I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
Beth Bradley is no ordinary teenager, and she never has been. After her mother's death, her father sort of lost his grasp of reality, which means that Beth is pretty much left to do as she pleases - and what Beth loves to do is roam the streets of London with her best friend, Pen, leaving a trail of graffiti everywhere she goes. But when a piece of graffiti gets her expelled from her school, Beth turns to the streets, where she meets an extraordinary boy named Filius, who claims to be the son of a goddess. Filius shows Beth a side of London that she's never seen before, and now that she's found it, she can never go back.
This is probably one of the most original books that I've ever read. Pollock takes ordinary objects that we see everyday and he turns them into something completely new and magical, and sometimes terrifying. It's a world where statues can fight, garbage can be come a living, breathing entity, and reflections in a mirror can be just real as the person next to you. And he takes an ordinary girl and places her right in the middle of it. This story is raw and violent. It will make you cringe and disgust you. But it's so masterfully written that you won't be able to stop reading. At first, I found this world to be difficult to picture, because it's just so different from our own, and yet, it's based on the London that we know, or have at least heard of. I think that part of the problem was just that this genre is completely new to me, so it took me a while to adjust myself. It's certainly no fault of Pollock's, because he's a master of description - he doesn't leave you completely blind to his characters' surroundings, but he doesn't get long-winded, either.
The story is told from multiple perspectives, and Pollock is an author who can actually use this technique well, moving smoothly from character to character without losing track of the story or becoming choppy. Each character is well-developed and multifaceted. They each have very real fears, but they each face them bravely, even if their lives are on the line - and they very often are. As the story develops, we watch each of the characters grow and become a better version of themselves.
I think that one of the most interesting aspects of this book is that it deals with the concept of an absent god, one who's abandoned its worshipers. It's an extremely daring move to make and I think that Pollock tackles it with tact, but also with honesty. It's done in a way that teens can understand, but it's also subtle enough that they may not make the connection that it's sort of a commentary on the religion of our world unless they truly sit and think about it. I think this aspect of the book might make some parents pause, but let's be honest: this book was written for high school students, most of whom aren't going to pass over a book just because Mom and Dad say to do so.
This book is definitely appropriate for high school and above, but not any younger. It's chock-full of profanity and oh my word, the violence is astounding. It's not just battle scenes and briefly saying that someone got hurt; you learn exactly how they got hurt and exactly how they're wounded and how much pain they're in... it's quite gruesome. Be prepared for that. Also, there are references to sex and while it's not graphic, again, it's raw,(show spoiler)
Overall, I'd say that this was an great piece of literature - it's original, it grabs your attention fast and never lets go, it's well-written. I have no complaints. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that for me, a 5 star book has to be WAY above and beyond my expectations and my new favorite book. While a great book, this isn't my favorite. But it's still fantastic and I encourage you to go read it!