Reaper’s Legacy Toxic City: Book Two by Tim Lebbon (book review).

The stakes are raised in ‘Reaper’s Legacy’, the second book of Tim Lebbon’s ‘Toxic City’ trilogy in which London has been decimated by a terrorist attack and people are developing mysterious and scary powers.


When we last saw our heroes, the group had split up with Jack, Sparky and Jenna attempting to find Jack’s father, who has been corrupted with power and is now the de facto ruler of London, and Lucy-Anne heading north with the mysterious Rook to find her brother.

Much like a band’s difficult second album, ‘Reaper’s Legacy’ suffers from being the second book in a trilogy. It will move the story on but you still have to wait for the final act. No matter what happened in the book, there was a feeling of ‘so what, the real action will take place in book three’. A shame really as it’s quite a mature, well-thought out plot that doesn’t give too much away and leaves you looking forward to the epic showdown that will hopefully take place in the next instalment.

Although set in London, it feels very like the ‘Infamous’ video game world. A city cut off from the rest of the world, mysterious powers developing and factions vying for power. That’s in no way a criticism of the novel but rather praise of the world Lebbon has created that can be easily visualised in the reader’s imagination. It will be interesting to see how it will be portrayed in the impending ABC TV series ‘Evolve’, which is based on the novels, although it does seem to have stalled for now with the network prioritising ‘Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’.

The divide between Jack and his friends is extremely well-written as his powers grow along with his confidence. Best friend/comic relief Sparky is given a little less to do but that’s part of the isolation felt by Jack. It’s lonely at the top and he’s devoting all of his energy into saving the relationship with his wayward father.

The action flips between the two groups and while Jack, et al are the main focus, I found myself enjoying the Lucy-Anne and Rook sub-plot a little more. For the first book, ‘London Eye’, I had criticised the two female characters for being interchangeable and that has certainly been addressed here. Lucy-Anne becomes a proper character in her own right and the search for her brother keeps us remembering the human story behind the bigger picture.

It’s certainly worth reading if you enjoyed the first novel. There’s no real catch-up or summary of the relationships so a reader coming to the ‘Toxic City’ series would find it quite difficult to catch up and it’s been a while, you might need to refresh your memory of what happened in book one.

Aidan Fortune

September 2013

(pub: Pyr/Prometheus Books. 231 page small hardback. Price: $17.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-61614-767-9)

check out websites: www.pyrsf.com and www.timlebbon.net


Once called a "fountain of useless pop culture knowledge", Aidan is an unashamed geek, grateful that he is allowed share his opinions on a global scale. A journalist by trade, Aidan is a massive fan of comics and recently set up a comics group in Brighton in order to engage more with like-minded people. His home is subject to a constant battle of vintage paraphernalia and science fiction & fantasy toys.

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