Idle Hands by Tom Fletcher


Idle Hands continues the story of Wild Alan after the events of Gleam. My review for Gleam can be found here. This is a direct sequel so you should read that before continuing with this review.

(Wild) Alan now has a new quest, after the events of the last book, Alan now needs to again find his way back into the Pyramid, so that he can give the cure for Idle Hands to his son Billy. Alan is more alone than he has ever been and is now facing even more obstacles that he will have to overcome to reach Billy. Alan is as single-minded as he was in the previous novel, which can be frustrating as it feels like he hasn’t learnt to be considerate of other people. Alan’s sense of entitlement is huge, he doesn’t take the time to consider other people's feelings and emotions and is not used to having to compromise, Alan has to try to be more cooperative even if this is not a natural state for him.

Alan knows that he can not get back into the Pyramid alone, but he has burnt so many bridges he needs to find both new and old allies. Alan is currently persona non grata in the Discard as Daunt (The Mushroom Queen) has set a bounty on his head. Alan also gets entangled with a biker gang, who are willing to take him to Bloody Nora, as they also want her help.

In Idle Hands, we start to see the full reach of the corruption affecting not only the Discard but also within the Pyramid itself. We also get more of an idea about the original function of the Pyramid and of Gleam itself. The Arbitrators are even more vicious than previously seen and we get a glimpse of who is in charge of keeping the Pyramid running. It is also eye-opening to see how few people understand the Pyramid, it is almost as if no one realises how much history they have lost and how much of the Discard is being changed for the worse.

Alan is able to get Nora to help him sneak back into the Pyramid, but she only agrees to help as she has her own agenda, even if it goes against one of the most sacred rules the Mapmakers hold. Alan, Nora and newcomer Bryon are an interesting team up, as they have one goal, but very different reasons for heading into danger. Alan again is not only endangering his allies by heading into the Pyramid, but also the lives of Marion and Billy. It is good to see more of Marion and for her to feel more like a proper character in this novel, even if Alan doesn’t realise that his actions make everything worse for his family and that they would be better off without him.

Idle Hands is action packed with a lot more information given to the reader about the world of Gleam. Alan has to face up to some hard truths, that he really isn’t the hero of this story. Gleam is a world of monstrosities, where everyone in the Discard is working hard for their survival. For the second book in a trilogy, this gives us ample information to chew on before the third novel comes out. Fletcher also sets the characters on the path to new adventures and places unknown. I am left wondering whether Alan will finally be able to step up and do some good rather than harm?

Review by

All reviews for Tom Fletcher's The Factory Trilogy series

The Factory Trilogy #1

The gargantuan Factory of Gleam is an ancient, hulking edifice of stone, metal and glass ruled over by chaste alchemists and astronomer priests. As millennia have passed, t [...]

Idle Hands
The Factory Trilogy #2

Idle Hands is an ancient disease that once tore through the Discard, and if Wild Alan doesn't find a way into the Black Pyramid to administer the cure to his son, Billy [...]


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