Genre: Adult, High Fantasy, Mystery
Source: Blogging For Book (In return for honest review)
“Forgetting… is a beautiful thing. When you forget, you remake yourself… For a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it must forget it was a caterpillar at all. Then it will be as if the caterpillar never was & there was only ever a butterfly.”
― Robert Jackson Bennett, City of Stairs
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. Unofficially, Shara is one of her country’s most accomplished spymasters-dispatched to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly harmless historian. As Shara pursues the mystery through the ever-shifting physical and political geography of the city, she begins to suspect that the beings who once protected Bulikov may not be as dead as they seem-and that her own abilities might be touched by the divine as well.
*I would like to thank Broadway Books and Blogging For Books for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*
An Intriguing and Original High Fantasy Novel With Insane World Building
Thinking back to when I started this book it is crazy how much fantastic world building and storytelling took place, there is so much packed into this stand alone high fantasy novel that I do not even know how it all happened. It was like watching a movie, I could see everything so vividly. It did take me about 20 or so pages to get into the writing and the story, but it only kept getting better. This was such an intriguing and original book. I was so fully immersed into the story, wrapped up in the culture, religion and political intrigue that was woven through a high fantasy murder mystery. I never knew where the story was going to go and the world building was so flawless that by the end of the book it is amazing how much of the world and culture you know about. The pages are packed with images and mystery, but it did not feel like info dumping. The story and world unfolded in front of me and kept me so captivated that I just cant believe Bennett was able to cover so much and developed such cultures, histories and a world that all happened in under 500 pages.
Although the names are difficult for me to pronounce, they add to the cultural elements that are involved in this book. Bennett gives such great details and descriptions to the world and the divide between the two nations. I thought the characters were fantastic and so well developed. Not only is the main protagonist strong and determined and an overall remarkable character, but the secondary characters were on point for me. Sigrud is one badass character. You subtly learn about the characters and their backgrounds and I definitely was drawn to Sigrud. The other main secondary character Mulaghesh was also a kickass and sassy person who make me laugh quite a few times! Other than those characters I really enjoyed the “miraculous” beings and felt like they were unique and creative. I never knew what to expect and it was so refreshing.
Overall the book was action packed with witty prose and such an intense and immersive world that is so insanely developed. It was such a unique fantasy read that wove mystery into the plot and was layered with political intrigue and interesting cultures and histories with hints of magic and religion aspects. Of course it was loaded with shocks and twist, many that were so completely unexpected. By the end of the book I just wanted more. I became so attached to the characters that I just need to know what happened to them and how things ended up. This book has earned a spot as one of my favorites! I was happily surprised with this find and highly recommend this book, its a must read for those in love with fantasy, mystery or even religious and political aspects!