Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

City of Halves

City of Halves

Lucy Inglis
For ages 13 and up
Scholastic, 2015   ISBN: 978-0545829588

Lily is a skilled coder, but unlike many other teens who are good at hacking and gathering information, Lily chooses to use her skills to help others. Lily’s father is a lawyer and at the moment they are trying to track down a forger who has been creating false papers for girls who are victims of human trafficking. Lily has managed to find the forger on some CCTV feeds and she thinks that he is using a number of locations in the City as dead drops. He seems to use a derelict alley called Bow Lane regularly and so she hacks into the Corporation of London’s CCTV system to see if he is there. Through the camera’s lens she sees a person in the alley whose face is covered up so she cannot properly identify him. This this person deliberately breaks the camera while she is watching him.

Being the kind of dogged investigator that she is, Lily goes to the alley to see what is going on there, which is where she encounters a massive two headed dog. Lily tries to run away from the terrifying beast but it manages to get to her and it attacks. When Lily comes to, the person she saw on the CCTV, who, it turns out, is a teen only a few years older than herself, is using a tube to transfer blood from his body into hers. The dog who attacked Lily did a lot of damage and she should be bleeding to death, but for some reason she isn’t. When the transfusion process is over, Lily takes a look at her body to look at the injuries that should be there. There is a lot of blood, but her skin has completely healed.

The boy, Regan Lupescar, isn’t at all surprised to see this and soon enough he tells Lily that he belongs to a group of beings called the Eldritche. The two headed dog Lily encountered is an Eldritche, one of the less likeable ones. Regan’s job is to make sure that the more violent Eldritche, the Chaos, do not get the opportunity to wreak havoc on London, and when he encounters creatures like the dog, he gets rid of them. He is part of a long line of Guardians who have done this job, guarding the gates between the Eldtriche world and the human one, a job which keeps humans and peaceable members of his kind safe. He has noticed that for some reason more of the Chaos are getting into the City than is usual and this concerns him. At this rate it won’t be long before he is outnumbered and then what will happen?

Lily also learns that the government has a secret organization, the Agency, which keeps tabs on the Eldritche. It would seem that the Eldritche and humans have been living side by side for a long time now but somehow humans never notice that wraiths, trolls, and other fantastical creatures are walking their streets.

Lily and Regan then find out that girls, both human and Eldritche, are going missing and they start trying to find out what is happening to them. They ask questions, follow leads, and encounter several decidedly unsavory characters and it soon becomes clear that Lily and Regan are part of something that is a lot bigger than they are. If they are not able to bring balance to the world and control the influx of the Chaos, then an all-out war between humans and the Chaos could be the result. Should such a war be allowed to happen, London will surely be destroyed. What the teens struggle to understand is how the Agency is linked to what is going on in London. A link is there, but what it is is a mystery.

In this remarkable book readers will encounter colorful characters and a storyline that is packed with interesting revelations, tension, heart-stopping moments, and a touch of romance. The author carefully and slowly reveals the truth and what we discover is truly shocking.