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City of Dreams & Nightmare

(City of a Hundred Rows #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  513 ratings  ·  51 reviews
They call it the City of a Hundred Rows. The ancient city of Thaiburley is a vast, multi-tiered metropolis, where the poor live in the City Below and demons are said to dwell in the Upper Heights.

Having witnessed a murder in a part of the city he should never have been in, Tom, a lowly street-nick, has to run for his life through the City Below, Thaiburleys unsavoury
Mass Market Paperback, 427 pages
Published March 4th 2010 by Angry Robot (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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Kara Babcock
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Culture is a conversation. So intertextuality is an important part of literature, because literature is one of the vehicles of that conversation. What we think of books and stories is influenced by what weve previously read. Similarly, authors are influenced by what they read, and the books that sell give rise to trends in the types of fiction (and even non-fiction) that make it to the shelves. Sometimes I find myself reading a book and comparing it, no matter how hard I try, to another book, ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
City of Dreams & Nightmare is a bit patchy, but overall I had fun reading it. It reminded me of half a dozen other stories -- Stephen Hunt, with a touch of Miéville and all those fantasy stories where an unremarkable street-girl/street-boy becomes oh so terribly important. There were a lot of ideas, and I was fascinated, but around three-quarters of the way through it wears thin: suddenly we find out that everything has been orchestrated by someone, that the danger was never really that bad. ...more
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Only having read a short story by this author before, although several anthologies that he had edited, I was looking forward to reading a full novel by him. I wasn't really sure what to expect, least of which was I thought this was going to be SF but instead turned out to be some kind of urban fantasy thriller.

The narrative started simply, the action kicked in right away and the story gradually grew in complexity as more characters were introduced, more layers of intrigue revealed.

In some ways,
Suzanne (Under the Covers Book blog)
Jun 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy & Urban Fantasy Fans
This was an excellent book, it seemed like a unique blend of magic and technology, urban fantasy and more traditional fantasy, and the more I think about this book, the more I like it.

It is the first book of a series set in the city Thaiburley, which is a vast city built into a mountain and made up of one hundred rows. Tom, our young hero, is a street-nick in the lowest part of the city, accidently witnesses a murder that keeps him on the run in the lower City, with the aid of Kat, a renegade
Very entertaining adventure set in the immense City of Thaiburley and featuring all that's expected from such and more, including aliens, strange weapons and devices, magical powers, blade fights, intrigue, assassins, various villains with diverse agendas, corrupt police....

Like The Bookman (another Angry Robot debut that I enjoyed a lot and with which this one resembles in approach while quite different in theme) threw everything steampunk in, City of Dreams and Nightmares throws everything
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
This story is the first of a new series called A City of One Hundred Rows. Thaiburley is an immense city filled with strange creatures, rival gangs of thieves, and a class structure that has the elites living in the higher reaches of the city. Tom, a lowly street-nick witnesses a murder while snooping about in the upper levels. Tylus is a new member of the Kite Guard, an airborne police force. And Kat is mysterious young woman who gets thrown together with Tom as he eludes various pursuers.

...City of Dreams & Nightmare is mostly a quick, fun read. It is not particularly a challenging read and in terms of worldbuilding, I feel Whates leaves a lot of aspects of the city and the world surrounding it a bit underdeveloped. He doesn't quite fulfil the potential his creation offers. That being said, there will be more books in this series and obviously there has to be something left to explore. Tom and Kat's flight through the City Below, trying to keep a step ahead of the nameless ...more
Giving up at page 106 (so a quarter of the way through) because bored. I'm not attached to any of the characters: Tom the street brat is rootless and relatively generic; Tylus the kite guard is suffering from rich white boy ennui (oh, but, did he really want to have one of the most privileged and respected positions in the city?) and could do with a smack in the face; Magnus the villain is terribly cliche, and while I did think for a little bit that I might like his risen-from-nothing assassin ...more
Jessica Strider
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Pros: slow paced, intricate plot, disparate stories draw together into tight conclusion, mystery, enough action to retain interest, nifty characters and history, well told

Cons: hard to picture (purposely sparse details)

Tom, a street-nick from the City Below has illegally climbed to the heights of the City of a Hundred Rows, Thaiburley. There, he witnesses a murder and evades the capture of Kite Guard Tylus.

Tasked with finding the boy, Tylus heads to the lowest level, where trouble is brewing
Amanda Makepeace
Mar 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Whates crammed a lot of information, characters and sub plots into a story about a boy who witnesses a murder. Albeit, this is no ordinary boy and ultimately, the story isn't only about a murder. But you need patience to see that underlying story. At times I felt like there was too much going on and not enough character development. When answers were given they weren't fulfilling enough, as if only half-answers were provided. But with that said, the world he created is a masterpiece. I'm still ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Thaiburley is the famous City of a Hundred Rows. (Which I still can't quite visualize, but basically, the entire city is an agglomeration of buildings, the whole thing a hundred stories (rows) tall; possibly a hollowed out mountain?) Not unexpectedly, the high levels are home to the rich & powerful, and the not-so-rich and not-so-powerful dwell down in the depths; the feel isn't quite steampunk (not much in the way of mechanisms) but is distinctly Dickensian.

Our tale begins with Tom, a
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, i-own
I am listening to the 100 rows trilogy after my borrow box library app locked up and wouldn't play OR shut down and start again. [i forgot how to force quit it]
This seems very cliched - magic poor boy comes to the attention of evil rich wizard and he has an evil factotum who used to be an assassin for hire and is now his manservant - and I am finding it hard to have any sympathy for the rich privileged police dude who isn't sure he wants to be a policeman and who is the willing jape of the
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed it but there needs to be far more backstory. Things happen and are referenced that are never explained and it was a little frustrating not to have more depth to this could be fascinating world.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, spec-fic
c2010. Damn. YA. Say no more. 'The smile slipped from the senior arkademic's face and all he could do was gape."
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, read-2017
Light read but just get over some of the weirdness.
Laura D
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
It was ok, pace a little slow, wrap up at the end was far too long, but generally held my interest throughout.
Alex Hill
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable book, great addition to the genre.
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book to read at work.
Sachin Dev
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
An extremely trying read - didn't like it one bit. So will keep this short.

City of Dreams and Nightmares is part-one of City of Hundred Rows trilogy and is touted to be a page-turning adventure set in a multi-tiered metropolis called Thaiburley where rats and the poor guys live at the bottom, while the rich magistrates and demons live at the top. It follows the fate of two street-kids as they discover they are cogs in the wheels, set in motion by a sinister ploy that threatens to consume the
Ondrej Urban
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part of the trilogy was a 3.5-starer for me - fairly entertaining but with shortcomings, some coming from my personal taste, others from what I perceived as objectively not good.

The book opens with a promise of a lot of action in a tantalizingly new-weirdish environment... and, almost immediately tones it down. The city, to me, was never truly described to its full potential and at times I had issues picturing the layout itself. Furthermore, this book, to me, was far from the gritty
Oct 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The story starts out with a youngster called Tom who is trespassing in forbidden territory. He is from the slums of his world, and is attempting to reach the heights literally. He has progressed from the bottom tiers to nearly the top of what appears to be a hundred rows of living spaces, all carved out of and appended to one mountain. The city, Thaiburly, is situated on a major river, and has trade with other cities.

One gets the impression, though, that traders are rare, and only welcome on
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Tom, a streetnick from the City Below, sees something he shouldnt have. Now hes on the run from a hired assassin, rival streetnicks, and the renowned Kite Guard. With the help of Kat, another resident of the City Below, hell have a shot at making it home. But forces are a play that neither of them anticipated

There were several different characters, plotlines, and predicaments to be resolved. Whates did well in keeping things relatively uncomplicated so that each plotline had a resolution and the
May 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
If I could give this 2.5 stars I would. It had a lot of elements that I like. Magic, constructs, monsters, intrigue but it didn't really gel for me. My biggest problem, right from the start was that I couldn't picture the city. It sounded like it was some very unique construct of "rows" that were stacked on top of each other but the description didn't make sense to me. So I was distracted for a long time trying to figure out how a character could fall off the wall and pass by other "rows" which ...more
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2011
4 stars

An entertaining fantasy that is somewhat steam punk as well. Everything done here is done with a light brush stroke. The characters are fine, the magic is basic, and the monsters are alright. The city itself is the star and adds a wonderful dimension to this standard chase and mission fantasy.

I liked the characters, the extras, and the kite guard. Kat was my favorite after our main hero Tom. The other extras were colorful enough to make this story succeed.

A fun ride that you will quickly
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
This was one of those novels where you are thrown into the action and you have to puzzle things out as you go along. I really enjoy them as long as they are done well and this is done very well. The story starts with a young gang member on a "mission". You don't know why he's been sent or why the mission is important, but you quickly learn why he agreed to go, so you understand whis actions. At the same time you quickly find out that things are a lot more complicated than he realises and that's ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had nothing but fun reading this book! Totally different from what I am used to, but this is what i like about it. In the upper hierarchy you find the people who have everything and do not know how or where they get their power or anything else. On the lower echelons you have the poorer souls who live with nothing, but unknowingly do not know what goes on up in the higher levels. It is the story that begins with a boy, Tom being dared to climb the stairs up to the highest level, but he has ...more
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ian Whates creates a richly textured world and fascinating characters. The conlict comes when the intentionally underachieving street punk Tom witnesses the pompus and overreaching Senior Arkadamic Magnus commit murder. Tom retreats to the underworld slums to hide, but everything is off kilter. Watching Tom begin to learn who he really is as Magnus' seemingly foolproof plan unravels is a brethtaking non-stop action.
I can't wait to begin City of Hope and Despair - but first I need to clean up the
Pros: Interesting world (OK, city), not-obvious plot (except the "orphan with unusual powers" trope which is really old) and interesting enough to check out the sequel.
Cons: Poorly formated ebook no "scene splits". And the ending blatantly setting up a sequel, which fortunately had been written and published, but without it one major plot would be unresolved (I assume it is resolved in volume 2).
Science Fiction Dystopian Mystery

I really was disappointed to see this book rated 2 stars at my library. I thought the story was really clever and it reminds me of people who live in tree huts! There are a lot of fun characters and I loved how their fates weren't typical of bad vs good! This is a really wonderfully built world and can't wait for the next Book, very curious about the sisters from the pit!
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok book. Interesting world he has created. I would have liked more detail of the history/background of the city and people that inhabit it. Nice pace and with a good blend of magic, tech and action. The motivations of the characters could have been more developed. Good book for the $3.99 price on my nook. Might read the sequel.
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Ian Whates lives in a comfortable home down a quiet cul-de-sac in an idyllic Cambridgeshire village, which he shares with his partner Helen and their pets Honey the golden cocker spaniel, Calvin the tailless black cat and Inky the goldfish (sadly, Binky died a few years ago).

Ians earliest memories of science fiction are fragmented. He remembers loving Dr Who from an early age and other TV shows

Other books in the series

City of a Hundred Rows (3 books)
  • City of Hope & Despair (City of a Hundred Rows, #2)
  • City of Light & Shadow (City of a Hundred Rows, #3)

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