Review: “City of Blades,” Robert Jackson Bennett

Pros: Made me cry; fantastic characters; love the view of the Divine
Rating: 5 out of 5

City of Blades is book two in Robert Jackson Bennett’s Divine Cities series. I have not read City of Stairs (one of the perils of taking books for review), but at least I can reassure you that the book is entirely readable on its own. I did not feel lost.

In City of Blades, General Turyin Mulaghesh is recalled to duty. Ostensibly she’s being toured around a few places for show in order to finish up her time required to get her full benefits. Unofficially, she has a mission. A woman sent to look into happenings in Voortyashtan has vanished, and Mulaghesh must find out what happened to her. In order to do that, Turyin will have to use every trick in her book and then some–after all, it seems that one of the Divinities that were slain may still have a toehold in the real, living world. A new ore found in Voortyashtan has exciting and powerful electrical properties, but all test results insist it isn’t Divine in nature.


The characters in Bennett’s book are absolutely amazing. They have such depth, personality, and life to them! It’s easy to see how the characters change over time and how their past, position, and beliefs shape the world around them. The lengths people go to in order to get what they want–or what they believe should be–are examined in detail. There’s so much going on in this book and yet I never felt lost or confused.

The tech level in this world is interesting–telegraphs, simple guns, cannons, construction cranes, trucks. No digital age stuff. The choice worked for me; the world felt as though it made sense as a whole.

The pacing felt perfect. There are quiet times, roiling battles, last-moment saves, and too-late fixes. People die whether you’d consider them good or bad–this is a tale of shades of gray and slippery slopes. Some people won’t like the fact that the story is told in the present tense, but in this case it works–it adds to the immediacy of what’a happening.

I don’t want to get into much more because there’s so much worth finding out on your own. Suffice it to say that this story brought me to tears and hooked me from start to finish.


NOTE: Book provided free for review by publisher.
Expected publication date: January 26, 2016

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