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Low Town: A novel by Daniel Polansky
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Low Town: A novel (edition 2011)

by Daniel Polansky

Series: Low Town (1)

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1501779,725 (3.63)25
Member:buriedinprint
Title:Low Town: A novel
Authors:Daniel Polansky
Info:Doubleday (2011), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, CanLit
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Tags:to-read

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Low Town: A novel by Daniel Polansky

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I simply have to preface this review with – GO OUT AND GET THIS BOOK! Beg, borrow, buy, or steal it from a friend – I don’t care, but you must read it because it is just THAT good. Now that I’ve made my demands let me tell you why I loved this book. *note this review has a few quote spoilers*

The character building that is done for the protagonist, Warden, is great. He is the good guy, but then hell he’s also one of the bad guys. A low life to love. How is that possible? Essentially he’s a good guy gone bad. He’s fallen in with the Crime world when he got booted from being an Agent of the Crown. I think my only bone of contention with this book is that you never find out exactly why he was given the forcible boot.

As I feel in this specific case Polansky’s words might server as a better incentive for you to read the book than my own will – here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book. Oh the teasers!

"Mac had managed to carve out a small territory by virtue of his skill with a blade and the unreserved dedication of his whores, who to a woman, were as enamored of him as a mother is her firstborn." page 5

The background and backflashes in the book on Warden’s life were very well placed. I like that you got to see some of his experiences as a soldier as well as a child during the time of the plague. This particular one below had me laughing so hard, probably because I knew some foul mouthed sergeants in my time.

"They aren't expecting you to do anything, Private. I, however, am ordering you to shut that flapping cunt mouth of yours and gear up, because you're going over the wall in a quarter hour whether you're butt-fucking naked or covered in soot. And don't worry about the enemy, from what I hear they only fire at men." page 51

I loved how when reading this book I felt like I was in a different land, so similar to what maybe our own might have been like in another time/world and the differences to some of the normal speech patterns helped give that effect.

Now, Warden, tries to play like he’s a ball breaker, because he is, but he’s got a soft heart. There are so many times reading this when I thought – he’s only being cruel because it’s how he shows he cares. I’m so thankful this book didn’t have any romance in it – I wasn’t in the mood for any of those shenanigans so if that’s what you’re looking for this book is not it. I think this is about Warden, rediscovering part of who he is and what it is to watch out for your own.

I just have to throw this last quote in here because I thought it was way too hilarious to leave out. Now this is definitely how you get rid of an unwanted visitor!

"Up close she looked like someone better seen from father away. 'I don't believe I've had the pleasure,' she began. 'Are you mad? I had you last year at Lord Addington's spring formal! We went behind his pagoda and I took you from the rear. You said I was the best you'd ever had!' The color drained from her face-clearly she didn't find my scenario entirely implausible. Stammering an explanation she hurried off" page 303 ( )
  Pabkins | Jun 24, 2014 |
I really want to give this 3.5 stars. There were a lot of great elements to it, but sometimes the flow/pacing seemed off to me and I just felt that kept it from rating as high as the other books I have given 4 stars too. There was enough good that I rounded up instead of down. I feel the potential for the sequel is really good. ( )
  tenaciousreader | May 24, 2014 |
Please note: I read this in June 2011 from a copy I received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

About the Story: In "Low Town," Daniel Polansky has done something few authors have done - taken a noir mystery thriller and placed it in a fantasy world. I've only seen one other author make use of this type of story-telling idea, and have no idea why, because it is really a fabulous idea that allows a much broader range of ideas to be expressed. Low Town has it all - drugs, vice, violence - and sorcery.

My Synopsis: Known as The Warden, the main character (a true anti-hero if I ever met one) has run Low Town's drug trade by himself for the five years since he was pushed out of Black House (the secret police), where he had worked since after the Dren wars. However, his established routine is shaken up by the disappearance and then murder of a young girl - ending up in the limelight after finding her body, he is forced to ally himself with Black House in order to try to stop further murders.

My Thoughts and Recommendations: This was an amazing book and there is a twist at the end that I never once saw coming - it was very well done and I have to congratulate the author on so successfully fooling me. The characters are all well-done with developed personalities and separate natures, even if they are minor characters - this is always a trait I much admire in a writer. Overall, this is a must-read for fantasy, mystery, thriller, suspense AND noir fans - definitely pick this one up! ( )
  Katyas | May 6, 2013 |
testing testing testing testing testing testing testing testing testing testing
  miketopper | Mar 29, 2013 |
A pretty good debut novel. It is refreshing to have a tightly focused fantasy novel instead of the vast sprawling epics that seem so popular at the moment. I did enjoy most of the story and the central character, Warden, was interesting. Unfortunately the other characters were not as well developed. Also some of the clues to the mystery were heavily signposted to the reader. I will pick up the next in the series though and look forward to learning more about Warden and his world. ( )
  calm | Feb 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
The first chapter of Low Town, Daniel Polansky’s debut novel, opens with a piss and closes with a puke. Between the two are terse introductions to thugs, pimps, pushers, and Low Town itself, the corrupt borough they infest. All this would be standard if Low Town were just a hardboiled detective yarn. It’s not. Instead, Polansky transplants his love of crime noir into a magic-steeped, secondary-world fantasy setting. It’s an inherently troublesome mash-up that could only work in the hands of a silly satirist or a deft, sensitive dramatist with the blackest sense of humor. Polansky is wholeheartedly the latter—and Low Town is brilliant proof.
added by ShelfMonkey | editThe AV Club, Jason Heller (Aug 24, 2011)
 
A strong debut novel with a hero who doesn’t waste time worrying about the moral implications of cutting someone’s throat.
added by ShelfMonkey | editKirkus Reviews (Jul 1, 2011)
 
Polansky hits all the right notes in his intelligent first novel, a blend of dystopian fantasy and hard-boiled crime . . . Sharp, noir-tinged dialogue and astute insights into class struggle mark Polansky as a writer with a future.
added by ShelfMonkey | editPublishers Weekly (Jun 6, 2011)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385534469, Hardcover)

Drug dealers, hustlers, brothels, dirty politics, corrupt cops . . . and sorcery. Welcome to Low Town.

In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of Rigus, the finest city of the Thirteen Lands, you will find Low Town. It is an ugly place, and its cham­pion is an ugly man. Disgraced intelligence agent. Forgotten war hero. Independent drug dealer. After a fall from grace five years ago, a man known as the Warden leads a life of crime, addicted to cheap violence and expensive drugs. Every day is a constant hustle to find new customers and protect his turf from low-life competition like Tancred the Harelip and Ling Chi, the enigmatic crime lord of the heathens.

The Warden’s life of drugged iniquity is shaken by his dis­covery of a murdered child down a dead-end street . . . set­ting him on a collision course with the life he left behind. As a former agent with Black House—the secret police—he knows better than anyone that murder in Low Town is an everyday thing, the kind of crime that doesn’t get investi­gated. To protect his home, he will take part in a dangerous game of deception between underworld bosses and the psy­chotic head of Black House, but the truth is far darker than he imagines. In Low Town, no one can be trusted.

Daniel Polansky has crafted a thrilling novel steeped in noir sensibilities and relentless action, and set in an original world of stunning imagination, leading to a gut-wrenching, unforeseeable conclusion. Low Town is an attention-grabbing debut that will leave readers riveted . . . and hun­gry for more.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:08 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the forgotten back alleys and flophouses that lie in the shadows of Rigus, the finest city of the Thirteen Lands, is Low Town. It is an ugly place, and its champion is an ugly man. Disgraced intelligence agent. Forgotten war hero. Independent drug dealer. After a fall from grace five years ago, a man known as the Warden leads a life of crime, addicted to cheap violence and expensive drugs. Every day is a constant hustle to find new customers and protect his turf from low-life competition. The Warden's life of drugged iniquity is shaken by his discovery of a murdered child down a dead-end street, setting him on a collision course with the life he left behind. As a former agent with Black House--the secret police--he knows better than anyone that murder in Low Town is an everyday thing, the kind of crime that doesn't get investigated. To protect his home, he will take part in a dangerous game of deception between underworld bosses and the psychotic head of Black House, but the truth is far darker than he imagines.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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