Review: City of Blades
I told you this one would be coming really soon didn’t I? Oh yeah. The third book in this series was published in May of this year, and when I realized that a handful of weeks ago, I bought them all and got busy, because I immediately knew how I wanted to do this. So, I’m guessing that you’ll figure out fairly quickly what’s going to be coming your way…um…tomorrow? Ha, ha! Goodness for the readers! And if you’re interested in goodness, I checked out the author’s website last night and he has this killer sketch-rewrite of the Star Wars prequel movies that would have been so genius to see. Well, in all honesty, it wouldn’t take much to come up with a story that’s better than what we got, but trust me Bennett’s ideas are dang cool. I’ll wait to put a link for his blog post at the end of this review though. Cause you’re gonna want to check this out first.
CITY OF BLADES is the second book in the seriously awesome Divine Cities series by Robert Jackson Bennett. The first book in the series, CITY OF STAIRS, ended with the Battle of Bulikov, and everyone on the continent and the Saypuri mainland are reeling with its consequences.
BLADES picks up five years later, and centers around the character of General Turyin Mulaghesh, as Shara Komayd’s messenger tracks her to a remote island to where the general has retired. Despite Mulaghesh’s best efforts, she’s still very much suffering from the effects of the Battle of Bulikov, and she’s not happy to be found. She’s even less happy to be pressed back into service by a technicality concerning her pension. So, she’s off to Voortyashtan, the veritable armpit of the entire Continent, where Voortya, the god of war and death, ruled close to seventy-five years ago, but is now a mess of violence and ruin.
Shara, always the politician first, is part of a select group of individuals that is aware of a new type of material that has been found underground near Voortyashtan. It exhibits extraordinary properties, and there are those that believe that it might be Divine in nature, and this scares them all to death. Shara has already sent an operative into the military base that is regulating the security for this new material, but the woman has disappeared, and so now she wants to send Mulaghesh in to figure out what’s going on, and if it has anything to do with the departed Divinities.
This is a story that lives and breathes the life of Turyin Mulaghesh. Between illuminating her violent military history, to her loyalty to Shara, to the recent trauma she received in Bulikov, it is a story that is molded perfectly to the individual pieces and nuances of this woman, and every aspect of it displays more of her character. I was fairly entertained by Mulaghesh and her interactions with Shara in STAIRS, and was quite pleased to see her as the main POV here. Sigrud is also back for another run, now the reluctant leader of the Dreyling Republic, as well as his daughter, Signe, a brilliant woman that is the CTO of the Dreyling company tasked by Shara with building a massive new port for the city of Voortyashtan.
Again in BLADES, as it was in STAIRS, the author peels back the layers of the world he’s built, the layers of deception and conspiracy that are seemingly everywhere, and illuminates the bloom of a brilliantly structured story. It would be relatively easy at this point to say that this book is much like the first: starts as a murder mystery, slowly builds the story-set piece by piece, and then there’s a crazy fight at the end. And such a statement wouldn’t exactly be wrong, but at the same time this book was so incredibly different in feel from the first that I can’t help but think that it is. This is a very personal story for Mulaghesh, in ways even more personal than the story was for Shara in STAIRS.
Obviously a separate story from the one told in STAIRS, but linked inextricably to it nonetheless, BLADES continues to reveal the story of the shattered world of the Continent and Saypur, the world of seemingly lost Divinities and the lingering secrets of theirs and those that have been left behind. This is not a story to miss.
Recommended Age: 18+
Language: Quite a bit. Main character has a mouth
Violence: Very graphic and bloody
And that blog post of Bennett’s that I talked about in my opener: Star Wars Prequels Revisited