SEQUEL ALERT: This is the second of four books.
The book that you are about to read a review on, The City of Gold and Lead, is the sequel to The White Mountains by John Christopher (Samuel Youd). Technically, I could give you my advice (read this book, it’s awesome) and not write this review, but that isn’t just quite what the purpose of this blog is, so I’ll have to write this review (sheesh, it’s not that I don’t want to, but it’s a rule that I invented).
The City of Gold and Lead, by John Christopher (yes, yes, Samuel Youd), is the continuation to Will Parker’s adventures. Will has won the Games, along with his companion, Fritz Eger. They are brought to The City of Gold and Lead, where they become slaves to the Masters, the huge alien creatures who live there. Will and Fritz are on a mission to collect information about the Masters and the Tripods. But they have false Caps, and they can’t pretend to be loyal forever…
I have read many books that have sequels. Many times I am excited for the sequel, only to be utterly disappointed. In the series of Septimus Heap, by Angie Sage, I was enchanted by the first book. However, the sequels were tiring, because there was even more magic than in the first book, which had enormous amounts. Eventually, I sadly closed the cover, almost reduced to tears, and said nobly, in a voice full of melancholy, “Mommy, can you please find me another book?”
I was so full of immense Wisdom-joy when I realized that The City of Gold and Lead was not victim of the (sadly) common “sequel disaster”. The problem is that books victims of the “sequel disaster” often seem phony and unreal compared to the beautiful book(s) that came before them. In The City of Gold and Lead, The City of Gold and Lead is suited to alien creatures. Their planet is very different from ours, meaning that the air is different (it’s green, and that makes the city take on a green sheen), the temperature is higher, and by the way, the amount of gravity on their planet is higher than ours. This means that the human slaves that live there need to wear special masks; eat salt sticks because of the amount of salt they’re losing from their sweat; and they die faster because of the high amounts of gravity pulling them, wearing down their bones at a much faster rate. I don’t know what this book would have felt like had The City of Gold and Lead not had these alien-planet factors.
There was adventure in this book too, so naturally, some tension. (What is adventure without tension?). The original mission of Will and Fritz was to collect information about the Masters and the Tripods. When Will looks at all the information Fritz has, he puts an extra effort in collecting information. He has trouble finding it without giving away his disguise, though. His information collecting ends when he makes a mistake that forces him to leave the city through the river. As he gasps for breath, you gasp for breath with him. You see the blackness when he does, though hopefully you don’t faint when he does!
I hope that when you finish The City of Gold and Lead (it is obligatory, Wisdom-rules say that you must read it), you will agree with me that it is not victim to the “sequel disaster”. Like The White Mountains, The City of Gold And Lead is medium on the “level-of-reading” scale. If you would like to know, the two sequels to The City of Gold and Lead are The Pool of Fire and When the Tripods Came. If you have read The White Mountains, please take heed to what I say! Do not delay the small action of reading this book, one of the books that defies the “sequel disaster.” Because this book was a lot better than I had expected, where as “sequel disasters” are a lot worse than you expect. In fact, this book could be compared to Will Parker (the main character). The Will Parker Book.
You can buy the book here.