City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books (Crown)
Received: Blogging for Books
Format: Finished Paperback
Description: A densely atmospheric and intrigue-filled fantasy novel of living spies, dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, ever-changing city-from one of America’s most acclaimed young SF writers.
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.
Review: Sometimes DNF doesn’t mean I hated a book. Sometimes it just means I’m not in the right state of mind for a book or that I’ve hit a slump right in the middle of one. That’s what has happened here. City of Stairs is a heavily detailed but slow read, something I’m really not in the mood for. The same thing happened when I was reading one of the Song of Ice and Fire books, when I eventually went back and finished it I loved it. But right now I can’t do it.
I love the world building and the detail in this book and the idea of dead gods. I love the different kinds of people: those who want to remain in the old way and those who want progress. Isn’t that the debate of every real culture? I also really want to know what this thing in our MC’s past that everyone keeps referencing is about? Why is she stuck on The Continent? Who is this bodyguard she keeps with her? And what happened to this historian guy, what did he get himself into? These are all questions I want answered, but not right now. I don’t have time to flounder around in a book while other review books pile up.
So this DNF is temporary, I will come back and finish this book when I’m in the mood for something with a slow build. Until then City of Stairs will go hang out with its buddies on the shelf. Until we meet again…
Have you read City of Stairs? Share your thoughts in the comments.