City of Last Chances by Adrian Tchaikovsky- Book Review

Here is my review for City of Last Chances, epic fantasy  by Adrian Tchaikovsky

There has always been a darkness to Ilmar, but never more so than now. The city chafes under the heavy hand of the Palleseen occupation, the choke-hold of its criminal underworld, the boot of its factory owners, the weight of its wretched poor and the burden of its ancient curse.
What will be the spark that lights the conflagration?
Despite the city’s refugees, wanderers, murderers, madmen, fanatics and thieves, the catalyst, as always, will be the Anchorwood – that dark grove of trees, that primeval remnant, that portal, when the moon is full, to strange and distant shores.
Ilmar, some say, is the worst place in the world and the gateway to a thousand worse places.
City of Long Shadows.
City of Bad Decisions.
City of Last Chances.


I’ve enjoyed Adrian Tchaikovsky’s science fiction books so I was keen to see how his fantasy compared to this and was happy my request was approved by NetGalley for the arc of  City Of Last Chances.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

This is a hard review to write. I didn’t really love the book as much as I thought I would ( although I didn’t dislike the book as much as I thought I would after I finished it either).

So, I’ll focus on the good first. The world-building is truly epic and expansive- The city of Ilmar and the surrounding cities( especially the city that has a fixed population and any child that doesn’t meet the grade are evicted!) are the true core of the story. Ilmar is the place for people who have nowhere else to go and the writing captures it perfectly. The descriptions of the city and its people just highlight the last chance saloon of this city.

The city is occupied and the tensions between invaders imposing their culture and religion over the occupied people of Ilmar are beautifully described and ring true.

But there are far too many characters in the book and by the end, I couldn’t keep track of them and couldn’t really have a sense of them or their purpose, I found it hard to keep track of the plot and just felt a little lost by the end.

Perfect for Fans of

 While I imagine fans of epic fantasy with plenty of characters and great world-building will love this book, it just wasn’t for me.

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