The city of Voortyashtan was once the home of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it's little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to find a Saypuri secret agent who's gone AWOL in the middle of a mission. But the ghosts of past wars have followed her there, and soon she begins to wonder what happened to the souls in the afterlife when the gods were defeated by her people, the Polis. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?
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A Sequel Refined into Magnificence
Was City of Stairs just a successful prototype? I only ask because this book blew its predecessor out of the water. Just like how I knew Seveneves was going to be my book of the year last year, I have the suspicion that this will be 2016's book of the year.
City of Blades stars Mulaghesh, who was my second favorite character of the first book, as she is strong-armed into searching for another missing person in the capital city of the god of war. This time around, the mystery is streamlined and makes plenty of sense after the reveal. Now, we do get a handful of other returning characters, including my favorite. However, these characters play a weak second to some of the newly introduced characters. The takeaway is that this is it's own book, it may be in the same world, but I hesitate to call it a direct sequel.
This book seems like it might be high fantasy, and I suppose it is, but being set in a more modern setting breathes so much fresh life into the genre that this book is something new entirely. Beyond this, Bennet has become more focused and created a tighter book than the first in the series. There wasn't a single moment of the book that I was bored. I was constantly given ideas and themes to think about when I had set the book down, and even better, none of my trigger points of rage were ever clicked. It just is a masterpiece.
I recommend this to anyone that even has a passing interest in fantasy novels. And even if you didn't like the first book much, if you were at all interested in the premise, I highly recommend this book.
So nice to read mature fantasy
- D. Fyler