On reading: Metropolitan Dreams by Mark A King

Metropolitan Dreams

Title: Mark A King

Author: Metropolitan Dreams

From the back: This is a tale of two cities.

Darkness and light.

Sinners and angels.

In the daylight, London sparkles, beckoning tourists, optimists and dreamers from across the globe. The sunlit city weaves together the lives of repentant crime-lords, altruistic nightclub bouncers and resolute detectives.

In the darkness, London festers, drools, tempts and corrupts. It is a world where the desperate are lured, the weak are exploited, and good men wrap themselves in the blanket of criminal rewards. In the seething streets, the hissing underground stations and lost subterranean rivers, the metropolitan dreams of ethical hackers, desperate criminals and traumatized Tube-drivers unfold.

Maria, a vulnerable twelve-year-old from Kerala, India, has travelled half the world in search of her past and hopes for the future. Within hours, violent chaos engulfs her. Maria is tracked, hunted and pursued—she can rescue the city, but first she must save herself.

The gist: The debut novel from talented flash-fictioneer Mark A King packs an urban fantasy punch that leaves you wanting more (thankfully, this is a BOOK 1 so signs are looking good). A host of likeable and unlikeable characters prowl the streets of London, mingling with the criminal underworld, the spiritual world, and the downright gritty-side-of-life-bits of world.

There’s many types of London, and Kings’ London is gritty, with a dark and a light side – full of ghosts who aren’t seen because they’re ghosts, and people who aren’t seen because they’re the sort of people crowds ignore.

And even though King covers some pretty heavy topics, there’s humour in the darkness, witty edges to characters that make the book deeper and the characters more real.

Half urban fantasy, half London-noir, with strains of Neil Gaiman thrown in for good measure, Metropolitan Dreams is a page turner that you’ll wish didn’t run out of pages.

This book deserves to be made into a film, or be the next grit-fantasy (that’s a genre, promise) TV box set we’re all talking about. And when we’re finished talking about that, hopefully the next one will be out, because we certainly need to hear more from King.

Favourite line: “you’re thicker than an Eighties mobile phone.”

Read if: You want a bit of urban fantastical London-noir in your life (which you do)

Read with: An underground map, and a soundtrack of tube trains.

Get it: Metropolitan Dreams by Mark A King

Grind Spark – out now

Longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014, Grind spark is a near-future dystopian novel about growing up in the years leading up to the end of the world. It’s about pretending to be the perfect family. It’s about whether you want to survive. Treat your eye portals. Pick up your copy here.

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