Christa C's Reviews > The Gods of Gotham

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
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's review
Apr 06, 2012

it was amazing
Read from April 06 to 12, 2012

Gods of Gotham is the story of Timothy Wilde. A man in his twenties who tends bar at an oyster cellar in New York City in 1845. He’s been saving money for ten years and has saved up $400 that he keeps in his straw mattress, and has his eye on a certain girl, one Mercy Underhill. Then tragedy strikes. When leaving work at 4AM Tim spots a fire in the building opposite and the fire quickly spreads throughout the city. He runs toward his apartment, hoping to save the $400 in hard coin he’s saved before the fire reaches it. On his way he’s caught in the explosion from a gunpowder store, and is buried in rubble. At this point we are introduced to Tim’s older brother Valentine. Val is a volunteer firefighter and politician. He pulls Tim from the rubble and tells him to get along to a doctor, because he’s in terrible shape. Tim has been at odds with Valentine all of their lives, since their parents were killed in a house fire when they were children, and ignores Val’s advice. He gets to his apartment building just in time to see it burning to the ground, his money slowly melting into the burning building. He wanders aimlessly until he’s away from the fire and then passes out.

When he awakens Tim finds himself in Val’s apartment. Val informs him that he’s been badly burned and scolds his younger brother for not listening to him and finding a doctor. Tim realizes that he’s lost his entire life. His home, his work, his savings, are all burned to cinders, and Val implies that his face is not in much better shape. With nothing to offer Mercy, and his entire life in shambles Tim has no idea what the future holds. And then Val informs Tim that a New York police force is being set up as of August 1st, and that Tim will report as a police officer. Tim refuses several times, but on August 1st he shows up to his posting in Ward 6, the worst Ward in the city.

Only a few weeks after he’s started work as a policeman Tim is walking home and bumps into a young girl ten years of age. He looks down and finds that she’s completely covered in blood.

What follows is a story that is at times very character driven and emotional and at other times thrilling and grotesque. A Jack the Ripper type story that meets characterization reminiscent of Ken Follett this book takes you from one end to the other of Manhattan and weaves historical figures into the book so deftly that you don’t know where history ends and fiction begins.

Bill Poole AKA Bill the Butcher, leader of the Bowery boys even makes a few appearances sparking the Natives in Five Points to action against the Irish immigrants that are pouring into the city.

This story made me ache, and cry, and cringe, and I loved every moment of it. If you like history, mystery, well developed characters you can love, you will not be able to put this book down.

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Reading Progress

04/07/2012 page 68
16.0% "This book is awesome so far! Cannot put it down!!!!"
04/08/2012 page 168
39.0% "Getting dark... Not bad... Just dark..."
04/10/2012 page 206
48.0% "Slowing down a little... not due to lack of interest... cleaning comes first... unfortunately."
04/11/2012 page 364
84.0% "The pieces are all falling into place! This book is SO good! Gonna try and finish tonight... And then I'll write a review..."
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