BooksOfTheMoon

City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2)

By Robert Jackson Bennett

Rating: 4 stars

General Turyin Mulaghesh resigned her commission in anger to live out her days, looking for a peace she may never find. But her country still has need of her, so by fair means and foul, Prime Minister Shara Komyad (hero of the previous book, City of Stairs) enlists her to a secret mission to the city of Voortyastan, former home of the divinity of war and death.

This is a book in which war and soldiers loom large. There is obviously Voortya herself, the goddess of war, and General Mulaghesh, hero of the Battle of Bulikov, and with dark rumours to her name. But there’s also General Biswal and the different ideas of what being a soldier means to these old friends. It’s no secret that I’m an old leftie, who often looks on in horror at the acts of the military, carried out in my name. Mulaghesh sees being a soldier in a different light: she sees it as a chance to serve, to do what is required and nothing more, while Biswal sees it as a grand endeavour, worthy of praise and lauding. The tension between these two world views is what drives the book.

There’s as much cool history and mythology as in the previous book, this time focused on Voortya, and I especially loved the idea of the strength of the contract between the gods and their people. Its’ a clever idea. Sigrud from the first books shows up again, this time as a leader of his people. He hasn’t let it make him soft, though, and he’s there for Mulaghesh to rely on when she needs him.

Mulaghesh herself is an interesting character, much more fleshed out than she was in City of Stairs. She’s haunted by her past and has spent most of her career trying to make up for what she did during the war against the Continent; and meditating on the meaning of war and what soldiering is about; and trying to protect those under her command.

It’s not nearly as chin-stroking and head-nodding as I’ve been making out, though. It’s also a fast-paced adventure with some great action sequences. Very much a worthy sequel, with some real depth of character.

Book details

ISBN: 9781848669598
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Year of publication: 2017

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