Low Town: Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky – Advance Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings writes an advance review of Daniel Polansky’s Tomorrow the Killing, which is published by Hodder and hits shelves in October 2012.
“A fantastic follow up that you will not be able to put down. A great read.” ~The Founding Fields
Tomorrow the Killing was one of the many novels that I read whilst I was in France, and in a holiday that involved my introduction to comics (via comixology app on my IPod), and the breaking of my bike saddle, and the leaving behind of my memory stick (In case there was a computer at the place we were staying. There was Internet, but no computer), Polansky’s novel was really one of the things that made my holiday awesome. I enjoyed every bit of Polansky’s sequel, and couldn’t put it down. Top-notch stuff, and I can’t wait to see where the author takes the reader next.
Once he was a hero of the Great War, and then a member of the dreaded Black House. Now he is the criminal linchpin of Low Town. His name is Warden. He thought he had left the war behind him, but a summons from up above brings the past sharply, uncomfortably, back into focus. General Montgomery’s daughter is missing somewhere in Low Town, searching for clues about her brother’s murder. The General wants her found, before the stinking streets can lay claim to her, too. Dark, violent, and shot through with corruption, TOMORROW, THE KILLING is a fantastic successor to one of the most heralded fantasy debuts of recent times.
I put off reading Tomorrow the Killing for a long time, and I don’t know why I did. Within a few pages, I was drawn in and couldn’t put it down. What perhaps makes this novel even more appealing is that, even though it’s part of a series, the individual volumes aren’t stretching to seven-hundred odd pages long. Instead, it’s a short read by fantasy standards from what I’m used to, having recently re-read the first volume in the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks, The Way of Shadows. Tomorrow the Killing is also told in first person throughout the whole thing, meaning you don’t have to keep switching character POVs every couple of chapters. Once you start reading about Warden, you’re stuck with him. But never fear, because he’s a strong, memorable lead role that doesn’t rely on supporting characters to exist. Polansky weaves the tale so that we’re supporting Warden, even though he may be an anti-hero.
The pace is quick, and the tone is dark and gritty. This allows for some superb atmospheric scenes, and the mystery isn’t all as simple as you think it is, with several twists and turns – as well as some flashbacks to Warden’s time in the Great War, allowing Polansky to switch between settings as well as explore the world that he has thrust the reader in. Tomorrow the Killing can be read without having prior knowledge of the setting, so if you think this looks more interesting than The Straight Razor Cure, you can jump right in here with little difficulty. Warden is an interesting and unique hero to look at, and even though he may be no Aragorn, but that doesn’t make the tale any less interesting – I find a well-written anti-hero just as enjoyable as a normal well-written fantasy hero. Despite the fact that Warden is the “criminal linchpin of Low Town“, he maintains a sense of honour which allows the reader to root for him, and keep him likeable. The first person narrative allows for some dark humour throughout the novel, allowing for a few laughs despite the dark atmosphere. The flashbacks are done almost flawlessly, and there isn’t a change of pace between the past and the present. Both the flashbacks and the main narrative are action-packed, and the action is well-written and realistic. Polansky doesn’t rely on fantasy elements such as dragons and magic to enthrall the readers, in fact – Tomorrow the Killing might as well be a crime novel set in a fantasy world.
I really hope Polansky continues to write more novels set in Low Town, I really enjoyed this and can’t wait to see where he takes the reader in the second book. Both of his tales have been bloody, dark and page-turning, and I can find very little wrong with Tomorrow the Killing.
You know when I mentioned recently (I think) that I was having a really good month for reviewing novels/comic books? Well, it’s still continuing, and doesn’t look set to change either. I’ve got Chuck Wendig’s Mockingbird coming along soon, as well as the first eleven(maybe more if I can get them before the scheduled date) issues of Scott Synder’s superb Batman run.
More Low Town: The Straight Razor Cure (UK) / Low Town (US), Tomorrow the Killing.