With brizzlehounds and slaughterbirds, City of Lies of the Keepers trilogy is dystopian fiction of a different sort
At the outset, you should know The Keepers Trilogy, of which City of Lies is the second part, is meant for children of ages nine and above. Lian Tanner ensures that her story arc, characters, diction, all keep to this. So if you are expecting to find the next Eragon or Mistborn, this is not the series for you. That said, Keepers is imaginative and brimming with potential; a decent read in its own right.
Before we plunge into the mysterious City of Lies, a little context. In a far, far land away, lies the city of Jewel. Its people live in a state of eternal fear. Their children, chained to “Guardians” until Separation Day (coming-of-age), never allowed to wander out on their own, for their own safe-keeping from the dreaded children-snatchers.
Goldie Roth is a born rebel, impatient and bold, traits that land her in trouble every day of her existence. When her Separation Day is cancelled, she runs away and takes refuge in the first place she can find— the Museum of Dunt, a place that’s ever shifting and mysterious, seeming to hold everything from Brizzlehounds to bloodthirsty barbarians. With Toadspit, a fellow-runaway, and new found friends by her side, Goldie helps imprison the villainous Fugleman and frees the town’s children from the tyranny of the Guardians.
Book Two, the City of Lies takes from here and runs away with it. In the newly-freed city of Jewel, Toadspit’s sister Bonnie is kidnapped. Following the trail leads Goldie and Toadspit to go to a neighbouring city, where the Festival of Lies is taking place. Along the way, Toadspit is captured too. In a race against time, will Goldie use all her skills to save the day and defeat the master-mind behind the child-stealers or not makes for the crux of the story.
To its credit, City of Lies is fast-paced, rich in detail and filled with thrilling chase sequences. But in all honesty, it’s a letdown after Book One, which offered so much promise. The plot defies all tenets of logic, even for fantasy fiction. Here’s hoping Book Three will have more to offer.
Name: City of Lies
Author: Lian Tanner