City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
Series: The Divine Cities #2
Reviewed by Ginny!
A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of war and death, the birthplace of fearsome supernatural sentinels who killed and subjugated millions.
Now, the city’s god is dead. The city itself lies in ruins. And to its new military occupiers, the once-powerful capital is a wasteland of sectarian violence and bloody uprisings.
So it makes perfect sense that General Turyin Mulaghesh — foul-mouthed hero of the battle of Bulikov, rumored war criminal, ally of an embattled Prime Minister — has been exiled there to count down the days until she can draw her pension and be forgotten.
At least, it makes the perfect cover story.
The truth is that the general has been pressed into service one last time, dispatched to investigate a discovery. For while the city’s god is most certainly dead, something is awakening in Voortyashtan. And someone is determined to make the world tremble at the the city’s awful power again.
Synopsis from Goodreads
What I drank prior: pinot gris. Im pretty basic but not quite basicnenoigh to drink chardonnay.
Spoiler-free Overview: gonna be honest. Im writing this review now becajse I needed to write it before I read the third book in the trilogy. Though this was wildly different from the first book and I probably wouldnt have had trouble keeping them apart. Mulagash has been called out 9f retirement by Shara (the heroine of book one) to go kind of undercover to figure out some weird stuff going on with something possibly mythical and a material that has unbelievable power. As happens in a Robert Bennett Jordan novel, shit goes down!
Spoiler-free Thoughts: man I really enjoyed this plot. I thought some of it was a little more obvious than others (gonna get into that later) but the blend of characters in this world [insert chefs kiss here]. I fully understand why this book wouldnt be everyone’s jam but I so love a world that explores the effect gods have and even better what happens once that influence is gone.
Characters: one of the things that was immediately apparent to me was how much I liked Turyin (Mulagash)’s perspective. Ive never been someone who would make a good spy so I read so many books just wanting to hide and go “gah why would you do that” while this book every decision made a sort of sense. I adored that sigrud came back. He was one of my favorite characters from the original book and even if circumstances were wildly different I still so loved seeing him again. Some of the other characters I hesistate to name. Some didnt make mich of an impact (sorry bloodthirsty guy who only wants to fight to prove he’s not a wimp – I dont rwally give a shit abiut you). I will say the bad guy was a little too obvious. But then again Ive seen Zootopia.
Plot: everyone is worried a god might be back. Is worrying for many reasons, first that she’s been dead for a gella long time. Also she’s the incarnation if war. Not good for peace. But evem beyond this there are a number of twists and tuens that were a lot of fun to follow. I still, even having finished the book, dobt quite understand how the forging was supposed to work, but I understood things around it well enough to not mind.
Writing Style: very interesting. This book reads as a spy novel but in a way that is as far from a spy novel as you can get within that genre? Turyin isnt a spy, doesnt want to be one, really kinda wants to not be involved, which really called to me. But also made for a dofferent book than you might expect. Turyin is blunter than Shara in a number of ways and it comes through.
World Building: this is where this book shines. The precious novel had mentioned some of the gods but this book allowed for a quasi-deep dive into a singular god, their beliefs, and the way they had shaped their society. It’s especially interesting to see everything in the fall of that god. I took a bote while reading that I wanted to be a historian in this world. The lore is so deep and broad that I want to bathe in it as if it was honey, not sure if that metaphor works but its what I got.
What to pair it with: a fancy malbec, but you have to drink it out of a shitty mug you stole from a college dorm. Theres a lot of beauty in this book while it can be savage (this is better than the three buck chuck from Trader Joes drunk out of grandmas fancy crystal which was my other option)
Rating: 4.5/5 Shots