Nights And Weekends | 31 July 2011 | Margaret Marr

In City of the Snakes, the third book in author Darren Shan’s The City trilogy, readers are lead into the life of Al Jeery, a serial killer who takes on the appearance of his father in order to draw out the man who destroyed those closest to his heart. But he can only bring himself to kill the truly evil—unlike his father, Paucar Wami, the notorious assassin who killed the innocent along with the guilty for the pure pleasure of it.

 

Cardinal Capac Raimi disappears—but they know he’s not dead because he cannot be killed. The acting Cardinal, Ford Tasso, asks Al Jeery to find Capac for him, but Al has no interest in finding a man he cares nothing about—that is, until Ford offers Jeery the one thing he’s spent the last ten years trying to obtain: the whereabouts of the man who took so much from his life.

 

Suddenly Jeery is drawn into the frightening world of the Incan priests who want to rule the city by any means possible. Offered power beyond anything he desires, Jeery sets out to save the city in the only way he knows how: by killing off the evil ones. But the price is high, and his death may be the ultimate payment.

 

Though City of the Snakes is the third book in a trilogy, it can still be read as a stand-alone title. However, after reading it, you’re probably going to want to go back and pick up the first two books in the trilogy (like I do), just for the pure pleasure of reading them—especially if they’re as fantastic as this third book.

 

Al Jeery is not your normal hero. He kills evil people not because he really cares that they’re evil but because he’s got retribution on his mind. Still, you’ll find yourself liking him anyway. At times, he’s hilarious. He doesn’t put up with a bunch of bull, and he really does have people in his life that he cares about. This may sound bad, but I think the world could use a few more antiheroes like Jeery.

 

City of the Snakes is a spellbinding dark thriller involving magic, but it also contains a good bit of quirky humor to lighten the mood, which helps make the evil characters, like Paucar Wami, a little more likable. Mr. Shan’s imagination, mixed with a laugh-out-loud sense of humor, makes City of the Snakes an even more enjoyable read—and one of the best novels I’ve read this year. I simply could not wait to get back to this book whenever I was forced to put it down—and I’m definitely going back to pick up the first two books in the trilogy.

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