London Eye (Toxic City Series #1)

London Eye (Toxic City Series #1)

4.2 5
by TIm Lebbon
     
 

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The Hunger Games meets the X-Men in an exciting postapocalyptic debut.
Two years after London is struck by a devastating terrorist attack, it is cut off from the world, protected by a military force known as Choppers. The rest of Britain believes that the city is now a toxic, uninhabited wasteland.

But Jack and his friends—some of whom lost family

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Overview

The Hunger Games meets the X-Men in an exciting postapocalyptic debut.
Two years after London is struck by a devastating terrorist attack, it is cut off from the world, protected by a military force known as Choppers. The rest of Britain believes that the city is now a toxic, uninhabited wasteland.

But Jack and his friends—some of whom lost family on what has become known as Doomsday—know that the reality is very different. At great risk, they have been gathering evidence about what is really happening in London-and it is incredible. Because the handful of London's survivors are changing. Developing strange, fantastic powers. Evolving.

Upon discovering that his mother is still alive inside London, Jack, his sister, and their three friends sneak into a city in ruins. Vast swathes have been bombed flat. Choppers cruise the streets looking for survivors to experiment upon. The toxic city is filled with wonders and dangers that will challenge Jack and his friends ... and perhaps kill them. But Jack knows that the truth must be revealed to the outside world or every survivor will die.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is the first title in what promises to be a gripping series depicting a near-future England in the throes of a postapocalyptic disaster. Lebbon tells a grim tale, made a bit lighter by the well-developed friendship among the teens and the devoted relationship between Jack and his sister."
-School Library Journal

"An inventive read that will entice readers of all ages."
-Monsters and Critics

"Fans of The Hunger Games should enjoy this book as well…"
-Blogcritics

"Readers really come to inhabit Lebbon's destroyed, scary world. A great read."
-RT Book Reviews, Four stars (Compelling - Page-turner)

"A straightforward adventure narrative, moving from the relative safety of suburban life to the dangerous streets of London, with plenty of gunfights, showdowns, and daring escapes to keep readers turning the pages."
-VOYA

"If you've got a YA reader who is looking for a good action adventure with a solid dose of mystery and mutations, they're sure to enjoy London Eye."
-Wired.com "Geek Dad"

"A fascinating story....[Lebbon] creates a stellar cast of characters…complex and relatable throughout the book. The plot unfolds at a nice pace and keeps the reader engaged throughout the whole story. This is a great new series for fans of fantasy."
-Portland Book Review

VOYA - Mark Flowers
After a mysterious terrorist attack at the London Eye, the British government shuts off all forms of communication with London, and a small band of teenagers sets out to find the truth about what has happened. Soon, they meet an escapee from London who convinces them to come back with her to what has become known as the Toxic City, and who shows them the real reason for the government’s actions: everyone who survived the initial attack has been imbued with superhero-like powers. The British government wants to run experiments on all these survivors. The plot is a straightforward adventure narrative, moving from the relative safety of suburban life to the dangerous streets of London, with plenty of gunfights, showdowns, and daring escapes to keep readers turning the pages. Unfortunately, the prose, in particular the dialogue, is wooden at best, constantly threatening to drag the reader out of the story. The superpowers which have been bestowed by the attack seem poorly thought-through, with practically everyone in the city having gained a different, unrelated power. Adventure readers and some fans of superheroes will find something to like here, but anyone interested in a more thoroughly thought-through take on the basic set-up--government crackdown on newly discovered superpowers--should read Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds (Hyperion, 2012). Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Ever since the terrorist attack on London two years earlier, life has been anything but normal for 17-year-old Jack and his younger sister, who live on the outskirts of the city. With their parents presumed dead, Jack has had to grow up fast and learn how to care for Emily. His friends, Lucy-Anne, Sparky, and Jenna, also experienced loss in some form. The government insists that the city is a wasteland, full of mutant monsters, and that access in and out is strictly denied. The friends don't believe the government's lies, so when an older woman, Rosemary, comes looking for them, claiming to be from inside London, they feel compelled to follow her back in to see for themselves the reality of the situation. What they experience is far more terrifying and bizarre than they had imagined. Some inhabitants did survive and they developed special powers and skills. Always on the run, the survivors are hunted by the vicious Choppers, who conduct brutal experiments on them when captured. Jack and his friends must first stay alive and then figure out how to tell the truth to the rest of the world. This is the first title in what promises to be a gripping series depicting a near-future England in the throes of a postapocalyptic disaster. Lebbon tells a grim tale, made a bit lighter by the well-developed friendship among the teens and the devoted relationship between Jack and his sister.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A band of orphans travels into a post-apocalyptic London and finds horror. Lucy-Anne, Jenna, Emily, Sparky and Jack have all grown up in the shadow of Doomsday, when London was transformed into a toxic wasteland. After an encounter with Rosemary, a Londoner with mysterious powers, the intrigued teens embark to the ruined city in an attempt to find their missing parents. As Jack and his crew explore the ruins, they encounter the denizens of the Toxic City: the Irregulars, who attempt to blend their new powers with their humanity; the Superiors, who cast aside who they used to be; and the feared Choppers, the patrol force that watches over them all. Lebbon, an award-winning author for adults, never finds his footing with this clichéd mess of a teen novel. There's no character development beyond the missing-parent trope, and Jack's leadership is as inspiring as bland oatmeal. Lucy-Anne's obviously established mental instability holds no suspense and is poorly executed to boot. The mutant hook doesn't come together, drawing unfavorable comparisons to Michael Grant's Gone series and Marvel's X-Men franchise. A potentially interesting setting is wasted with shoddy characters, derivative content and dull action. (Science fiction. 12-16)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616146801
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Series:
Toxic City Series, #1
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
1,435,565
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

LONDON EYE

TOXIC CITY BOOK ONE


By TIM LEBBON

Prometheus Books

Copyright © 2012Tim Lebbon
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61614-680-1


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

CAMP TRUTH


There has been an explosion at the London Eye. Two fatalities are reported, though details are still sketchy. Scotland Yard has issued a brief statement: "There is no indication that this was a terrorist attack." More soon.

—BBC News Website, 4:34 p.m. GMT, July 28, 2019


Even though their movements describe a strange, hypnotic beauty, she is certain that the rooks are going to kill her.

She is in the middle of a deserted street. It was silent before, empty, a place she had to herself, though she had been terrified of the silence. Then the peace was broken by the descent of the rooks, and now she is terrified still. She runs for the houses to her right, but though their gates stand open and the front gardens are overgrown and untended, the front doors are all locked tight.

She looks back and up, and the rooks are falling closer. Are they toying with her? Teasing? She cannot say. They circle her in a fast, tight spiral, and she feels as though she is looking into the heart of a black tornado.

Screaming, her voice is lost to the birds, so she decides to run again. Across the street, hands over her ears to block out the rookish cacophony, she stumbles into a burnt-out car, scratching her leg through her jeans. She staggers and falls, feeling tears run from her eyes ... but she will not show her weakness.

The first of the birds touches her, a gentle stroke of soft feathers across her cheek. She waves her arms but feels nothing. More come down, crowding around her now, claws snagging in her hair, wings beating against her face.

She stands, and this time her scream of rage is heard. This is not the way for me to go! She snatches a bird from the air and throws, causing a ripple in the wall of black around her.

Through that ripple, a shadow appears. Its movement is nothing like that of a bird. And then she sees it smile.


Lucy-Anne started awake, scanning her surroundings for birds that were not there, and realised she was in Camp Truth. That afternoon when everything was about to change, Jack was there with her.

She sighed and leaned against Jack. He was seventeen but looked three years older. The loss of his parents in London two years before had aged him, and though he wasn't the sort she usually fell for, their grief had brought them close. He had his eyes closed now, but she could see that he was not asleep. When he slept, his worry lines almost vanished.

Camp Truth always comforted her. It was home to photographs, reports, press clippings, testimonies, and artefacts that revealed a thousand lies about the dreadful fate that had befallen London and which could, if successfully exposed, make so many things right. That was why this was the most important place in Lucy-Anne's world. And she never failed to see the painful irony in Camp Truth existing underground.

When they'd been setting it up, the four of them—her, Jack, Sparky and Jenna—had debated whether to try and keep things hidden away, even down here. The decision had been unanimous: if Camp Truth were found, they were all finished, so why not revel in what they were doing? And so there hung a huge mosaic map of London as it once was across one wall, and stuck all over it were dozens of small clear envelopes. Sparky had made a pinboard for the second wall, and here they had pinned random photographs, cuttings and other ephemera they had gathered over the past couple of years, but which they could not place accurately. Most images were blurred, some damaged by the fires intended to destroy them. A few had been hacked from weapon-cameras just before the people in them were blasted to smithereens.

Lucy-Anne yawned, scratching at her scalp. "Sparky and Jenna coming later?" she asked.

"Don't think so," Jack replied, opening his eyes. "Jenna's out with her parents, and Sparky's still working on the car."

Lucy-Anne laughed without humour. "It's almost forty years old, rusting and dead. Why bother?"

"You know why," Jack said softly.

Lucy-Anne laughed again but said no more, and that was her way of admitting that, yes, she did know why. Sparky liked working with the impossible in the hope that it could change things. If that old Ford Capri ever started again and took to the road, perhaps it would mean that, against all odds, his brother was still alive somewhere in London's sad ruin.

Jack sighed.

"What is it?" Lucy-Anne asked.

"Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary tomorrow."

"Oh, hell, I should have remembered." She sat up straight, flushing with dismay at her bad memory, and Jack smiled and shook his head. But his smile turned sad.

"They'd always wanted a weekend in London on their own," he said, and even though Lucy-Anne had heard this a dozen times, she would always listen again. "They were just ..." He trailed off, and she pulled him into her embrace and hugged him tight.

They'd been together for almost two years. She would always remember the first time they met; she'd been a fifteen-year-old standing on a chair and offering the world out for a fight. They'd gone to the same counselling sessions for orphans of Doomsday—as the destruction of London had become known—and Lucy-Anne had taken it as a chance to rage against the authorities that put them there. Bloody lying bastards! were the first words Jack had heard from her mouth. Her hair had been green then, shaved to a half-inch buzz, and the leathers she wore that day were new, creaking, and obviously stolen.

The others in the group had retreated in fear, cried, or simply turned away, and it had taken the three counsellors half an hour to talk her down. She had sat there for the rest of that session, simmering, and swapping cautious glances with this new orphan.

"We should go," Jack said. "Be dark soon."

"It's always dark," Lucy-Anne said, shivering. And in Camp Truth that was true.


Jack led the way up out of the basement. Lucy-Anne followed, and he wondered once again what had become of them. They'd been down in the basement for almost three hours, and there'd been little more than a quick kiss, and then her haunted sleep. A year ago they'd have spent their time doing a lot more. But things had changed between them, and he still tried to persuade himself that it was because they'd moved on from being teenaged lovers to the best of friends.

She was almost seventeen, but sometimes her grief made her look ageless: she'd lost her parents and brother in London. Her current hairstyle was purple spiked, formed into a carefully sculptured I-don't-give-a-damn mess, and her dark jeans and white tee shirt were tattered and ripped. Those rips weren't designer, Jack knew. Lucy-Anne had been left with her family's house, but very little else.

"Sun's going down," he said. He stepped through the curtain of clematis they'd trained across the staircase entrance, and the red splash of dusk exploded across his skin.

Lucy-Anne looked cautiously up into the trees, as if expecting to see a cloud of birds descending towards them from any direction. But the trees were silent, and they were alone. "Red sky at night ..." she began, and Jack went to her side and put his arm around her waist.

"Shall we check the drops on the way back?"

"Yeah!" She perked up, hugging him with both arms and giving him a kiss. He pinched her bum, she gave him a playful slap, and he welcomed the familiar relief at leaving their secret place.

They walked back through the forest towards their village of Tall Stennington, and on the way they checked the places where truth came to find them.

There we
(Continues...)


Excerpted from LONDON EYE by TIM LEBBON. Copyright © 2012 by Tim Lebbon. Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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