Saturday, January 30, 2016

City of Blades

4 Stars

I began this novel knowing it was a sequel and that I had not read the first, City of Stairs, in the Divine Cities series by Robert Jackson Bennett. Luckily, this book can be a stand alone read and I was able to follow and enjoy the story without the aid of book 1.

I did find, however, I had some trouble reading the book in that I never found that hook that kept me going. It took me some time of consideration to realize the cause of my slight disinterest. The story contains a lot of dialogue, very intricate and informative, but not a lot of action. What drives the story is the interaction between characters, without any actual interaction. What I mean is, there's a lot of conversation without any action in between. Characters talk and talk and don't do so much as walk into another room or slam a book across the room in outrage.

On top of a lack of body language and minute observations of character's behavior, there is very little description of the world around the characters. I wasn't always clear on whether they were inside or outside until a small clue was given and these grand views they experience are left to the imagination. I think if I could more acutely imagine the world I'm reading about, the story would have been much more intriguing.

The plot is rich, the story has intrigue, but somehow it all lacks an enticing flare. I found I wanted to continue, I wanted to know more, but only out of slight curiosity, not from the usual insatiable drive of uncovering the mysteries of a strange new world.

Our main character, Mulagesh, clearly has PTSD from her tour of duty which is a very interesting perspective in a fantasy novel. Most fantasy characters are war driven, hard and full of honor and it's refreshing to see a character so vulnerable even with her exceptional strength. Mulagesh needs no one, she's a strong woman and a strong leader and I enjoyed reading about a real woman with a head on her shoulders and no room for bullshit. I do wonder how much experience the author has with PTSD and what research he did. Mulagesh tells herself to focus, to remember where she is, but it's not always that easy and there are many unique symptoms of PTSD he could touch on and make her character very real and relatable.

It's a good book, I'm not sure I would have picked it up if it weren't for the opportunity given to me by Blogging for Books. There is a definite mystery to be solved and the author holds out until the end, leaving bread crumbs along the way. City of Blades is an intriguing read that will keep you guessing until the end.

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