- Series: The Divine Cities (Book 3)
- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books (May 2, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553419730
- ISBN-13: 978-0553419733
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 123 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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City of Miracles (The Divine Cities) Paperback – May 2, 2017
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Praise for City of Blades:
“Does City of Blades live up to the Locus, World Fantasy, British Fantasy and GoodReads Choice Award nominated City of Stairs? Allow me to answer with an emphatic yes. Bennett is one of the most talented authors writing in SFF today and this is his finest work to date.”
“Just as powerful as the first, and even stronger in significant ways…among the best novels of 2016.”
“Does everything a really good sequel should…if anything, it’s a better book than its predecessor.”
“Not only recaptures the flame of the first book, but also maybe burns a little brighter.”
About the Author
ROBERT JACKSON BENNETT was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but grew up in Katy, Texas. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and, like a lot of its alumni, was unable to leave the charms of the city. He resides there currently with his wife and children.
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1) It finishes the trilogy without pulling punches
2) It dives even deeper into the entire ecosystem of the Divine
3) It gives us the freaking AMAZING POV of Sigrud je Harkvaldsson
This book has so many things: bigger-than-life characters, humor, violence, politics, theology, philosophy, love, loss, worldbuilding and plot points so sharp you could cut diamonds with them.
It was a damn delight to read. And I wanted to curl up in a ball and weep at times.
I wish Bennett a long life filled with just enough chaos to keep him writing.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of the first two books in the Divine Cities series, City of Stairs, and City of Blades. While all of the books in the series are stand-alone, and can be read separately, wrapping up their own plots in a way that is satisfying and feels complete, they also definitely gain something by being read in sequence, City of Miracles more so than City of Blades. So while you certainly can read the book without picking up the prequels, I would definitely recommend checking them out first — and they’re both awesome.
Both of the previous books are largely action/adventure novels with a large mystery plot, and much of City of Miracles follows the same formulas. However, it’s also a much deeper book. It explores a themes of power, love, family, purpose, and godhood, and had a much more intense emotional impact on me than either of the previous books in the series. I’m not ashamed to admit that I finished the book and had to wipe away a few tears. It was beautiful.
If you’ve read the previous two books (and if you haven’t, why haven’t you?) then you know who Sigrud is. The good news is, as the first book was Shara’s, and the second was Mulaghesh’s, this book is Sigrud’s book. The bad news is that it’s the last book in the series, so we won’t be getting any more.
But whatever. WE GET A WHOLE BOOK OF SIGRUD. I legitimately squeaked in happiness when I found out that this would be his book, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting it ever since. Sigrud is the same awesome character you know and love, and getting the entire story from his viewpoint is mostly a stream of awesome. It’s also an opportunity to dive deeper into who he his, and why, and there were plenty of character revelations about his past that I did not predict, but loved.
In addition to Sigrud, we follow Tatanya and Ivanya, two new characters. Both are incredibly well fleshed out and have very intriguing backstories and journeys throughout the novel, and I loved meeting and getting to know both of them. Bennet has continued his tradition of strong female characters who aren’t just your typical ‘badass woman’, but instead are competent at what they do, important, and feel incredibly real. Like, you know, all characters should.
The plot itself is bigger and grander than either previous novel, if that’s possible. I don’t want to spoil any of it, so I’ll simply say that if you want overwhelming adventure, amazing power, and the potential end of the world thrown in for good measure, you’ll find all of it here, in abundance.
I know I’m flailing a bit here, but that’s just because the book was so good. I can’t even describe it all at once. It’s an action adventure mystery love story world-ending character study of doom and awesome and I’m sure I’ve left out a few subplots. Seriously, if you liked the first two books in the series, at all, you have to read City of Miracles. It was so so so good. Five of five stars, and my unconditional recommendation.
The world created by Mr. Bennett combines fantasy with real world. Not exactly "steam punk", but a background of a truncated industrial revolution along with magic/mythology that hearkens all major mythologies where there's a pantheon of old gods that get usurped by the new gods (children of the old gods). One of my minor complaints about other fantasies is the lack of technological innovation in worlds where thousands of years are covered, but everyone's still riding horses and shooting arrows. Even the Song of Fire and Ice series is guilty of this.
On the other hand, Mr. Bennett's world shows evolution and is grounded on/base upon the real world's history over the past 200 years. City of Stairs could be compared to the last quarter of the 19th century: steam engine trains, rudimentary high rise buildings, telegraphs. Then in the subsequent books introduction of cars, telephones, actively traded stock markets, etc. That was a nice touch.
The Magic System and Characters.
There isn't much deliberation on how the magic works. For instance, the Brandon Sanderson novels all detail elaborate systems for how the magic works. In the Divine Cities, not so much, but I'm not complaining. Instead the magic in the Divine Cities is used as plot device to move the story toward the characters and how they develop. As noted in the other reviews, each book in the trilogy focuses on one primary character's development. And character development (while not on the level of George Martin's scale -- though it's arguable that Martin goes too far overboard with that) is quite richly woven by Mr. Bennett. Each character has their flaws and the novels flesh out their situation and then you get a grander sense of how those characters connect to archetypal human conditions. City of Miracles touches on one of the most moving human condition, that of redemption.
Ending the Trilogy.
This is where I give Mr. Bennett the most praise. Yes, the protagonists win in the end, but that's not the point. The way City of Miracles ends is about, as noted above, redemption, but that cannot be achieved unless the character accepts and acknowledges their flaws and then has the strength of will to break the vicious cycle of their flaws. Sorry, this is a bit vague, but don't want to put out any spoilers about the plot. Suffice to say, I really liked the ending. And ending a novel well is the hardest thing to do. I would say City of Miracles ends as well as the ending of how the remade Battlestar Galactica series ended.
I am definitely checking out Mr. Bennett's other works, and look forward to his new ones.
This third book takes on some very fat ideas, and renders the conflicts in dramatic action sequences the reader will not forget.
Political intrigue, personal regret, haunted characters, great dialogue, and big bad supernatural battles described in a brilliant prose style that may bring tears to your eyes—if speculative and fantasy lit is your bag, this trilogy is not optional.