Favorite Friday is a bookish meme which was started a couple of weeks ago over at The Midnight Book blog. Since the prompts posed interesting questions I’ve decided to join. Today’s question is about a favorite Fantasy book.
This is so difficult – do I only get to choose a single one? In the five minutes I was thinking about this prompt I had several contenders who would have all made a great choice. (I decided not to talk about Rivers of London again, I already did that on Monday, and neither about Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, although I am sure I will talk about that at some time.
In the end I went with the Divine Cities trilogy from Robert Jackson Bennett. It is one the series I always recommend to people who want to read more (original) fantasy. However, something strange is going on. I was re-reading my review of the first book City of Stairs, as a part of writing this post and my review was rather harsh – and completely different from how I was looking back at the book several years later! This really was surprising, and I feel I must not really have been in the mood when I first read it, because I think I actually enjoyed it much more than that. Now I am in thinking – I maybe have to re-read it. But with so many unread books, I am not really in the habit of doing that. If you have any advice, please let me know.
Back to the series. It takes place in a crumbling world. The rulers have been outed from power some sixty years prior when the Gods that supported them were taken away. The new rulers are trying to make things work, but since many parts of the country relied on the magic from the Gods to properly function, all is in ruins. In this world, there might be forces who are trying to upturn it once more.
Why should you read it?
I remember this as a highly original fantasy series, which has a lot of detective/investigating going on. The magic system is unlike what I have read so far, and definitely not a simple one trick for all problems solution. Besides, the covers are awesome. So, if you haven’t already, you might want to give it a try. (The cover link to GoodReads; below I have included the blurb for the first book).
Blurb City of Stairs:
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’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a 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 — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.
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.
A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.
Have you read The Divine Cities? Should I re-read City of Stairs? What is your favorite fantasy novel you think I should read? – Please let me know in the comments!