The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?
It’s hard to overstate how much I enjoyed City of Stairs: it was my favorite book of 2014, after all. So as you can imagine, I was incredibly excited to get approval for the DRC of the book. And sadly, perhaps because of the change in protagonist, this book doesn’t quite live up to the original.
City of Blades is an indirect sequel: set in the same world and after the events of City of Stairs but with a different protagonist. For me, this is the biggest problem with the book. On paper, there’s a lot to like about Mulaghesh: she’s former military, bitter, and in the throws of an ongoing binge.I can’t think of another female character I’ve ever read about that’s quite like her.
But she’s no Shara.
I feel like she’s an example of a character that makes a good side character, but can’t necessarily carry a story herself as I never quite got invested her in the same way that I did Shara. And ultimately, that is a problem because until the book kicked into the high gear in the final quarter or so, the book dragged for me. Even the addition of Sigrud didn’t quite alleviate the issue – again, that chemistry that the character had with Shara just wasn’t there. There’s a bit of a sense of trying to recreate the magic as it were, but it didn’t quite get there.
Don’t get me wrong. Its still a very good book and I still recommend it, it just may be a touch of a let down if you loved the first as much as I.
Verdict: Borrow It
Available: January 2016