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Low Town

(Low Town #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  5,896 ratings  ·  656 reviews
Drug dealers, hustlers, brothels, dirty politics, corrupt cops . . . and sorcery. Welcome to Low Town.

In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of Rigus, the finest city of the Thirteen Lands, you will find Low Town. It is an ugly place, and its cham­pion is an ugly man. Disgraced intelligence agent. Forgotten war hero. Independent drug dealer. Af
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Doubleday (first published 2011)
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Kostas Since you've been waiting long for an answer, I'll be short: yes. Low Town (white cover) is the US edition; though the only one for the series due to …moreSince you've been waiting long for an answer, I'll be short: yes. Low Town (white cover) is the US edition; though the only one for the series due to low sales. Straight Razor Cure is the UK edition.(less)

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  5,896 ratings  ·  656 reviews

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Mark Lawrence
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So - I was coming back on the train from my only day out in 8 years (I'd been to hook up with Peter Brett & Myke Cole in London) - a day out on which it must be said my daughter Celyn was hurried back to hospital, so ... I might have to wait another 8 years for the next - and Marc Aplin of fantasy-faction.com said 'Here, read this.' Or something to that effect, and slid a copy of The Straight Razor Cure across the table to me (the title and cover are infinitely better in the UK).

That was August.
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is one of those books that I started reading as a palette cleanser between heavier, denser books. Polansky states that Hammett and Chandler were his inspiration for writing this book. Well alright, I love those guys. The back of the book says:

Drug dealers,
dirty politics,
corrupt cops . . . and sorcery.
Welcome to Low Town

Sounds great right?
I've been a life time reader and usually have a pretty good filter. I don't get taken in by hype. I don't get in too much of a hur
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Low Town is one part Abercrombie’s Last Argument of Kings, one part Block’s 8 Million Ways to Die (review), seasoned with enough drug use to power A Scanner Darkly. It was unexpectedly engaging.

The Warden runs the dreamsnake and pixie’s breath drug trade in Low Town, the ghetto area of Rigus.
Low Town was decimated by plague years ago; survivors have grown up, moved on, but still carry the horror of those days with them. The Warden is a street-smart survivor of those years. He went on to survive
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not bad for a first novel that has an ugly addict as the main protagonist ,,,
Apart from the warden the other characters are underdeveloped,,,
Although there is magic,it's unclear how it works "Sanderson"spoiled us with his cool magic systems,,,
I knew from the beginning who the culprits were but i was unclear on the motive...
Overall it was a nice read: direct and to the point , i hope the next one is better.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
· This One Sounds Deliciously Dark Buddy Read (TOSDDBR™) with Cathy and Robin ·

Actual rating: 2.5 stars.

I read this book because Daniel Polansky = The Builders, which was slightly awesome despite all its characters being silly animals. Hence the present disappointment and current dumbfoundation. The truth is, this little story here has me a teensy bit confused:

۰ I did not like this book.
۰ I did not not like this book.

۰ I may read the next one in the series.
۰ I may not read the next one in the se
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grimdark, library, fantasy
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

A noir crime story set in a fantasy setting Low Town is a dark tale of drug dealers, realistic politics, corrupt cops, and vile sorcery. And while this is Daniel Polansky’s debut novel, it does not read that way at all, but displays the deft touch of a master storyteller, which is why it is a must read for all fans of grimdark.

In the ugly, dirty, and crime infested section of the finest city in the Thirteen Lands lies Low Town: a place few willing call home. An
Robin (Bridge Four)
This is the hardest book that I’ve had to rate in a long time.

Actual Writing = 4.5 Stars
Story = sometimes 5 Stars, sometimes 1 Star
Characters = again sometimes 5 Stars, sometimes 1 Star
World = A solid 4 Stars
Pacing = 3 Stars
Me reading this = 2 Stars.

I have no idea what that adds up to really. So for now I’m going to go with 2 Stars since I couldn’t even remember the main characters name.


I honestly feel a little bad that I didn’t like this. I mean the writing is there. It is really the type of wr
Scott  Hitchcock

I'm not a big fan of Noir fiction. It has to be exceptional for me to embrace it. However I love GrimDark and the Low Town series is quite iconic within the genre. I was aware of this going in however I wasn't aware another buddy read I committed to Blackwing by Ed McDonald was also both Noir and Grimdark. The similarities between the two end there, however doing two books of this style at once when I might do one per year was a bit much.

Overall I like the world of this book. I like the
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dirty noir fantasy, featuring drugs, dead children, plague, and revenge, now featuring dirty cops and cocky evil nobles and a crowded world of blades, sorcery, and mystery.

The novel is very successful in its world-building. The place is even more interesting and claustrophobic than the characters, and this is pretty much a character-driven tale where no one is quite good enough. I mean, how heroic is it going to be when a main character is a drug pusher?

And yet, when push comes to shove, deeper
A lot of polarising reviews from friends on this one, so fingers crossed as we go in!

The story is told as a narrative from the perspective of the hero of the book, his daily life unfolding as we go, after his discovery of a body of a young girl in the opening chapter. We are introduced to the contributing players through contact with our MC, the world being built around us as we slowly picture it.... its enticing for sure. To fill in the missing gaps we have a series of small flashbacks to help
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review, 2011
Low Town is Daniel Polasnky's debut novel - a fantasy that's not completely a fantasy. Told in the first person, Low Town is, and I don't think I'm the first to report, a crime noir story in a fantastical setting. It literally is a crime thriller set in a medieval secondary world...and it's works really well.

Warden is your typical bad-A with a heart of gold. His hard exterior comes from the way the system's treated him, his participation not only in the military, but in the police force, neither
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
Easily a 5-star read for me.

I guess you could call this book urban fantasy or noir fantasy or mystery, but whatever genre it's in, it's just a great story.

I liked how the author sprinkled in his world building throughout. I never had to wade through pages of info dumps, boring me to tears. It was seamlessly placed throughout while we are being dragged through Low Town by the narrator. Who, by the way, is a bad-ass, smart mouthed, drug dealer with a heart of gold.

Can't wait to read the next an
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books, read-2011
5 Stars
This book has a great deal for noir and dark fantasy lovers to enjoy. It plays along some lines that we have seen done before, but does it in a way without ever selling out or coming up short. This is a fairly dark story and the Warden, our main protagonist is a street kid that has gone bad. Sure he did his stint in the military, and tried to work as a detective with the crown. But, in the end, shit happens, and he is what he is. He has no troubles accepting himself and his shortcomings.
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Well-written fantasy noir - dark as you'd expect, with an interesting blend of influences and big things at stake. I enjoyed the main character and am looking forward to the follow ups. ...more
Twerking To Beethoven
"Low Town" is all right-ish. I thought I would have loved this book. Loved it hard. I mean, "Low Town" is a noir story set in a fantasy world. How can you possibly go wrong? Right.

At the end of the day, i'm sort of... er... unimpressed. Underwhelmed. There are no particular issues, the writing's good and everything's well crafted, there's just something missing. I don't know if I should use this word to describe "Low Town" but I find this book to be "bland."

Sorry. I mean, I really am.
Myke Cole
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic voice. My favorite kind of characters: flawed, struggling, complicated. This is one up there with Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie.
Mike (the Paladin)
I am putting this on my Urban Fantasy shelf as well as my Fantasy shelf as I agree with a few others it belongs there. Some of you will I'm sure disagree as the story takes place in an alternate reality of swords, crossbows, and a city roughly like medieval Europe.

But it is placed in a city with the characters being "urban" people.

I picked this up on the strength of a statement by one of the reviewers here who said it was "like" Harry Dresden.

I must be honest. I don't see it....at all. I've not

From the beginning of the new millennium, many writers started slowly to turn towards a darker, more gritty and realistic direction, leaving behind the traditional tropes of fantasy that seemed to have worn-out too much, reaching to a point where something fresh and original was needed to revivify the genre - and many did indeed managed it.
In The Strait Razor Cure, the first book of the Low Town trilogy, Daniel Polansky makes his debut taking all these elements - motivated from what all the
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first stumbled upon Low Town whilst hunting through boxes of second hand books at a garage sale. The title caught my interest, so I looked at the blurb. Detective thriller set in a fantasy world... within seconds I was handing over my money and salivating at the prospect of reading it when I got home. Unfortunately life got in the way for a few weeks, with work and a sick child taking precednece. However when I finally did get around to reading it I was not disappointed!

Low Town is set in a f
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: september-list
Book Description
Rigus is the greatest city in the Thirteen Lands, a glittering metropolis of crystalline citadels and sumptuous manors, where the gentlewomen hide delicate smiles behind silken sleeves and bored nobles settle affairs of honour with cold steel. But light casts shadow, and in the darkness of the spires the baseborn struggle, eeking out an existence amidst the cast-offs of their betters. This is Low Town, a sprawling warren of side streets and back alleys, of boarded up windows and
GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott)
Mar 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I grew up in the country. Yup...a rural boy. I can't even count how many times I would be ripping down the gravel roads on my BMX and end up flipping over the handlebars, scraping my flesh across all the loose rock and stones. Those dirt rashes were always the worst.

So many times I would come rushing home a bloody mess, a big grin on my face, and hoping my mom wouldn't smack me upside the head for being an idiot while she tenderly dressed and cleaned my wounds.

No matter how much blood, no matter
Viv JM
I found this a thoroughly entertaining mystery/fantasy tale. The worldbuilding is excellent, but unobtrusive (no lengthy info dumps!) and Polansky has totally nailed the antihero thing - the protagonist is a drug dealer that you somehow trust to Do the Right Thing. It is certainly a fairly dark and sometimes violent tale but never gratuitously so. Yep, I enjoyed this!
Tracey the Lizard Queen
A short excerpt:

"The woman with the choker slid over, inspecting me with all the subtlety of a dog in heat - it seemed she had no better taste in men than jewelry. Up close she looked like someone better seen from further away. 'I don't believe I've had the pleasure,' she began.
'Are you mad? I had you last year at Lord Addington's spring formal! We went behind his pagoda and I took you from the rear. You said I was the best you ever had!'"

I loved the Warden, I loved the first-person PoV. I love
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars

I really enjoyed this dark and gritty fantasy with a highly flawed protagonist/narrator who managed to make me laugh out loud several times. The world building is on a slightly smaller scale, but is still fantastic and unique. The mysterious plot line kept me turning the pages and the twist at the end genuinely surprised me. I cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of the series!
Mitriel Faywood
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
There is something equally fascinating and disturbing about watching your favourite author becoming a fan of a book series and see him talking about someone else’s novel with as much, almost childish enthusiasm as you do about his. At any rate, it’s not something that could be ignored for long, hence I soon found myself face-to-face with the culprit himself and it’s only sufficient to say that in my eyes Daniel Polansky had a hell of an expectation to live up to.

I’d like to think that I started
Michael Sliter
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid 4/5.

Hard-drinking, hard-drugging nameless first person protagonist sells drugs and makes morally gray choices. At first, The Warden (as he is called) seems almost unbelievable in his moral grayness. But, over time, he becomes more fleshed out and you get a flavor for his backstory. His exhaustingly witty and cavalier dialogue can get a bit tiresome, but there are some interesting philosophies and thoughtful moments in the internal. I found myself liking the Warden for his insights and asid
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2011-reads
The Straight Razor Cure is a strong debut and a must read for everyone who is looking for a good blend of detective noir and fantasy where the detective noir elements outbalance the fantasy elements like the supernatural/magic.

For me it was a great read but not my novel of the year because my relationship to the Warden was mostly cold and distant.

Anyway I look forward to the next book by Daniel Polansky.

My full review is now available at Edi's Book Lighthouse

Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Lazy writing, plotting and characterization. Spotted the incredibly predictable (and in the end poorly done) "twist" very early on. Basically a mishmash of a lot of superficial concepts (pulp/noir/mystery/thriller/fantasy) and conventions/cliches (e.g. protagonist is former cop now addicted to drugs (Matt Scudder, anyone?)), but very poorly executed. Not at all worth my time. Only redeeming quality is that occasionally the writer does turn a nice phrase - but that isn't near enough to overcome t ...more
Oct 28, 2011 rated it really liked it

Tell me if you've heard this one before, ok?  Joe Abercrombie walks into a bar, sits down and orders a whiskey.  He takes a shot and looks down the bar where he sees fellow fantasy author Brandon Sanderson sitting at a table.  Sanderson is laying out a Magic: The Gathering deck and drinking a glass of milk.  Abercrombie, seeing his comrade in arms, stands up and walks over.  They get to talking about this and that, of course Abercrombie tries his best not
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
The sequel to this novel is coming out soon (in the UK at least) so to celebrate I decided to repost this review on my site, Far Beyond Reality...

In a grimy dump of a room above a bar lives the Warden, a man who has led many lives but now finds himself as low as ever. A former soldier and police officer, he is now addicted to the drugs he sells for a living in the territory he carved out for himself in Low Town, the seediest district in the city of Rigus. He’s become a cynical man, leading a da
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Low Town [Oct 2017] 86 59 Oct 30, 2017 12:36AM  
Grimdark Fantasy: (Low Town #1) Low Town [NO spoilers] 39 38 Jan 18, 2016 08:23PM  
Grimdark Fantasy: Low Town Trilogy [Spoilers] 18 15 Dec 19, 2015 06:35PM  
Grimdark Fantasy: (Low Town #1) Low Town [Spoilers] 50 32 Dec 08, 2015 12:14PM  

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Daniel Polansky is the author of the Low Town trilogy, Empty Throne duology, the Hugo-nominated novella The Builders, and A City Dreaming. He can be found in Los Angeles, mostly.

Other books in the series

Low Town (3 books)
  • Tomorrow, the Killing (Low Town, #2)
  • She Who Waits (Low Town, #3)

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