Thursday, January 26, 2012

City of Lies The Keepers Book Two by Lian Tanner

How do you feel about trilogies and quartets? Ever since Harry Potter it seems so many authors feel compelled to write Book One, Book Two, Book Three and so on. In some cases the second book can be disappointing so I have been holding on to this book, City of Lies, The Keepers Book Two, for about five weeks. I was very keen to revisit the world of Goldie Roth and her friend Toadspit but I was fearful of being disappointed.

Let me tell you right now this second book is even better than the first. I adore Goldie Roth. She is such a strong girl with a warm heart and an indomitable spirit.

When we left The Museum of Thieves Goldie had been asked to become the Fifth Keeper of the Museum of Dunt but this seems impossible after the hardships endured by her loving parents. Goldie sets out one evening to visit the museum to explain that she cannot become the fifth keeper. She is joined by her friend Toadspit and his sister Bonnie but a short distance into their journey Bonnie is kidnapped. This is not a random incident but part of a huge plan by the dreaded Fugleman as he plots to regain power in Jewel.

Lian Tanner has created an entire world in her book so vividly that the reader is swept up into the dangers, smells, and strange customs. Corruption and deception abound.

There were so many parts of this story that I enjoyed. The food of course. There is a scene when people throw food at a band of musicians including sausages, cheese, pies, a goose, cakes, oranges and a leg of roast mutton. “The meat was still hot, and dripping with rosemary and olive oil. It smelt better than anything Goldie had ever smelled in her life.”

I also love the voice Goldie hears in her head. Advice, as a reader you know she must follow, but which she sometimes ignores at her peril. For me this gives the book an element of reader participation as I found myself ‘talking to Goldie’ urging her to listen.

Lian Tanner introduces an important new character in this book. A young boy called Mouse who is unable to speak. He tells fortunes using twelve mice who deliver scraps of paper that the boy assembles into a message. This idea seems so inventive. As does the idea of the ‘Imitation of Nothingness’ that Goldie and Toadspit used in the first book and now use again to save the life of Mouse when Cord, a mercenary, threats to throw the little boy to the sharks. There are times when I would like this skill. “I am nothing. I am the wind in the rigging… I am the smell of the sea. I am the taste of salt water… I am nothing. I am the memory of nothing. I am the smell and taste of nothing.”

The plot for this book is so rich and complex I know I have not told you even a tiny fraction of it. All I can say is grab this book quickly and read it. You will not be disappointed. Also take a look at the web site which adds to the richness of this series. One thing I have not talked about is the title. Lies play a central role in this story and the way these lies help Goldie and her friends is another wonderful aspect of this highly imaginative narrative.

Here is a great idea. Lian Tanner has a link on her web site of other books you might enjoy. I have read nearly all of them and thoroughly agree with her choices. You might also enjoy The rescue of Princess Althena by Kathryn England, the Bartlett series by Odo Hirsch, Sun Sword Trilogy by Belinda Murrell or the Percy Jackson books.

Lian Tanner also has a competition one for kids and one for adults… take a look but note entries close on 19th February.

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