him and sees Tom fall off the side of the building. Action-packed from the very beginning.

The adventure continues through the whole book. Tom is chased by the authorities for his assumed part in the murder of councilman Thomas. While running, Tom meets up with Kat – survivor of the Pits (like Rome’s Colosseum). In spite of her young age, Kat is an incredible fighter. Tom on the other hand is very good at not being seen. Both skills will come in handy during the story, because this novel is for the most part about trying to survive against the odds. The baddy of the story, councilman Magnus, sends off his assassin Dewar to tie off Tom. Dewar is another incredible fighter. He has absolutely no qualms and often likes to play with his victims.

Do I recommend this book. I’ll say definitely. City of Dreams & Nightmare was an easy and fun read. Ian Whates certainly knows his craft, and as a reader I always delight in such authors.

CITY OF HOPE & DESPAIR (2011)

Cover art by Greg Bridges

This second installment in the trilogy City of a Hundred Rows is as fun to read as City of Dreams & Nightmare was. Once again, we get to meet Tom, Kat, Dewar and Tylus, but this time in different combinations.

Thaiburley’s strange power is failing. The Prime Master sends Tom off to discover the source of the great river Thair in hopes that he will find out just what is causing the failure. Ironically, Dewar the assassin is sent along to protect Tom and his companions. There is no way Ian Whates is going to let this journey be a peaceful one, and we are not disappointed. Here too, are plenty of survival struggles.

Kat, in the meantime, remains in the City Below. There The Soul Thief is killing off people with “talent”. In addition to the Soul Thief the gangs of the under-city are changing, both in structure but also in behavior. This change in gang-life makes life more interesting for Kat, her sister and the Tattooed men. Kat is a great character and her adventures in this book are pretty intense.

Tylus, our Kite-Guard, is sent to the under-city to make something of the City Guard there. Automatically, we know that he is going to have his work cut out for him.

City of Hope & Despair is as much fun as City of Dreams & Nightmare. I like the fact that these books are action-filled and lacking in the gooey factor. Both books deliver what they promise – good old-fashioned adventure. Ian Whates is definitely on my author-plus list.

CITY OF LIGHT & SHADOW (2012)

Cover art by Greg Bridges (Breathtaking)

Maybe the bone-flu is not all it seems to be. As City of Light & Shadow begins, we get a glimpse at what might be the reason behind the disease.

Tom has reached his goal and is left trying to assimilate information in amounts he has never had to before. For such a curious soul, this must be a gift – although a double-edged one. Thais is not exactly what he expected in a god, but how are gods supposed to be anyways.

Dewar wakes up, clearer-headed than he has been in a long time. He knows exactly what he wants to do next. It’s time to go home and take care of some unfinished business.

Kat and her Tattooed men have not given up on getting the Soul Thief. With Tylus and some of his men, they set off into the Stain to kill it.

All the stories come together and we see clearly how they all have something to do with Thaiss. Ian Whates tells an action-filled story, one that kept me reading. City of Light & Shadow is a fun and easy read, just like the other two. The ending left me wondering if this was indeed going to remain a trilogy. Hmmm. In a sense there was closure. On the other hand I was left hanging a bit. Hmmm. Oh well, I like it when authors do that to us readers. It’s kind of cruel, but also a lot more fun for me (kind of). I’ve really enjoyed my journey into the City of a Hundred Rows.

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