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review 2017-06-19 17:21
City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennett
City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Miracles is the final book in the trilogy that starts with City of Stairs and continues with City of Blades, though it's set 13 years after the previous book in the series. As I get older, I find myself appreciating books which have grown-up characters at their heart, not just some pre-ordained teenager's quest and City of Miracles continues to give me what I want - what I've described to people as 'grumpy olds doing stuff'. Sure, there are teenagers here too but they're the supporting cast rather than the centre of things in a lot of ways.

 

The books are set in a world where miracles were once commonplace and the first book takes place in the direct aftermath of a war which has led to the death of the majority of the Divinities which once provided those miracles. The second and third books are about various things trying to fill the void left by those Divinities, either with a warrior class which had previously served them returning unexpectedly or with the offspring of said Divinities trying to claw their way to power. 

 

The main character in City of Miracles is Sigrud, who also appears in the previous books, and who'd fled to self-imposed exile in the previous volume. As we meet him again, we discover he's been waiting for a sign he can return, which had never come, and now the person he'd expected to call him back has been killed. This assassination is all part of the plan of Nokov, who is attempting to gather power by killing other divine children and apparently Sigrud has to plan a significant plan in foiling his rise to power.

 

I really enjoyed City of Miracles, which rounded off the series very nicely, and I look forward to seeing more novel-length stuff from this author - I also plan to nominate the series for next year's Best Series Hugo.

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review 2017-04-26 03:13
City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
City of Blades - Robert Jackson Bennett

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was one impressive read! I read the first book in this series, City of Stairs, a few months ago and really enjoyed it so I was really excited to finally get around to reading the second book in the series, City of Blades. A lot of times the second book in a series doesn't quite live up to the first so I was a bit worried going into the book. There was no need for any worry because as good as the first book was, this one was even better. I had such a hard time putting this book down and when I was away from it, I couldn't get it out of my mind.

I had really expected this book to focus on the same group of characters and I was somewhat wrong. The main character in this book is Mulaghesh who did play an important role in the first book but was not the lead character. I liked Mulaghesh in the first book but I absolutely loved her in this installment. Getting to learn some of her back story really opened up her character. She is tough, smart, and somewhat haunted by her past. I love the an older woman who has seen and done a lot of things is the person at the center of this story.

This book takes place in Voortyashtan which was very different than the setting of the first book. This meant that while some of the world building did build on the what was established in the previous book, a lot of this world was entirely new. The City of Blades ended up being something I would have never imagined but as it was described it I almost felt as if I were there. I really feel like there is almost no boundaries with what this series can explore.

The story in this book was very exciting. I did think that some of the earlier parts of the book were a bit tedious as I tried to figure out what was really going on. When the story took off, it really didn't let up. There are so many different things to solve that are all interconnected. The story took quite a few twists that I didn't see coming. I was a bit nervous as I read because I had no idea how things would work out for Mulaghesh and everyone.

I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the second book in the series and I do think that this series really needs to be read in order. The stories are not a continuation but the events of the first book really impacted the characters and the world they live in. I can't wait to see what is going to happen in City of Miracles!

I received a review copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Broadway Books via Blogging for Books and NetGalley.

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review 2017-01-15 00:00
City of Stairs
City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I really enjoyed this book overall. I decided to read this book because I have seen so many glowing reviews for it. Since everyone seemed to think that this is a great book and I like great books, I grabbed a copy and jumped in. I will say that it took me a while to really get into this book. I think that I just really needed to get a good feel for the world and the characters before everything clicked for me. By the end of the book, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

The world that this book was set in was so well done. Bulikov is a city that was once ruled by divine powers until they were all killed. It is now illegal to even talk about these Gods anymore. They are not allowed to study or know their culture's history. The city is ruled by the Saypur and there is a lot of ill feelings towards the ruling class and their rules.

Shara was such an interesting character. She is smart and not afraid to take action. She tries to follow the orders of her superiors but will go against them if she believes it is necessary. As much as I liked Shara, I loved Sigrud even more. He was my favorite character in this book. He seemed to do the impossible with ease and it was just a lot of fun to watch. Mulaghesh was great. She was tough and very competent. Mulaghesh and Shara worked well as a team and I really liked how they were able to depend on each other. Vo kept me guessing. I liked him even when I wasn't sure if I should. This book was filled with wonderful characters whose personalities really shined.

I would recommend this book to fantasy fans. It is a smartly written story that really keeps you guessing. There was enough action to really keep the story moving. The world building was fantastic and highly imaginative. I plan to continue with this series very soon.

Initial Thoughts
It took me a little while to really get into this book but once I did, I really enjoyed it.
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review 2016-04-30 00:00
City of Stairs
City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett In a way, this book is post-apocalyptic. What happens if you kill the gods whose essence suffuses the land and buildings themselves?

For me, this book was a bit too long. At its heart, it's a murder mystery. Yet as time goes on, the book becomes less concerned with the identity of the murderer, and more concerned with the mystery the victim uncovered and what it all means.

While the protagonist Shara is generally the one uncovering mysteries, it's her cohort who's mainly doing the main action. I found this a little bizarre. He slays the giant monster, yet she takes all the credit in the last half of the book. Same goes for taking out the flying ships... I thought this was going to be a bigger deal, but their defeat was almost an afterthought, and then he crashes the last one into the god and jumps off in a somewhat anticlimactic way.

I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that the ending reminds me of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin.

I really liked Shara's relationship with her on-again, off-again lover. His struggle with his sexual orientation made complete sense in this world/culture. I thought making his brother look so similar to him was an odd choice. I was expecting... something magical, a miracle of some sort, to be responsible for his inconsistent actions/appearance. I also wasn't really sure he was dead when the god finished with him. If I'd known he was dead immediately, his actions would've felt more heroic, but Shara rushes off without even bothering to check if he survived.

Overall, a very well-developed, fully fledged world. I would definitely consider reading more fantasy from this author in the future.
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