First of all, let’s just take a moment to die over how beautiful this cover is. THE COLOURS. This is the third book in the Tellus series, and probably my favourite of the books so far. Each story centres on a different main character in a different country of the fantastical world, and The City Bleeds Gold follows Noah, the future queen’s almost-finance, who moonlights as Daniel, who searches for truth and justice in the lower areas of the city to bring down the big bad.
Even though this is a companion series and the majority of the world building has been done in the first book as or general concept, I feel like there needed to be a bit more in the beginning. I know that sounds weird asking for clunky world building, but I would seriously appreciate a bit of settling in to the setting, or something.
Still, reading The City Bleeds Gold you really see how Lucy Saxon has progressed as a writer. I was way more entertained for a larger portion of the book because she has nailed how to pace fantasy stories! It didn’t take me long to get a grasp of the characters, I was hoping for some more prominent women though, I have to say, considering The Almost King had a male focaliser too. I want Rosa, Crysta the future-queen’s younger sister, to have her own book, because she was fabulous. I liked how this book tried to focus on the emotional consequences of making choices though, retrospectively that’s a huge theme in the book and I liked how that didn’t just apply to Noah.
I really enjoyed the mix of court and market street setting, and the way the story shifted between Noah and Daniel’s section was obvious and had a good sense of flow. Things were also getting increasingly more intense on both sides, with the stakes getting higher, and the pressure of Noah to make a choice about who he wanted to be becoming more apparent. Overall, I’d say I was fond of Noah, but he could be a bit slimy at times too. I think my biggest problem was the lengths the other characters, namely Lena, went to excuse Noah’s actions and secrecy. He’s literally blackmailing Rosa at one point, and everyone’s like “no no, that’s okay, don’t worry about it,” or the fact that he was sort of involved with Emilia emotionally if not physically but this isn’t (and shouldn’t) be regarded as cheating because Noah loves Crysta more?? This scene just didn’t sit well with me.
This book has to be my favourite of the series, because there was something almost…Disney about it. I don’t know if it’s that whole double-life thing, or the Esmerelda-vibes Noah was giving me (and let’s face it, the whole series has a bit of the Treasure Planet about it!)? I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would and, with series, it’s always a good idea to read the next book even if you didn’t like a previous story, because it’s going to be very different! I can’t wait to see what Tellus has in story for us next!