Publisher: Broadway Books
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Format: Paperback, 469 pages
Source: Blogging for Books
Summary Via Penguin Random House
My Rating: ★★★★★
A triumphant return to the world of City of Stairs.
A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of war and death, the birthplace of fearsome supernatural sentinels who killed and subjugated millions. So it makes perfect sense that General Turyin Mulaghesh— foul-mouthed hero of the battle of Bulikov, rumored war criminal, ally of an embattled Prime Minister—has been exiled there to count down the days until she can draw her pension and be forgotten.
At least, it makes the perfect cover story.
The truth is that the general has been pressed into service one last time, dispatched to investigate a discovery with the potential to change the world–or destroy it.
If you haven't read the first book in this series, City of Stairs, I highly suggest you do so. However, having read both books I can say that the writing and plot of both books are strong enough that they can stand on their own. If you pick up this book before reading the first one, I don't think you would be lost at all. There are references to the first book, but the overall plot and what happens to our protagonist Mulaghesh are not dependent upon the first book. That is something that really makes me like Robert Jackson Bennett's writing a lot, because he really makes this strange urban fantasy story accessible to all sorts of readers.
Initially this book did take me awhile to get into, and I think for the most part that was because I felt like it starts off pretty slow. Part of this was Bennett giving us the world building of the city of Voortyashtan, so we can understand the politics, landscape and what exactly Mulaghesh is getting herself into. Once Sigrud je Harkvaldsson shows up and the story really got into the mystery aspect of finding the Prime Ministry's missing operative, that's when things got really interesting. That's when Bennett hooked me in, and I could hardly put this one down.
What I really like about Bennett's writing is that he has this way of blending urban fantasy with mystery all in a backdrop of a geo-political power struggle. The way he does it has to be Divine, because if another author attempted this it might come off as too much, but Bennett has a way of making it all fit into a concise story. I think he also writes in a way that always keeps me guessing, because I did not guess who was behind bringing destruction to the city. I know it's common that in mystery it's the least person you expect, but seriously in this book I would not have guessed at all who it was!
It's been a while since I read the first book in this series, I actually didn't know this was going to be a series, so I immediately jumped on the chance to read City of Blades. I'm really glad I did, because I think I actually liked it more than the first book. One thing I noticed that I think differed a lot between the two was the swearing. I don't remember there being a lot of swearing in the first book, but Mulaghesh swears a lot in this book. This is an adult fantasy book, and I have a mouth like a trucker so this didn't bother me at all. I think this was a way to show Mulaghesh as a somewhat unlikeable character, but it actually endeared her to me. She was kind of abrasive and got what she wanted through force and lots of F-bombs, so of course I loved her! I also think her determination to get to the bottom of things and save civilians make her a more likable character to me. She had guts, but she also was fighting on the right side of justice.
I throughly enjoyed this book, and I'm actually surprised that I haven't seen more book bloggers getting on board with this series. I think more people need to read this series to see what I am talking about. I am highly recommending this book (and the series as a whole) to everyone I know that reads fantasy. I'll just be sitting here patiently waiting to see what Bennett has in store for me in the third installment of this series in 2017!
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.