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City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
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While I liked Sigrud in the previous two books of this trilogy, I discovered that I prefer him as a secondary character. He is the chief protagonist of this book and he is too much of a blunt instrument for me. I also didn't like the plot as much as I liked the plots of the prior books. I still liked the world the author created, I just didn't love this book like I loved the first two. "City of Stairs" was wonderful, "City of Blades" was very good. This book disappointed me. Three and a half stars rounded up to four. ( )
  fhudnell | May 20, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed the first two Divine Cities books so I was looking forward to see how City of Miracles wrapped up the story.

This series changes protagonists in every installment, and this one is narrated by ex-spy and ex-royalty Sigrud je Harkvaldsson, who was a secondary character in both the previous books. After the events of City of Blades, Sigrud has been working menial jobs and trying to stay hidden, waiting for Shara to find him somehow and give him a new assignment. When Shara is suddenly assassinated, he gains a purpose at last – finding Shara’s killer – but following that trail tumbles him into a covert war against a angry young god.

Just like the earlier two books, this one tells a self-contained story. It also wraps up the overarching plot arc of the six original Divinities in a satisfying manner. I wasn’t even sure what the overarching plot arc was, since the books seem designed to be standalones, but it was obvious by the end of the book and a lot of things from earlier made sense in retrospect.

I didn’t find Sigrud to be a particularly compelling character in the last two books so I was dreading his point of view a little bit. I should have trusted the author, though, because Sigrud from the inside is quite different from observing him through other characters’ eyes. We get to see what goes through his head when other characters only see him being silent and emotionless, and he’s much more sympathetic than I originally gave him credit for. I was similarly skeptical about the idea of Shara being dead (especially offscreen!), but the author handled that very well, too.

One of the things I love most about these books is the world – the Divinities and the way they manifest are unique and weird and wonderful. City of Miracles expands our understanding of the world and the mechanics of how the divine powers work even more, which was great. And the setting itself is interesting – a post-colonial era where everything has recently industrialized, and new engineering projects are far more likely to be brought up than magic, even though magic is more obviously present.

I feel like my enjoyment of these books kind of snuck up on me, but now I think of the series as one of the most innovative and original fantasy I’ve read. If you haven’t read this series already, I recommend starting with City of Stairs for the full impact. ( )
  kgodey | May 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
City of Miracles is the closing volume in Bennett's Divine Cities trilogy, this time focusing on Dreyling prince turned criminal and spy Sigrud je Harkvaldsson. Following events at the end City of Blades, Sigrud has spent years living in exile, drifting through odd jobs and waiting for his friend Shara Komayd to bring him back into the espionage fold. But instead, news reaches him that Shara has been assassinated, and Sigrud takes up a quest both to avenge her death and to protect her adopted daughter Tatyana from mysterious enemies. It turns out that Shara was not quite retired from her research in (and conflict with) Divine influences.

As with the previous two books, the world building remains a major strength, although this book isn't limited to a single city as a setting. The nature of the Divine beings and their miracles is expanded, and the climax is just as bombastic as in the first two installments.

I think this was my least favorite of the trilogy, if only because I found Shara and Turyin Mulaghesh to be more compelling protagonists than Sigrud, who is a bit one-note. (Both play small roles in this book; posthumously, in Shara's case, though of course she didn't go down without setting backup plans into motion.) That said, it is nice to get a more nuanced look at Sigrud's character: He's in no way stupid, and his single-minded, brutal killer shtick becomes important to the story as he develops beyond it. In fact, several common revenge story tropes get twisted or undercut to good effect here. Still, this story didn't feel like it flowed as naturally from the second book as that one did from the first. Overall, though, this was an enjoyable finish to a great fantasy series. ( )
  Euryale | May 15, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
City of Miracles is easily my favorite of Robert Jackson Bennett's Divine Cities trilogy, and that's saying a lot. At the center of the action is Sigrud je Harkvaldsson, once the operative of the woman who became Prime Minister after the last of the gods but one were killed. However, the gods' children are still active, and while they do not have their parents' power, they are able to influence society for good or ill.
What a bland attempt to describe a vital book! Sigrud is a man without hope, who continues to fight with purpose. His skill as a fighter makes for one of the most suspenseful action sequences I've ever read. The plotting is complex and satisfying. The characters have depth. The ending is a real ending.
My only quibble, and it bothered me enough to mention it, is Bennett's choice of "they/their/them' as a singular pronoun (one person appears and then they do something). It's trendy, but I've never read anybody else who made such a point of it. I'm old. I don't like it. I do like this book though, and I thank Early Reviewers for my opportunity to read it now. ( )
2 vote LizzieD | May 11, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
No, that's okay. I didn't need my heart. You can just trample on it. *still crying*

Oh god, this was a masterful book. It tied together the series beautifully, even if my favorite characters are gone. I didn't need my heart, really. Here, you can have it.

He writes so well and everything fits together so neatly. And argh...I didn't want the book to end and now the series is over.

And I'm still crying. ( )
  liveshipvivacia | May 9, 2017 |
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To Harvey:
Hello, baby. Welcome to Earth. This place is pretty swell, and I recommend you stick around for awhile. You never know, it might get even better: Maybe. We're trying, at least. We're trying.
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The young man is first disdainful, then grudgingly polite as Rahul Khadse approaches and asks him for a cigarette.
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