13 August 2014

Tour Stop (Review): The Artful - Wilbert Stanton

The Artful by Wilbert Stanton 

(Shadows of the City #1) 

Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: May 27th 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.

Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels – their playground. They aren’t heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.

On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.


My Review

In a ruined Manhattan, there are two types of people; the Tower Babies - privileged, with enough money to have constant parties and access to the drugs that will save them from the suns harmful rays, and the street gangs - the ones who have to fight to survive. Twist and Dodger are Gutter Punks, who steal meds from Tower Babies to help those less fortunate. When a raid goes wrong, they find themselves adrift on the surface in Times Square, hiding from police and saving a girl from that advances of an older man. Then it all starts to get very complicated when Dodger is infected with a virus, and the only cure is sitting at the end of a quest into the most dangerous part of the city, for something they didn't even steal.

A thrilling and engrossing read, The Artful completely rewrites the classic tale of Oliver Twist and turns it into and exciting coming-of-age story with a lot more punch than you bargained for.

The setting is one of the things that really makes this book. New York is one of the most well-known places on earth, and even if you haven't been there, images of it circulate so often that everyone gets the idea. The author really utilised this setting, making the city a dark, sinister place but also including elements such as Times Square and the Empire State Building to keep the audience with them. You can easily imagine a crumbling, broken version of the city, crawling with gangs. as the story changes, the reach extends from lower Manhattan to a religious-nut-infested uptown and a deeply dangerous Brooklyn. Yes, much more dangerous than normal, trust me on this.

I'll admit, it was a little bit difficult to place the Oliver Twist elements in this book, but maybe that was because really The Artful stands out on its own, rather than being a cheap YA copy of its Dickensian origin. Perhaps the original story may show some more of its-self and its characters in the next book, but I'm willing to bet that the story keeps growing and goes off into a tangent from the story that simply can't be guessed at.

Speaking of which, the twists in this novel were great! One of them you may see coming for a tiny while before it was confirmed, but the second was pure genius, and quite amusing, too. The final twist is something I completely didn't see coming. Forget Oliver Twist, because honestly the departure from the original plot makes this book amazing - it gives way for more fantastic and shocking things to happen, and it sounds like there's much more to come.

The one and only downside was the characters. Although Twist had a great character arc and Dodger and Gia were very likeable, I never truly felt too much for them. I did read this in one day, so perhaps its just my binge-reading that's the issue here as I didn't have time to mull each of them over, but hey, that's just my opinion.

Anyway, this was a great read and I am now desperate to read about what happens next.

Author Bio
Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

Author links: 

This is the tour-wide International giveaway for one signed copy of The Artful.


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