Read this maybe in 2015-2018. The general plot is that the main character wants to reach this house/place that controls everything. I recall the setting being similar to an overpopulated pre-industrial era city. I may be wrong about this though. Along the way, he has to travel to all sorts of different places and meet very fantastical creatures/people. If I recall correctly, the house was on top of a hill or a mountain that was filled with all sorts of traps and trouble.

There are a few characters I remember, one specifically was a lizard/reptile creature that is intelligent and well-spoken when in the darkness but becomes a savage animal when there is light. There is another character, I believe the antagonist of the book, who is also trying to make their way to the house and there are many copies of the antagonist all trying to do the same thing.

  • 2
    My first thought was the Good Magician Humphrey from the Xanth books, but the more I read, the less it matched.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 2, 2023 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


This is quite a common trope in fantasy and I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to identify your book without more details. However your description immediately reminded me of the book The Gears of the City by Felix Gilman. This was published in 2008 so you could have read it in 2015 to 2018:

Gears of the City

The book follows on from Gilman's previous novel Thunderer, which I haven't read. Gears of the City starts with the protagonist, Arjun, awakening with no knowledge of who he is or where he is. It is at this point that he meets the lizard who is imprisoned in a cage. The lizard is, as you say, well spoken and courtly and tells Arjun he is in the city of Ararat. It tells about the city and in particular the mountain (referred to in the book simply as The Mountain) that dominates it.

I don't recall whether the lizard becomes savage in daylight as it's normally kept in darkness.

Felix wanders around the city of Ararat having various adventures leading up to his attempt to climb the mountain. Everything is on the fantastical side. Gilman's work veers towards the weird fiction genre and reviews of the book use words like hallucinogenic.

The antagonist is a wizard like character called Shay, and there are indeed multiple copies of him.

  • THIS IS IT! Thank you so much!
    – Statskey
    Feb 2, 2023 at 18:40
  • @Statskey A lucky guess! :-) Feb 2, 2023 at 18:42

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