*I received a free copy of this novella with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Tova’s getting her hearing back. She’s going to wish she wasn’t.
Alone in Tokyo for experimental ear surgery, Tova Nokes is finally shaking up her life. But when she starts to hear things she shouldn’t, all she wants is to make it home alive.
There’s a voice saying it’s where she comes from that makes her special.
If she can only survive violent stalkers, and the terrible screams, she might figure out why…
The City Screams is a standalone novella set in the Ordshaw universe, but specifically in Tokyo rather than Ordshaw (although there are links and references).
In this story we meet Tova and immediately join her on her journey, not just from Ordshaw to Tokyo, but from hope to joy, to disappointment, horror, hope again and so on. Phil Williams has really captured the roller-coaster of emotions here and the reader experiences it all right alongside with Tova. We also experience her confusion and lack of knowledge – not every question has an answer here.
There is a running theme of trust in the story. Not only is Tova unsure of WHO to trust when things begin to get a bit…odd, but she cannot even trust her own senses. There is a real horror there, in the knowledge that she has to live with the results of whatever happens with her hearing. Worse was the slowly dawning realisation that no longer hearing a scream does not mean that the sound (or what was causing it) has gone away. That one kept me up at night for quite a while afterwards!
With quite a simple premise and a relatively short number of pages, this story manages to take a couple of unexpected turns and leave the reader anxious to know more about what lurks beneath the city streets and above the audible threshold. Good job there are more Ordshaw books to explore the world further…!
The flight attendants had been unfaltering in their attention. She’d got through the airport to a taxi here without trouble. The surly driver might not have even realised she was deaf, since he lost interest in conversation once she showed him the apartment’s address. And the city through the car windows looked infinitely cleaner and better organised than Ordshaw. This building, and those strange men, were nothing. The only real danger, the thing she was avoiding thinking about, was the surgery. Mogami industries promised to achieve the impossible. It wasn’t scary because it might fry her brain; it was terrifying to think it might work.
– Phil Williams, The City Screams
The City Screams is available on Amazon right now!