City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
City of Blades takes up five years after the Battle of Bulikov which took place in City of Stairs. General Turyin Mulaghesh is being forced out of early retirement. In order to collect her full pension, Prime Minister Shara Komayd will require Mulaghesh to finish out her tenure. She is dispatched to the city of Voortyashtan to seek a missing Saypuri agent. She will be aided by General Lalith Biswal whom she served under in the Great War.
Along with the rest of the Continent at the time of the Great War, Voortyashtan was conquered by the city of Saypur. Voortyashtan was once the home of the Divinity, Voortya who was a goddess of war, death and destruction. Now the city is in shambles, but the Saypuri government has plans to rebuild it into another great port city. Construction of the harbor has been assigned to the Dreyling Company with Signe Harkvaldsson in charge. Signe is the daughter of Sigrud Harkvaldsson, one of the main characters from the first book. Signe is a brilliant, strong and independent woman not to be trifled with. Her plans are ambitious and she will let nothing stop her.
When Mulaghesh arrives she finds a lot to look into. There is the discovery of a mysterious ore that generates electricity, unrest between the native river people and hill people, hidden archaeological finds and several gruesome unsolved murders. The future of Voortya becomes extremely perilous and Mulaghesh is more and more haunted by the ghosts of her past. The horrors she faces beg many questions deep within. Where do soldiers draw the line when fighting an enemy and what does it mean to be a great soldier? Is it a soldier’s job to overcome, conquer and kill? Is it a soldier’s job to protect, teach and defend?
The story line starts out as a bit of a rehash of City of Blades. Mulaghesh goes in undercover to find out what happened to a fellow Saypuri citizen and uncovers more than meets the eye, leading her to believe that the Divinity, Voortya may be alive after all. I was a bit disappointed in this similarity at first. However, the new characters were all very strong and intriguing. I liked Mulaghesh in the first book, and we get to learn so much more about her personal history in this book. And again, there is so much complexity to these books. We get action, adventure, mystery, espionage, fantasy and even a little romance this time.
I think this was an awesome follow-up book and it also stands very well on its own. The idea that a book can still be read as a standalone without needing to know about the rest of the series is quietly disappearing. I love this world and I will be back to visit again!
I want to thank the publisher (Crown Publishing) for providing me with the ARC through Blogging for Books and Netgalley for an honest review.