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City of Stairs (The Divine Cities) by Robert…

City of Stairs (The Divine Cities)

by Robert Jackson Bennett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Divine Cities (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9279813,734 (4.19)119
Recently added bybitter_suite, 2018_books, KJRoeth, craigolas, evilTak, nicholthecat, private library, Vulco1, morchi
  1. 40
    Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone (reconditereader)
  2. 10
    The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (calmclam)
    calmclam: Similar themes of empire and colonialism as well as wars against/between the gods.
  3. 10
    The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin (jain)
  4. 10
    The City & The City by China Miéville (Euryale)
  5. 10
    The Scar by China Miéville (davisfamily)
    davisfamily: A mystery within a unique setting. Interesting mix of Religion and Politics.
  6. 00
    The Etched City by K. J. Bishop (Euryale)
    Euryale: Another immersive, secondary-world urban setting.

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» See also 119 mentions

English (96)  Dutch (2)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Yeah, this was pretty great. I loved the worldbuilding, the characters, and pretty much had a great time reading it. Can't wait for the next book. ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
This is a high 4-stars for me (like 4.3), due to its inventiveness, characters, pace, plotting, and some very good writing. (I got it from the library, and immediately whooshed out and bought it and the next one in paperback).

I don't think the back cover blurb does it justice--it doesn't convey how zesty this book is. It's filled with zest! It's not a dull dry action piece, it's more like A Suitable Boy meets The Lies of Locke Lamora with a bit of Thraxas thrown in. Smart, engaging, different. ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
An interesting fantasy with a lot of commentary on the nature of the divine. It’s also more modern than the usual cod-medieval fantasy; I would describe it as more of a colonial-era setting, possibly as late as early 20th C technology. I liked it a lot; it starts as a murder mystery in an occupied city and morphs into an investigation into divinity.

The Continent was the home of 6 gods, who shared a capital city. They had various colonies, including the island of Shaypur, who did not share in the blessings of the gods. About 70 years ago, a revolt by Shaypur overthrew the Continentals, and taking the fight to the Continent, they assassinated 4 of the gods. Occupying the Continent, all mention of the Divine is forbidden and worship is banned. This includes Continental history. A Shaypuri academic has come to the capital to study Continental history and is murdered.

A Shaypuri diplomat investigates and finds herself considering the nature of the divine - especially as she is the granddaughter of the killer of the gods. It’s an interesting philosophical point - how much is human nature influenced by the divine - and vice versa?

  Maddz | Aug 24, 2018 |

I thoroughly enjoyed it, a great bit of political and emotional world-building, with special ops and ancient magic mingling in a dark and uncontrollable combination. ( )
  nwhyte | Aug 23, 2018 |
This book reminded me of Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, particularly Ruin of Angels. It's a world of dead gods, colonialism and conquest, and cities caught between past and future. Those parts of the story are good and compelling.

Unfortunately the world doesn't have the nuance and depth that I found in the Craft Sequence. The cultures/locations are too directly modeled after real world ones. The portrayal of religion, especially Kolkan, feels like heavy-handed messaging about conservative religions. The characters vary considerably in detail/nuance, with some feeling like they're little more than tropes filling a role.

The story wraps up well for the first book in series, but unfortunately that combined with the other flaws doesn't leave me wanting to read the next one. ( )
  teknognome | Aug 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Jackson Bennettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brand, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dong, LaurenDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weber, SamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Ashlee, who helps me believe in a better tomorrow
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"I believe the question, then," says Vasily Yaroslav, "is one of intent."
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Book description
You've got to be careful when you're chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all worship of them banned by the Polis, reality folded; now stairs lead to nowhere, alleyways have become portals to the past, and criminals disappear into thin air.

The murder of Dr Efrem Pangyui, the Polis diplomat researching the Continent's past, has begun something and now whispers of an uprising flutter out from invisible corners. Only one woman may be willing to pursue the truth - but it is likely to cost her everything.
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"The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions--until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself--first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it--stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy. Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country's most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem--and that Bulikov's cruel reign may not yet be over."-- From back cover.… (more)

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