Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Publisher/Publication Date: Broadway Books, September 9, 2014
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Format/Source: Paperback Review Copy, Blogging for Books
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Book Summary from Goodreads
Years ago, the city of Bulikov wielded the powers of the Gods to conquer the world. But after its divine protectors were mysteriously killed, the conqueror has become the conquered; the city's proud history has been erased and censored, progress has left it behind, and it is just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power. Into this musty, backward city steps Shara Divani. Officially, the quiet mousy woman is just another lowly diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Full Summary Here
As a person who likes epic fantasy, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really did enjoy the world building, the characters, and the strangely broken setting of Bulikov. There was a lot of mystery surrounding the city and the current events that took place throughout the book, and left me with numerous doubts if what was being told was actually the truth. Bulikov was a city once ruled by Divinities who wielded immeasurable power—they practically ruled the world. But it all ended with the war, leaving behind a broken and fractured place where their influence used to be strongest. Saypur literally wanted to erase all traces of these Divinities, and hide the history surrounding them. Right away, the mystery surrounding a murder introduces an interesting set of characters. Shara Thivani (Komayd) was one of those characters, a spy, looking into a case that’s close to her personally. Sigrud, Shara’s “Secretary” was also an interesting addition to the story, as he did handle some situations—his actions were just crazy sometimes. The world building presented an interesting take on the genre, as small bits of information were dropped here and there—while Shara navigated the lines between being an operative and her personal life when old acquaintances show up. The Divinities, gosh, everything about them was just sort of crazy, and the circumstances surrounding them were never clear until the explanations gradually revealed what was happening. The plot points all intersected at the end, as I finally figured out what was going on, and who was behind what. I can’t say much more because I don’t want to spoil anything. Overall City of Stairs was an excellent read and I look forward to reading more of Bennett’s work.
I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review, thank you!
About the Author
Robert Jackson Bennett is the author of American Elsewhere, The Troupe, The Company Man, and Mr. Shivers. His books have been awarded the Edgar Award, the Shirley Jackson, and the Philip K. Dick Citation of Excellence. He lives in Austin with his wife and son.