Liviu's Reviews > Gears of the City

Gears of the City by Felix Gilman
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's review
Dec 01, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: genre-fantasy, 2009_release_read, top_25_2009_novels

Gears of City was a novel I had very high expectations about and not only delivered but surpassed them.

Without too many spoilers, the book moves into clear New Weird territory as well as reminding me a bit of Gene Wolfe's Long Sun setting, with a decaying and alternating between bleak and wondrous landscape.

Arjun is still looking for his music God, but now he is unstuck from normal time in Ararat, being able to navigate the Metacontext that threads the history of Ararat at least of some places and times within the City, while he takes breaks in a "Hotel" that is a favorite place of other people that "broke through".

The ultimate goal of these people that are unstuck from time is the conquest of the Mountain, but unprepared attempts are not advisable since you can find yourself a "ghost", a memoryless person in a decaying part/time of the City and this is exactly how Gears of the City starts.

Arjun is lucky though and he is taken in by the Low sisters, Ruth the dreamer and Martha the practical, and narrowly avoiding the "Know-Nothings" that summarily execute such ghosts since most come with tales of war and destruction. Then he agrees to try and find the third sister, Ivy the smart and brilliant with machines like their disappeared and presumed dead father. Ivy was kidnapped/went willingly with the one powerful "ghost" washed up in that decaying time/place, that even the Know-Nothings and Power to Be grudgingly avoid, known as Brace-Bel and being a sort of "mellower" Sade like man looking for transcendence in pleasure and pain.

There is a lot of sense of wonder in this novel and the pages turned on by themselves. I need to reread it at least once to fully savor it and it definitely stakes a claim at a top 09 novel for me.

Thunderer somehow staked a claim on the boundary of the New Weird and traditional epic, but this one goes in deep New Weird territory. Excellent novel.
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