London Eye: Toxic City Book One by Tim Lebbon (book review).
A terrorist attack, a city that has been altered beyond all recognition and a group of survivors struggling to make sense of a situation they can’t understand. Sound familiar? Set in the aftermath of what was believed to be a terrorist attack on London, the first book in the ‘Toxic City’ series, ‘London Eye’, deals with a group of teenagers venture into the city to find their loved ones but find that not all is as it seems.
Once in the city, it is revealed that survivors of the attack have various powers and there are different factions vying for power. Those using their powers for good, the Irregulars, are lower down the pecking order than the Superiors who are attempting to wrest control of what remains of the city from the Choppers, a military-like operation that roams the streets hunting down anyone with a power and experimenting on them in vicious fashion.
The children have been led into the city by one of the Irregulars who has managed to escape and it becomes evident that the de facto leader of the group is linked to this power struggle in ways he couldn’t imagine.
I found ‘London Eye’ to be quite an engaging book that wasted no time in getting going. There were some dips in pace but this can be overlooked as it is part of a planned series rather than a one-off. It also doesn’t pull any punches and, at times, I had to make sure that it was definitely a young adult novel. That’s not to say it’s unsuitable for the audience, it stays on the right side of the line but flirts with it enough to keep everyone interested.
The lead character of Jack is well-written, he has an obvious goal to achieve and his interaction with best friend, Sparky, is handled nicely as well. Both of them are damaged goods and become surrogate brothers in the new world order. What I wasn’t too keen on was Jack’s relationship with Lucy-Anne. It introduces them as boyfriend and girlfriend at the start of the book but that they’re drifting apart however this isn’t mentioned again until close to the end. Plus their chemistry isn’t exactly that great but that’s forgivable though because who here hasn’t gone out with someone they shouldn’t have huh?
The two female leads, Lucy-Ann and Jenna, also seemed to blur slightly leaving me a little lost as to why both of them were needed but I’m guessing that’s sowing the seeds for a love rectangle in future instalments.
Those character critiques aside, this is an incredibly enjoyable book. The twists are nicely revealed and Lebbon has set up some great plots to expand upon in the next book. Having spent a lot of time travelling through London, it really brought the events in the book to home for me, especially the news reports at the beginning of each chapter.
Definitely a book to watch out for, although probably best you don’t give it to someone who lives in London.
(pub: Pyr/Prometheus. 229 page small hardback. Price: $16.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-61614-680-1)
check out websites: http://www.timlebbon.net and www.timlebbon.net