City of Lies by Lian Tanner
Life is very different in Jewel after the end of Museum of Thieves. Goldie struggles with her new life and with the pain she has so obviously caused her parents. Determined to keep the past behind her, she sets out to end her association with the museum. But nighttime in Jewel is not so safe as it used to be and before she knows it, Goldie is caught up in a kidnapping. She ends up in the neighboring city of Spoke, the only hope for her captured friends. But Spoke is a city of lies and Goldie will need all her wits about her to bring her friends home safely.
If anything, this series is getting better. By keeping the focus on Toadspit and Goldie while introducing new characters Lian Tanner builds familiarity for her readers. By switching out much of the supporting cast, she keeps the writing fresh and engaging. I tore through this in only a day.
Again, this will be best enjoyed by strong fourth grade readers and up. There’s a good deal of dialect that requires some concentration to follow. There’s also the matter of deciphering the lies (at certain points characters must speak only lies) which will prove too complicated for some readers and therefore diminish their understanding and enjoyment.
Sex, Nudity, Dating – An illustration shows a shirtless man. A man jokes that he has three wives, all as fat as pumpkins.
Profanity – “stupid,” “moron,” “idiots,” “cretins,”
Death, Violence and Gore – There are assassination attempts. There are stories that a princess was killed or that the man who opposed her died with a sword in his heart. A girl is depicted aiming a bow and arrow. Someone tries to kill a king with poisoned air. An arrow is stained with blood. A girl is tied up and her forehead is bruised. A man is stabbed with an arrow. A cat killed a dog. It scratches a man. A man threatens a child with an iron bar. A girl says her brother kills people. A boy carries a knife. A boy wagers no one would notice him until he died and his corpse began to smell except the mice who might eat his fingers. There’s a chance someone will have his throat slit. There’s talk of roasting a pigeon corpse. A girl dreams that someone is weeping blood. There’s mention of poisoning a husband. A cat kills a mouse. A woman threatens to hang a man. There is a worry that children will be killed. An army is called up. A man is supposedly responsible for dozens of murders. Men brawl. Someone jokes that mice ate a woman and left nothing but her false teeth and undies. A man sends orders for children to be killed. A boy broke his leg. Someone is nearly drowned. Children are to be shot or drowned. Two animals engage in a vicious fight, biting each other’s necks and drawing blood. A child is shot in the head. A girl carries a sword. A princess says that when a man is killed and the flesh is stripped from his carcass she will give her father the man’s head to use as a spittoon. A man charges someone with returning with an enemy’s head in a sack. The person offers to bring the ears of his lords as well. A person wielding a sword nearly kills a friend. People believe a child has been shot and drowned and eaten by sharks. A woman threatens to whip people. A man is nearly killed with poisonous air. An arrow is shot at a gun. A child is held over shark infested waters. A boy is nearly strangled. A man slit another man’s throat. A man jumps into shark infested waters.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – A beerhouse is mentioned. A boy is drugged against his will. Sailors pass wine around. A man calls a group “drunken idiots.”
Frightening or Intense Things – A man has nightmares after spending time in the House of Repentance. A woman has a bad cough after spending time there. A child is kidnapped. A woman tried to sell a child into slavery. Children imitate ghosts.