Pen's life revolves around secrets; the secrets behind her three-month disappearance from school last winter, the secret cause of the scars that mar her face, and, most secret of all, her mirror-sister Parva: her doppelganger in London-Under-Glass, the city behind the mirrors.
Pen's trying to forget Reach, Filius Viae and the Wire Mistress and get back to a normal life, but when Parva vanishes, she has no choice but to seek out London's stranger side. And when Pen journeys through the mirror, she finds a world where scars make you beautiful and criminals will kill you for your face - a world in which Pen's sister was keeping secrets of her own.
I can't actually remember a lot about the first book in Tom Pollock's Skyscraper Throne Trilogy. It probably is a good case for binge reading book series once all the installments have been published! My lack of recall meant that I spent the first quarter of The Glass Republic feeling a bit lost and trying to re-boot my memories of what had happened to Beth and company...but looking back on the reading experience, I didn't really need any prior knowledge. In fact, I actually enjoyed this second installment a lot more than the first.
I remember that I had a hard time trying to visualise all these expansive, wonderful and imaginative ideas of Pollock's - the majority of his characters are made up of elements of the city and I could only imagine how much it would cost to adapt these books into a film/t,v, series - and this would mean that I was often reading passages without fully taking them in. Yet, with TGR, I had no problem and felt fully immersed within Penn's story.
Penn is promoted from Beth's sidekick to fully fledged protagonist in The Glass Republic, and we follow her as she struggles to fit in after her dual ordeals in The City's Son. With all that Pollock has put her through, Penn's character could have easily slid into 'check-list' territory. Yet, there's so many layers to Penn, and to all of the characters that inhabit this strange world, that every action and reaction reads as genuine.
If you haven't had a chance to check this series out, I highly recommend it. The concluding book in the trilogy, The Lady of Our Streets was published last year, so I'm hoping the library will get a copy in stock soon. What I love most about this series is that I honestly do not know where it's heading - and I can't wait to find out.