Hang Wire by Adam Christopher – Advance Review [Bane of Kings]

HangWire

Milo, aka “Bane of Kings”, reviews Hang Wire, the latest novel by Angry Robot author Adam Christopher (Empire State, The Age Atomic, Seven Wonders), an urban fantasy book that hits shelves January 28 in the USA and on February 6 in the UK.

“An excellent read, Adam Christopher once again reminds us why he is your go-to writer for awesome urban fantasy as he crafts an unputdownable tale that makes Angry Robot’s 100th Novel an excellent read!” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

Ted Hall is worried. He’s been sleepwalking, and his somnambulant travels appear to coincide with murders by the notorious Hang Wire Killer.

Meanwhile, the circus has come to town, but the Celtic dancers are taking their pagan act a little too seriously, the manager of the Olde Worlde Funfair has started talking to his vintage machines, and the new acrobat’s frequent absences are causing tension among the performers.

Out in the city there are other new arrivals – immortals searching for an ancient power – a primal evil which, if unopposed, could destroy the world!

Hang Wire by Adam Christopher is the first book that I’ve reviewed from Angry Robot this year even though Pantomime and The Almost Girl are technically AR novels due to the fact that Strange Chemistry is an imprint. Hang Wire is also the first adult novel that I’ve reviewed this year and like the previous two books, thanks to NetGalley, I finished them both in 2013. This time though we’re not going for fantasy or science fiction like the previous two books that I’ve mentioned. Hang Wire is Urban Fantasy, but if you’ve come here expecting badass wise-cracking magical Private Detectives or a girl torn in a love triangle with two ‘updated’ versions of different supernatural creatures then you’ve come to the wrong place. Hang Wire is a refreshingly unique take on the genre that is a lot of fun to read – and I couldn’t put it down.

HangWireThe first novel that I read from Christopher was Empire State and I haven’t looked back since, with each new novel from the author being very awesome. The Age Atomic and Seven Wonders have been fun, enjoyable and unputdownable – and Hang Wire is more of the same – if you’ve read a Adam Christopher book in the past then you’ll know what to expect from this novel so fans of his work should be pleased by what they find in here. However, at the same time – the book itself manages to feel fresh and new, as though this is Christopher’s first work and not his fourth book that I’ve read from him. It’s just damn great.

Opening with an exploding fortune cookie at the birthday of a blogger named Ted, the book sees San Francisco on the verge of destruction in an event that isn’t entirely new to the city. However, things have changed since the last attempts to utterly annihilate the city (which have included the Earthquake in 1906), as now it has to deal with a mysterious serial killer known as “The Hang Wire Killer”, multiple Gods from a long forgotten mythology and to top it all off, a Circus, containing Celtic Dancers whose paganistic acts are taken a little too seriously. As a result there’s a lot of stuff that comes packed into this book that fans of Christopher’s previous novels will feel familiar with – with the book starting off with a bang to draw you in and a strong narrative voice that keeps you right to the very end.

For someone who appears to be the main character in the blurb, you’d expect a lot of attention focused on  Ted Hall, but the narrative is split between multiple viewpoints in a third person perspective, with Ted not getting enough pagetime as one would like. This also means that there’s less chance for characters to develop and If I had to pinpoint one flaw with this novel that I had it would be that its characters aren’t really engaging enough and none of them really left an impact on me as a reader. However, the multiple viewpoint structure of the narrative was probably the best way to tell the story, as the rest of the cast include a Blonde Surfer named Bob who’s been teaching ballroom dancing near the beach for decades. Joel is another character that’s worth mentioning and is arguably the weakest character of the book as his chapters started to feel too repetitive for my liking. But nonetheless, these flaws didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book and I found Hang Wire to be a delightfully entertaining read.

If you like comics and are a fan of the horror genre then you’ll dig Hang Wire. It’s clever, and far from your standard Urban Fantasy novel with some good plotting and a strong pace that once it has you invested in the novel you won’t be able to put it down. It’s yet another good Angry Robot novel that almost had me missing my bus stop when I was reading it - because I just couldn’t put it down. The book works well as a standalone so whether you’ve read all of Adam Christopher’s novels or are hearing the good praise about him and want to check his work out for yourself, then Hang Wire is the perfect place to start, and this book comes recommended if you’re looking to get 2014 off to a good start when it comes to reading. It’s also worth pointing out that Hang Wire is Angry Robot’s 100th Book, and it’s been a great journey to get to this number as they’re one of my go-to publishers for awesome reads, and I’m hoping for many more equally awesome novels from them in the future.

VERDICT: 4/5 

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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