- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 16 hours and 23 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: December 2, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00GY8DD56
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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City of Bones Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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To me, sci-fan is pragmatic fantasy in which the real and the unreal blend seamlessly to create impossible worlds that we nevertheless accept as possible. Dune, by Frank Herbert is probably the best known example of sci-fan, closely followed by Tad Williams' Otherland. And then there's Robin Hobb's Farseer saga. It's more fantasy than science, and yet the life-cycle of the dragons is no more unbelievable than the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies.
Well now I have a new sci-fan author to add to my pantheon - Martha Wells.
In The City of Bones, Wells tells the story of a young Krismen called Khat. He's part of a species that was biologically engineered to survive in the Wastes after the land burned and the seas boiled away. But there are human survivors of the destruction as well, and the two species exist in an uneasy alliance against the deadly creatures of the Wastes.
Khat lives in Charisat, a human city, making a precarious living as a relic trader. Relic traders are like a combination of archeologist/palentologist/anthropologist, with a bit of a conman/thief added in, and relics are fragments from the lost world of the Ancients.
That would have been more than enough to grab my attention, but Wells weaves in history, politics, conspiracy, intrigue and a bit of classic who-dunnit to make the story an absolute page-turner. I loved it.
If you like sci-fan too then I strongly recommend The City of Bones.
This book is a refreshing change of pace. It creates a very intriguing, post-Apocalyptic world where life is harsh unless you are one of the privileged few. Within that world, there are some very interesting characters, some from a privileged background and the main characters from the lower segments of society - Khat belongs to a mutant/engineered race called Kris, who arent even accepted as having souls, by most of society. So from a worldbuilding point of view, this creates a really, really fresh background for the story.
The story itself is told quite differently as well - unlike a "omg, we must do X, Y, Z or the Dark Lord will take over the world" type of quest, the characters - and the reader - muddle along without knowing what's at stake: that is only revealed towards the end. The scale of this story is much smaller than "save the world"... it is Khat's struggle to save himself from whatever machinations he's gotten into. So yeah, in that context, the grand denouement isnt as taut or climactic as in other stories, but i dont see that as a fault: that is very much in keeping with the scale of the book.
And yes, between the original world setting and an equally original story that flows with ease and ample development, this is a book that was very hard to put down. I was hooked by page 3.
I rarely give books 5-stars but this is definitely a 5-star read for fantasy buffs, IMO.
Much like Wheel of the Infinite, this is a second-world story with a super-interesting protagonist.
In a world that has been nearly-destroyed, the survivors cluster in cities separated by vast swathes of Waste. Only those foolhardy or bred to it venture out into it, and even then at great peril.
We follow two men who deal in the relics of the lost civilization before them, in a sort of grey market. There are palace politics, magic for good and ill, soothsayers, oracles, and ghosts. There are males and females who are not at all attracted to each other, and some who are.
This is one of those books where you wake up the next day looking forward to reading more of it, and you are bitterly disappointed when you realize it's over.
Read if: you like a post-apocalyptic city story. You appreciate the wisdom of the ancients.
Skip if: you don't like slightly dire post-apocalyptic stories.