After I read ‘The City’ at the start of the month, I dutifully popped over to Goodreads, clicked into my ‘Currently Reading’ shelf—ignored the Stephen Donaldson book I’ve been half-reading since November—and marked Stella Gemmell’s solid debut novel as ‘Read’. While I was there, I thought I’d check the progress on my Reading Challenge for 2014. I’d set myself the relatively low target of thirty books for the year. So far I had read one.
In six months.
I know some authors who have written more books in that time.
Stella Gemmell’s The City is a strange book. It’s difficult to say why it’s strange without going into spoiler territory, but suffice to say that it is strange but the strangeness is a good thing — you never quite understand exactly what the book’s about until you get to the end, and that’s what keeps you reading.
On the face of it, the plot is simple enough. There’s an ancient city — only ever referred to as ‘The City’, even in dialogue — that has been at war with its many enemies, collectively known as ‘The Blues’, for years. The City has started to fall into ruin and its enemies have devised a plot to take down the emperor, Araeon ‘The Immortal’.
The plot involves a huge cast of characters, with suitably Heroic Fantasy genre names like Bartellus, Fell Aron Lee, Marcellus Vincerus, Indaro, and Archange. Some characters even take second names, just in case the existing cast wasn’t comprehensive enough for you, and some even take second, and third, bodies (dum dum dummmmmm). Continue reading
If you’ve been on the internet at all recently you’ll know two things; you’ll know what happened on Game of Thrones (whether you wanted to or not), and you’ll be aware of a certain hashtag dominating Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and magazines.
Enough people have put down their thoughts about #Yesallwomen that I really didn’t think it was worth throwing my voice into the mix, but as I scrolled and scrolled (and scrolled and scr—) through a staggeringly long list of experiences I would never wish upon anyone, it occurred to me how little I really know about what women go through all the time.
Just all the fucking time.