book recommendations · book review · books · fiction · literacy · ya · young adult

The City Bleeds Gold

Author: Lucy Saxon
Warnings: some violence.

‘Noah Hansen is trapped behind two masks of his own making. He is the dependable commoner who has won the heart of Erova’s future queen, and he is the daring vigilante Daniel Novak, scourge of the city’s criminal underworld.

People whisper that Noah’s courtship of the princess is angering the Goddess and starving the land. But how can he prove himself worthy when Daniel’s missions put everything at risk?

As the Festival of the Goddess approaches and his two lives start to collide, Noah must decide who he wants to be – or watch the kingdom fall.’

This book is part of the Tellus series by Lucy Saxon, but each book is independent with few references to the other books. The first book in the series, Take Back the Skies, is one of my favourite books – I even made storyboards for it for my GCSE Graphics course. Because I love Take Back the Skies so much, it makes it hard for any other books in the series to live up to it.

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I loved the characters in this book – there were quite a few ‘major characters that you get to know, but the main characters – Noah and Crysta – are the ones you get to know the best. Honestly, if the book was just about Crysta going around and looking beautiful, I’d probably enjoy it just as much. I adored Crysta’s character and the dimensions put into her. I really wanted to like Noah, but at the same time HE ANNOYED ME SO MUCH. I’d get into spoilers if I went further with this, but EVERYONE KNEW THE DOUBLE LIFE WAS GONNA GO BADLY, NOAH.

I also really liked the way that Lucy Saxon crafted the plot – when you think everything’s going great, something else comes and ruins it. Some of it was quite easy to predict, for me at least, but then I got the satisfaction of being right.

The aesthetics of this book I also obsessed over. They’d make a really good animation, or Pinterest board. I might make one over the summer, or it could be the theme of one of my book-related bujo spreads – everything is described so beautifully and I really want one of the masks that Noah and his dad make.

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On the other hand, I found the plot a bit slow in places. I like things to happen quickly, so when small bits of the storyline get focused on for more than two pages, I get fidgety (maybe that’s why my book is only 16,000 words and I’m already to the climax. Oops.). I also found that there were a few things left unresolved at the end that I wanted to know about – was the harvest good that year anyway? Were people less angry at Crysta now? Again, spoilers.

There were also some characters that I thought appeared quite key but were mostly just… there. Like Damian, the guard and Noah’s best friend. I feel like there could be another whole book about him.

I enjoyed this book, but again, everything in this series gets compared to Take Back the Skies in my mind so I don’t fully immerse myself in them because of that. I still love Lucy Saxon’s writing though, and I’m definitely going to get the next book in the series.

6/10
-ABG

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