City Trilogy (3) - City Of The Snakes Paperback – Mar 29 2010
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Praise for Hell's Horizon: 'Thrilling, chilling and a great read.' Sun 'Plenty of twists and thrills ! Shan is adept at grabbing the attention with bursts of shocking violence' SFX Praise for Procession of the Dead: 'A beguiling read ! a fantastic revelation at the end' SFX 'Explicit, brutal fantasy ! the narrative voice is engagingly cocky and the action races along' The Times
About the Author
Darren Shan is the author of two hugely popular series for Children: 'The Saga of Darren Shan', and 'The Demonata' which have been read by millions of people around the world in over twenty different languages. The City Trilogy is his first work for adults. Darren Shan lives in Ireland.
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Top Customer Reviews
Starting ten years after the events of the first two books we meet up with Capac Raimi again whom we last really saw in Book One, though he was referred to in Book Two. We see that his rule as Cardinal has not gone as smoothly as he had hoped but this is in fact his own doing as he wants to put his plans into action and slowly watch them unfold since he has eternity to fill. But what he hadn't counted on was the power the rival gangs were gaining and that has him worried. Also though he has started to see and have encounters with people from his past who are dead and that can only mean the mysterious blind Incan priests are up to something. When Capac disappears, his second in charge hires professional killer Al Jeery to find him and this leads to the realization that the Ancient priests have been secretly plotting to take back the City for themselves for years.
Darren Shan has brought all the aspects from books 1 & 2 together in this conclusion to the series in an explosive showdown between the gangs, the Cardinal's mafioso and the powerful Incan priests. The plot is fast-paced and keeps its energy throughout. Just as expected from the previous books this is a dark, gritty, violent urban fantasy. All threads are pulled together and story arcs run to conclusion many in unexpected endings. I was a bit disappointed that Capac's part was limited to the opening and closing sections, with Al Jeery being the protagonist throughout the main portion of the novel. But that's just because I was fascinated with his character in book one; this story needed to be told the way it was.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Building on the story Shan has already meticulously laid out, CITY OF THE SNAKES jumps forward a few years, after the Cardinal Capac Raimi has become comfortable on his throne but is finding that power lacks some of its previous luster. To be clear, this isn't because Raimi has not yet discovered that happiness lies in cultivating his conscience; he doesn't have any human qualities. Beyond being a creature who isn't strictly human, he's an evil dictator who knows no other way to be. Raimi is simply disturbed because things aren't going quite as planned. New factions are arising that question his leadership. His own men have been attempting to assassinate him recently, hinting at a loss of control. He's been reincarnated so many times that he cannot count how many, and once he realizes something is quite wrong and begins seeing ghosts of long-dead people, he arranges for a temporary replacement while he uncovers the source of the problem.
Tasso Ford, an important character in previous volumes, is the one chosen to sit in as his replacement. Once Raimi disappears, Ford becomes the indefinite leader of The City. This is a job he doesn't want, but as Raimi has vanished, he's stuck. He seeks the help of an old ally, Al Jeery, the sharp-witted detective in Book Two. But the new Al is not the same person we all got to know in the last volume. It seems the City and its men have corrupted him, just as they have everyone else.
Al has become a ruined killer, taking on the likeness of his evil, ruthless father in a feeble attempt to obtain some twisted form of justice. Though the serial killer, Paucar Wami, was wiped out with the first Cardinal, Jeery has now taken his place --- truly --- wearing not only the mask of the serial killer but assuming the personality of a heartless man, killing over and over, for no other reason than his obsession with luring out a prized victim. He has sunk beneath where he thought he could, and his only care now is to kill the man who destroyed his life: Bill Casey, the father figure who is now assumed dead by all but Al.
Hiding behind makeup to disguise his new face, Al retreats into his previous persona and begins the investigation alone, alternating dual personalities of a killer and vaguely good man. While he searches for trails of Raimi, his only care remains in fulfilling the promise of receiving the hiding place of Bill Casey. But all trails have run cold, at least for a time, until the evil of The City breaks wide open into violence and outright guerilla warfare. Amid rival gang wars, the villacs make their appearance, making it clear they're back and never had lost power, having returned to reclaim their city and all the Ayuamarcans, past and present.
CITY OF THE SNAKES resolves the mysteries left unsolved in previous volumes while revealing a good deal about the psychology of the killer --- or the psychologies of multiple killers. One of the main themes here is that, even in this hellish place, there are always varying shades of good and evil. The Ayuamarcans are not human and so make particularly notorious criminals. Guerilla warfare takes up a good portion of this final installment and should captivate readers. And there will be many more who will be pleased to discover that not all scoundrels are past all hope of redemption.
--- Reviewed by Melanie Smith
This series isn't for all Darren Shan fans. It certainly isn't a Young Adult series. It's very very adult. The other thing to know about this series is that he wrote these books very early in his career and only recently polished and published them. So if the writing seems "different" to you, you're probably right. These are paradoxically from a much younger Shan: Young Shan writes adult stories and older Shan writes YA fiction, go figure.
Very very good stuff though. But this comes from a guy who enjoys stinky cheeses and stout beers. As the reviews of Procession of the Dead show, many readers dislike this series. That's their loss though.
Compared to the first two installments ("Procession of the Dead" and "Hell's Horizon"), "City of the Snakes" is a bit of a let down. The emphasis is just a wee bit overdone on "Algiers" Jerry and his conflicting values. At times the narrative becomes bogged down with moralizing, and even misplaced sentiment. The ultimate resolution was also, so far as I am concerned, disappointing.
Still, "City of the Snakes" does wrap up "The City" series, and it was good enough that I finished it. But, as I have noted in other reviews, serial fiction rarely improves with succeeding installments.
Start with "Procession of the Dead," and read on. Although I've down-rated "City of the Snakes," "The City" trilogy is still, collectively, a very different approach to mystery,suspense, and the occult.