Some more thoughts on City of Ruin have started to emerge across the blogoshpere, so I thought I’d share them, because you know what I’m like by now. First up, the mighty Speculative Horizons:
Verdict: City of Ruin is the kind of book you’d expect an established author to turn out whilst writing at the top of their game, perhaps as their career-defining moment. You wouldn’t expect a twenty-something, fledgling novelist to deliver a novel of such quality – and for that Newton deserves special credit. This is an enthralling tale of bizarre technology, lost civilisations and the various facets of human nature. Masterfully constructed, potent with meaning and wrapped up in wonderfully evocative prose, City of Ruin has propelled Newton into the ranks of epic fantasy’s finest writers.
Then with another major reviewer, Fantasy Book Critic:
At the boundary between epic and new weird fantasy, “City of Ruin” (A++) is stranger and with more surprises and twists than “Nights of Villjamur” making me quite eager to see where the author will go next… City of Ruin also has a rich and diverse content, from romance, including as befits the new weird sub-genre, one of the strangest such, to intrigue, mysteries and of course brutal battles since the title is apt for sure. The novel builds up relentlessly and then in the last hundred pages or so it becomes all “heart-stopping” action, so much so that even after knowing how it ends and I was still enthralled by that sequence. The last chapter has one of the most poignant endings I’ve read recently while the previous two chapters set up the next installment in the series. With this novel Mr. Newton shows that Nights of Villjamur was no fluke and he is entering the rank of premier fantasists working today.
More goodness at Edi’s Book Lighthouse:
City of Ruin is far more than a fantasy story. It contains obvious traces of crime, mystery, horror and even a whiff of urban fantasy. You get a lot of action, fair amount of military action, crossing plot lines, intrigues, superstition, betrayal, secrets and surprises. At the end of a review I try to summarize my impressions in a few words. You know things like stunning, awesome, gripping, intriguing, amazing, gorgeous and so on. To be honest the all apply in this case. But this time I want to be simple and unpretentious. City of Ruin is definitely one of the fantasy highlights in 2010
And a particularly interesting one at Cold Iron & Rowan Wood:
He doesn’t hesitate to kill characters off, in grotesque and meaningless ways, and generally at a viewpoint distance. On the other hand, he also doesn’t hesitate to show complex, interesting plans (for, eg., killing characters off) crashing and burning abruptly. There’s a very strong arbitrary-and-meaningless vibe going on throughout, which might make this sound somewhat Moorcockian (and the sheer prevalence of fantastic and in fact downright bloody weird imagery—I particularly liked the flying monkeys—could reinforce this impression) but he does manage to pull off the feat of having an albino protagonist who is nothing whatsoever like Elric. One very good thing this book features is a competent, sensible, interesting older woman. You’d think there was some Fantasy Bylaw against those, most of the time…
I’m glad that the part of the older woman was noticed. She’s not a major character by any means, but I really have tried to improve my female characters in this novel – without going over the top and making them a ZOMG super “kick-ass” male fetish.
It’s always a nervous moment awaiting responses from reviewers and readers across the interwebs, but I’m kind of blown-away by what everyone has been saying so far.