City of Night (House War Series #2)

City of Night (House War Series #2)

4.6 27
by Michelle West

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City of Night is the second novel in The House War, the story Michelle West's avid fans have been waiting to read for over a decade. In 1995, Michelle opened the way to a rich new fantasy universe with her Sacred Hunt duology, which brought readers from the insular kingdom of the Hunter Lords and their Hunt Brothers to the much broader

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City of Night is the second novel in The House War, the story Michelle West's avid fans have been waiting to read for over a decade. In 1995, Michelle opened the way to a rich new fantasy universe with her Sacred Hunt duology, which brought readers from the insular kingdom of the Hunter Lords and their Hunt Brothers to the much broader landscape of the Essalieyan Empire, a realm with a long and bloody history, a kingdom ruled by the Twin Kings, themselves the sons of gods. It is also controlled by The Ten, the heads of the most influential Houses in Averalaan, the capital of the Empire.

The House War is the tale of the battle to control the most powerful of the ruling Houses in the Essalieyan Empire—House Terafin. But it is also the story of Jewel Markess (Jay to her friends). The Hidden City, the first volume of The House War, introduced us to the orphaned Jewel, rescued from a precarious existence in the slums of Averalaan by Rath, a man who turned away from his own family long years ago when his sister left home to join House Terafin. Now Rath's sister is The Terafin, head of House Terafin, while Rath has become a recluse, seeking and selling the valuable relics he finds amid the ruins of the ancient and deserted undercity that lies below the populous streets of the Averalaan holdings.

When Rath takes the orphaned Jay into his home, he reveals to her the mysterious undercity and its treasures. And then Jay begins to rescure other children—creating a den of her own—and they too begin to mine the undercity for items that can be converted to coin.

As City of Night opens, times have become even more desperate within Averalaan's hundred holdings. Street children have been disappearing, theft and violence have increased, and even Jewel and her den are finding it hard to make ends meet.

Though they have been living on their own for some time, Rath has remained their mentor and has continued to sell the items of value they find in the undercity. Then suddenly Rath orders them to avoid the undercity as much as possible. He himself has obviously become involved in something extremely dangerous. Yet Rath refuses to heed the warnings that Jewel's seer dreams have given her. For he has learned a bitter truth about Averalaan's undercity and the demonic activity that is escalating both there and in the mortal, surface level city as the worshipers and demonic servants of the Lord of the Hells strive to complete a ritual that will return their god to the mortal realm.

Rath now joins with the mages of the Order of Knowledge to wage a secret battle against this nearly unstoppable foe. He knows that his choice will see him targeted for death—or a far worse fate. In a last-ditch attempt to protect Jewel and her den-kin from what lies ahead, he provides them with a note of introduction to the head of House Terafin—the sister he'd sworn never to contact.

For only within the well-guarded walls of the Terafin manse will Jewel and her comrades stand any chance of escaping the unnatural forces reaching out to claim them...

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Julie Watkins
This second installment of The House Wars series opens with Angel, an orphaned youngster on a mission and a quest to find answers about his father. Then the narrative's focus abruptly changes, and the reader finds Angel to be part of a group of youngsters under the leadership of Jewel Markess, whose story essentially dominates the remainder of the book. Once herself an orphaned child banished to the streets of Averalaan, Jewel is determined to help other ill-fated youngsters in the capital city. In doing so she has formed her own unusual family. With help from Rath, the man that saved her, Jewel has taught her "den" to survive while eking out a meager living from selling items they find in the underground hidden city. Now her dreams are foretelling of supernatural evil occurrences. Around her, violence is increasing and street children are mysteriously disappearing. For Jewel and her motley kin to have any chance of survival, Rath must be willing to sacrifice not only his personal pride regarding his estranged sister but also his life in an explosive demonic confrontation. The story is compelling and certainly spares no descriptive details. The unexpected and complete about-face concerning Angel, however, remains unexplained, and at times the extensive descriptions distract rather than enrich. It is overall an interesting but slightly unsatisfying read. For background knowledge of the characters and saga, this reviewer recommends first reading the initial book in this series, The Hidden City (DAW, 2009). Reviewer: Julie Watkins
Library Journal
Self-exiled from the powerful House Terafin, the man called Rath rescues Jewel, an orphan girl who, in turn, rescues other children and brings them to Rath and safety. When the disappearances of children in the city of Averalaan hit close to home, Rath sends Jewel to his sister, head of House Terafin, while he joins with mages from the Order of Knowledge to combat a demonic threat to the Essalieyan Empire. The sequel to The Hidden City weaves together many plot threads and expands the cast of characters to include a young man bent on completing his dead father's quest. VERDICT Well written with strong young people taking center stage, this is a good fantasy series for young adults as well as adult readers.
Publishers Weekly - Library Journal
Book two in Michelle West's House War series starts with Angel's quest to complete the mission of his exiled father, and then takes a sharp turn when he meets up with Jewel and her "den"-a self-chosen tribe of street urchins, precocious by necessity. Angel all but fades into the background for the rest of the book while we follow Jewel's efforts to feed her adopted charges and keep them safe even as the undercity where they scavenge for saleable goods becomes a source of supernatural danger. Then Old Rath, Jewel's sometime-mentor, takes center stage with his mission to kill demons and to expose their infiltration of the ranks of the powerful-something he can do only by dying and allowing an impersonator to try to fool his estranged sister, now the head of a powerful clan. He pulls off a posthumous coup to protect Jewel and her visions. West's point-of-view shifts are vertiginous. No doubt over the course of the series all these threads will intertwine, but new readers are likely to be feel frustrated by all the loose ends left hanging in the meantime.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

Publication date:
House War Series, #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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