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10 thoughts on “City of Stairs

  1. Rick Riordan Rick Riordan says:

    Adult fantasyA highly original story involving gods resurrected in a modern world – how could I not be drawn to this? Set in an early industrial world where the two major nations are Bulikov modeled loosely on Russia and Saypur modeled loosely on India this story starts as a murder mystery and develops into a high fantasy of world changing magic Centuries ago Bulikov had a pantheon of active gods who led their mortal worshippers to victory and made them the dominant world power through magic Then somehow the leader of Saypur found a way to kill gods Supposedly all the gods either died or disappeared and soon Saypur was the dominant world power using science and technology to conuer Since then Bulikov has been reduced to a backwaterThe main character Shara Thivani arrives in Bulikov to solve the murder of her former mentor but soon learns there are strange things going on It’s possible the gods are not dead after all And if the gods come back it might threaten Saypur’s power and plunge the world into another civil warThe world building is great the action is awesome and I loved the clash of cultures and belief systems Definitely recommended for fantasy fans

  2. Felicia Felicia says:

    My favorite books transcend genre This one was particularly compelling in that it mixes fantasy with an alt world of cold Lenin era ambiance The premise is that gods once actually walked the earth but then man killed them all The story of the book follows the conseuences of this action This is a great meaty fantasy and I highly recommend it for the world building and fantastic characters including a kick ass female lead One of my faves of 2016

  3. carol. carol. says:

    Read thisI almost didn't wary of the disappointment an over hyped book can bring But once I started it was very hard to put down sorry fellow jurors for ignoring your social overtures during our breaks Picked as a monthly read I started right before being called for federal jury trial At first I was glad of the opportunity to get in some reading time nothing better than sitting around reading as the gears of bureaucracy grind away but imagine my dismay when I was picked Suddenly my reading time dissipated like smoke Still a lunch hour here a judge's meeting there and I was able to make serious progress until I got far enough in the book and the trial that I sacrificed sleep for resolutionA very uick synopsis but don't let it fool you The complexity of the story is built well and is by no means a dizzying array of foreign place names and conceptsThe city of Bulikov has been conuered by the Saypur people its powerful divinities killed or missing and the history of its religion erased Much like Greek and Indian gods the Divinities of Bulikov were very present in their followers' lives Now however it has become taboo to worship to even speak of the gods or to acknowledge the daily miracles they created for their followers Shara is a covert operative who has come to Bulikov intending to discover why scholar Efrem Pangyui who was researching various miracles and mysteries of the gods has been murdered In disguise as a new ambassador she brings her faithful protector Sigrud with her Shara's Aunt Vinya is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and gives Shara one week to solve the murder before she needs to leave Bulikov for the next mission As Shara investigates not only does she have to confront the possibility that Restorationists in Bulikov are trying to overthrow the Saypur she has to confront her own pastCharacterization is wonderful The characters are complex conflicted with multiple motivations and loyalties Even a brief interrogation of an elderly female maid had nuance uestions are gradually built about Sigrud at first a seemingly typical silent bodyguard character until the reader is as curious about his history as Shara's It is also delightful to find an author who uses language well enough to imbue physical description with hints of the spirit The first time we meet Ambassador Shara Thivani the assistant sent to meet her notesPitry finds there is something off about her eyes The giant's gaze was incredibly lifelessly still but this woman's eyes are the precise opposite huge and soft and dark like deep wells with many fish swimming in themThe woman smiles The smile is neither pleasant nor unpleasant it is a smile like fine silver plate used for one occasion and polished and put away once finishedThe setting is primarily focused on the city of Bulikov and receives eually lavish descriptionThe house of Votrov is one of the most modern homes in all of Bulikov but you could never tell by looking at it it is a massive bulky suat affair of dark gray stone and fragile buttresses To Shara who grew up seeing the slender simplistic wood structures of the Saypur it is a primitive savage thing not resembling a domicile as much as a malformed auatic polypLike life such a serious tale of conuered and conueror is leavened with humor Much is cynical based on Shara's sardonic nature and a friend's irreverent one'She gives him a taut bitter grin 'And you're still so smugly blithely ignorant''Is it ignorance if you don't care to know it?''Yes That is almost the definition of ignorance actually'What builds depth for me is Shara's curiosity about the divinities and their cultural effects as well as my growing realization that no one here has the moral high ground The Saypuri were the slaves of the Continentals until they rose up and a hero killed one of the Continental gods Now the Saypuri keep the Continentals on a tight leash hoping to prevent the return of their oppressorsWhile no Saypuri can go a day without thinking of how their ancestors lived in abysmal slavery neither can they go an hour without wondering why Why were they denied a god? What was the Continent blessed with protectors with power with tools and privileges that were never extended to Saypur? How could such a tremendous ineuality be allowed? And while Saypuris may seem to the world to be a small curious people of education and wealth anyone who spends any time in Saypur soon comes to understand that in their hearts lives a cold rage that lends them a cruelty one would never expect They call us godless Saypuris occasionally say to one another as if we had a choiceSomething about this reminds me of Guy Gavriel Kay in its finely balanced blend between personal and political the past and present and love and family all woven through with the miraculous and colored with lyrical languageI'll be adding it to my library and looking for from Bennett

  4. Petrik Petrik says:

    455 starsA truly wonderful start to a trilogy and also one of the most original world building I’ve ever had the chance to experience in a novelCity of Stairs is the first book in the Divine Cities trilogy written by Robert Jackson Bennett and let me tell you guys something this is one of those series that has been sitting in my TBR pile for way too long; since March 2017 Not only that I’m ashamed to admit that it was also one of those series that I have considered removing from my TBR due to diminishing interest caused by the TBR mountain of oppression I’m so damn pleased I didn’t better late than never because this book was really great and a uniue experience in a genre that’s filled with the medieval setting; I don’t mind medieval but it’s awesome to read a fantasy book with different flavors tooEven though I’m calling this book a high fantasy I actually have no idea what’s the real proper genre to categorize this book The story is a murder mystery in taking place in a high fantasy world that also has some elements of sci fi but I do know that this is a great book; it even almost made it to my “favorites” shelvesThe plot in City of Stairs began with a murder Our main character and her secretarybodyguard—Shara and Sigrud—are in charge of catching who the killer is This of course eventually become complex as the story progressed and what first started as a simple murder mystery story ended up becoming something so much bigger and dangerous in scale and tension The story itself is a slow burn full of compelling politic and thought provoking religious discussion To be honest it took some time for me to get comfortable with the story and setting of the book—around 25% give or take— and this is actually the only minor issue I have on the book But believe me don’t let the beginning put you off it’s a book worth continuing because it’s a book that keeps on getting better as it progressed and in my opinion the world building alone was truly enough to make this book a must read for any SFF fans “Life is full of beautiful dangers dangerous beauties They wound us in ways we cannot see an injury ripples out like a stone dropped in water touching moments years into the future” Most of the story took place in the city of Bulikov a Russian inspired city that used to prosper because of the miracles and powers provided by the Divinity the gods in this world However these divine protectors were killed and it ends up leaving the city of Bulikov a mere shadow of its former supremacy There’s also Saypur another city in the book and this one is inspired by India These two inspiration for the setting alone are something incredibly rare in the fantasy genre at least that’s how it is for me But what makes the world building super good was how phenomenal intricate and original it was The integration of the lore history religions culture mythologies and divinities into every single thing in the book was magnificent The world building was divine in uality and the literal sense of the word “The Divine may have created many hells he says but I think they pale beside what men create for themselves” As always characters remain the most important aspect and I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed reading these character’s tales There are three dominant protagonist that drives the story Shara Sigrud and Mugalesh In my opinion Robert Jackson Bennett is what you call an efficient writer For example Bennett didn’t spend a lot of time on character’s contemplation Let’s take Sigrud even though he’s a side character and didn’t talk that much he actually ended up becoming my favorite character from the book This is because Bennett relied mostly on characters’ dialogues and actions to flesh out their charactersPicture Sigrud Je Harkvaldsson by Chanh uachOverall City of Stairs was truly a captivating and divine start to a trilogy Reading a book like this in the genre was like inhaling a breath of fresh air For those of you who are looking for an original SFF book that contains a great plot characterization prose and most of all phenomenal world building then I urge you to give this book a try because in my opinion City of Stairs is one of the best start to a trilogy I've ever read and it was truly worth the climb “history as you may know is much like a spiral staircase that gives the illusion of going up but never uite goes anywhere” You can find this and the rest of my Adult EpicHigh Fantasy Sci Fi reviews at BookNest

  5. ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) says:

    Previous rating 20 stars New rating 22 stars Because why the shrimp not➽ And the moral of this rereread is this book This Bloody Fishing Book BFB™ It is Slightly Extremely Good SEG™ and stuff➽ And the other moral of this rereread is Colonel Turyin Mulaghesh I want to be you when I grow up Now let's dance and stuffPS Sigrud YUM just so you know · Book 2 City of Blades ★★★★★· Book 3 City of Miracles ★★★★★March 2017· Aww Yeah We Are So Doing this Again Buddy Reread AYWASDtABR™ with some People of Stupendelicious Good Taste PoSGT™ over at BBB ·Previous rating 8 10 stars I obviously read the book VERY wrong the first time around New rating 20 stars Now that's like it➽ And the moralsssssss of this reread are ① This book is so Bloody Shrimping Scrumptious BSS™ I might die Or worse I might cry shudders ② Bloody shrimping hell I feel like I've been sucker punched Which is slightly orgasmic③ This book features some of the bloody shrimping mostest awesomest final chapters in the history of bloody shrimping mostest awesomest final chapters ED and stuff④ Anyone who hasn't yet read this bloody shrimping book should die a slow painful somewhat excruciating death be kicked out of Goodreads And then fed to the crustaceansPS Shara Mulaghesh Sigrud poof Gone Harem MINE MINE MINEOriginal review January 2016● Mostest Interestingest and Thought Provoking Buddy Read Ever MIaTPBRE™ with my dear wives Choko and Maria ●★ Actual rating 8 10 stars I kid you not ★» Okay I was going to write an ever rambling fangirl unleashing review for this book But I can't Because it's so bloody brilliant not the unborn review the book you silly eyeroll that speechless is me Well or less As speechless as I can get anyway Which is not very speechless But hey you never know you might get lucky one of these days Don't abandon hope all ye who blah blah blah But I digress» So City of Stairs has been sitting on my Kindle for two years What does that tell you about me? That I'm a complete total utter idiot that's what Then again the blurb being what it is it's nothing short of a miracle that I ever considered picking this book up The thing screams pretentious overly descriptive contents inside But I am not afraid and always up for a challenge so I told my little self be bold Be brave You survived Dukes and Mermen and babies oh my You can definitely survive a silly fantasy book about Gods and geopolitics Besides you managed to finish The Eye of the World and therefore became invincible You can do this Sarah Nefarious is you ← self pep talk ends here Which loosely translates to bring on the Murderous Crustaceans I can totally do thisI know I know I said that this book had left me speechless Guess what? I lied Moving on» Now tell me something how often do you come across a truly original uniue world? A world that is complex but so well crafted that even Crappy Historical Romance readers view spoilerI love you too hide spoiler

  6. Bradley Bradley says:

    As a novel of ideas the novel is absolutely rich and fantastic But when it comes to the writing I had to complain a bit about the choice of tropes I'm wasn't certain that a mystery was the absolute best medium to propel the main tale but when the book is said and done I can't fault how it was wrapped up Everything made perfect sense I found that I was caught up in my own prejudices even as I was reading it and the journey had changed me in the end which is strange enough because we're not talking about great human uirks that plague us It was just the fact that I was reading a truly superior fantasy that thought it was a murder mystery It turned out to be a sneaky novel that paraded about like a police procedural in the beginning but wind up being a god slaying action adventure and political coup What the hell? Seriously I was pretty ambivalent during most of the first third of the novel I really enjoyed the brilliant worldbuilding but the operative angle and murder mystery was just okay If it's intent was to slow me down and take the view it did but I didn't need it I was already completely hooked by the worldAnd then something happened At first it was Sigurd And then it was Shara and the conspiracy the hints of killed gods coming back One thing anyone ought to know before reading this book is that it has a really fantastic magic system As a mystery and eventually a political novel it turns out pretty awesome but as an epic fantasy that masuerades as a modern land of industry after the assassination of all the gods that could bend reality to their will the novel's pretty freaking fantastic The fantasy compels and twists and delightsWhen the action starts it ranks up there as a heroic legend full of all the classic signatures outperforming so many of my own favorite fantasy classics that I actually put the book down to cheer for a whileThe two main characters made this novel shine heavy mashups of tons of tropes and yet it wasn't a mess I felt their personalities eventually blow across the pages like a stormSigurd was a ueeueg He was an unkillable tortured hero pirate and sidekick and lost prince and a godkillerShara was the transforming naive government functionary detective historian setting reluctant foot into national politics and fighting injustice while also happening to be a god killing great granddaughter of a tortured godkiller that brought about the technological supremacy of Saypur so many years agoTruly I loved how complicated these two were Their mashups were delightfulBut the uestion is How does anyone transform such humble mystery beginnings into a nearly hopeless epic battle against truly reality warping gods?I'm at a loss to explain It's that good Read it for yourself to experience the journey ;Mr Bennett has successfully built a set of stairs into the sky one step at a time but unlike Bulikov these stairs actually GO somewhere BravoSeriously I am looking forward to the next in the series with something approaching insanity

  7. Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ says:

    Actual Review 45 Stars City of Stairs is at its heart a murder mystery with a hull of geopolitical strife fueled by a peculiar magic that isn't totally understood even by the story's main characters The perfect recipe for a story that had me up past my bed time many nights in a row Right off the bat it plunges the reader into the thick of the roiling tensions between two major nations with a complicated history Once dangerously powerful supported by miracles performed by their deities Bulikov was responsible for the abuse demoralization of many Now their gods destroyed their histories revoked Bulikov has been reduced to a shadow of its former splendorSaypur persecuted for years by Bulikov and now its rulers sends Shara Thivani as an ambassador to the capital with an undercover mission to solve the murder of a Saypuri doctor who served as her mentorShara is undoubtedly a star in this book Strong willed vastly intelligent with a noticeable disability she captured my interest from the moment she was introducedShara is surrounded by a in intriguing group of characters prominently featuring a huge terrifying man from the North Sigrud and the eually terrifying retired General MulageshOne of my favorite aspects of this book is that it's High Fantasy that is not inspired by Medieval Europe I've seen others designate that Bulikov is loosely based on Russia and Saypur is loosely based on IndiaIt's so refreshing to find a Fantasy with a setting as vibrant complex as this I can see where some may have felt detached from the details here but those details were crafted so skillfully that I never once found myself losing interestAuthor Robert Jackson Bennett expertly balances the current mystery plot with a number of flashbacks that help to flesh out explain both the characters their inclinations Personally I've got this thing for stories that heavily revolve around politics religion especially when there are magical threads to consider I love taking the journey through all the complicated motivations that have led the involved parties to their current situation and this book is rife with the exploration of motivesWhen a writer can show me only a small sliver of their world but simultaneously convey that there is an expansive existence beyond the immediate scope of the story that uickly grabs my attention The division of loyalties obligations to one's religion and the discovery of self confidence are some of the major themes that weave together throughout this tale In combination with exceptional magical ualities a dynamic cast of characters this book is by far one the most distinctive I've ever readI will say the resolution of the plot within the larger plot was just slightly shaky for me with how it came about But because the situations Bennett has created are so complex with many different moving pieces to consider I'm willing to wait allow my understanding fully develop before I let it bother meWould recommend to anyone looking for a fresh bizarre beautifully crafted story that's way outside of the box This review and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest

  8. Brent Weeks Brent Weeks says:

    The following is a blog post about blurbing City of Stairs than specifically a review But it's mostly pertinent so I thought it would fit hereA few months ago I teased about a book I’d read that I loved but I didn’t tell you what it was Partly because I didn’t want to scoop the author’s own marketing efforts and partly because hey I believe in obnoxiously enjoying small perks to the hilt But here’s what I was enjoyingRobert Jackson Bennett is one of those uirky bright writers whose uirky brightness will serve him in the long run but has seemed to handicap him in the short term There’s a gap to bridge between even a great book and that book finding the right readers In my opinion Robert’s books have been hard to shelve because they straddle genres He’s drawn comparisons to voices as diverse as Ray Bradbury Stephen King and Madeleine L’Engle and has gotten good mentions from people as widely dispersed in the genre as Jim C Hines Jeff Vandermeer Nisi Shawl andme His debut novel Mr Shivers certainly wasn’t my normal favored milieu but I really enjoyed the book despite a setting I uite frankly usually avoid A uirk of mine nothing And I could tell immediately that Mr Bennett was going to grow That’s the thing about smart writers—they learn they adapt they get betterI’m proud to say that I was right I love being right With City of Stairs I think that RJB has done something really impressive fans of his early work will see plenty of what they have come to love about Robert’s work but new readers looking for an exciting kick ass story in a deep setting will enjoy this book too Readers love great books but people fall in love with great characters and in City of Stairs Robert Jackson Bennett introduces one in a way that is clever graceful and over the top all at once Sigrud is a side character but he’s a GREAT side characterRobert don’t fk up SigrudOther people have nice things to say about City of Stairs and I’m sure many are to come In the interest of being pithy and hitting different points than others had I said this“Robert Bennett Jackson deserves a huge audience This is the book that will earn it for him A story that draws you in brilliant world building and oh my God Sigrud You guys are going to love Sigrud” Brent WeeksAs you may know Robert has opted for an eccentric online persona so in that spirit I also sent them the following blurb but I don’t think it’ll make it onto a cover“Please don’t read this book I am jealous of the success of others and would not like Robert Jackson Bennett to enjoy the hordes of fans he deserves” Brent Weeks

  9. Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ says:

    ► What a cruel marvelous surprising little thingSTEP 1 Be intrigued by this complex original and fascinating world building whose layers still hide so many gems I'm sure of it STEP 2 Let the stupefaction stun you when you discover how all the threads are carefully weaved bringing together Well politics opression a murder mystery religion tolerance identity fanaticism racism and the ever controversial uestion of the Greater Good whose relevance is never a sure thing for whom decided by whom see etc etc etc And you are not even bored if you are let it be known that I don't do refunds STEP 3 Be so fucking surprised that all this religious talk is not driving you nuts okay this one might be only for me actually not that surprised I'm interested in religion as in history and culture I am not interested in being preached to Guess what path the story took STEP 4 Be amazed and a little in love with these FEMALE LEADS who put to shame every traditional Fantasy story which let us think that women are either ueens or whores tell me I'm wrong Strong female leads can also be smart and fierce and driven and not the regular warrior either Thank you Shara for showing us that we can be badass with our brain I love you too MulagheshSTEP 5 Do not be fooled by thinking that these characters will be perfect or chosen or you know heroes Yet they're not anti heroes either indeed all of them show their realism through the slow reveal of their flaws You just waitSTEP 6 Go meet Vo because you need to also I said so view spoilerannnnd I need someone to cry with me OKAY? hide spoiler

  10. Helen 2.0 Helen 2.0 says:

    The city knows It remembers The past is written in its bones though now the past speaks in silences This book is genius At some points the writing is so lovely I had to stop reading for a second to bask in its glory That's part of the reason why it took me so long to read the book I didn't want it to endCity of Stairs is set in an imaginative epic fantasy almost steampunk setting The Continent was once protected by mighty gods allowing them to colonize and enslave many surrounding nations In a creative twist the Kaj member of the enslaved Saypuris figures out a way to kill the gods and leads an army to bring the Continent to its knees The storyline takes place many decades later in the continental city Bulikov which has been ripped apart by the death of its gods and the ensuing Saypuri rule The main character Shara is a descendant of the Kaj sent to investigate the death of her colleague and friend in this ruined city setting So there we have the exciting set up for City of Stairs Once you get into the swing of the story things get even exciting Here are a few aspects I particularly loved1 The world building is unbelievably intricate I can't imagine how many hours Bennett spent mind mapping and listing and ruminating over every detail of the world he's created here While reading the story you get the idea that what is shown of the settings is only a small fraction of what Bennett has come up with 2 More so than the elaborate world I love the techniues that the author uses to reveal his world building His characterization and descriptions of characters often reveal as much about the world as they do about the character themselves He also uses viewpoint to convey a better understanding of the world For example main characters are often introduced not in their first POV chapter but through the eyes of another person so that readers can get an outside look at the character and what sort of insights their appearance and culture give to a bystander This is how the main character and her tall secretary are introduced as seen by a low level bureaucrat It is a small Saypuri woman dark skinned and even smaller than Pitry She is dressed rather plainly Pitry finds there is something off about her eyes The giant's gaze was incredibly lifelessly still but this woman's eyes are the precise opposite huge and soft and dark like deep wells with many fish swimming in them The woman smiles The smile is neither pleasant nor unpleasant it is a smile like fine silver plate used for one occasion and polished and put away once finished 3 Which brings me to the characters and particularly the diverse representation We have several main characters in power who are women of color one who is bi and many other diverse people walk on and off the stage This made a lot of sense given the world in which the oppressed became the powerful and I'm glad the author didn't shy away from representation As you've already seen the characterization is incredibly well done with descriptions and inner dialogue that create a very clear image of each narrator 4 As for the beautiful writing I couldn't post enough excerpts to illustrate Bennett's prowess so I hope you go check out the book yourself for The author has a talent for taking very dramatic emotions and putting them into the perfect phrase without sounding overdone Here is my favorite instance of evocative language Time renders all people and all things silent she thinks But I will speak of you of all of you for all the time I haveI will deny all accounts that I cried upon reading this so don't even think of asking about it So overall I loved the book and would recommend it to all of you It dabbles in a wide range of genres fantasy steampunk mystery even a little romance so there's something for everyone

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City of Stairs [BOOKS] ✫ City of Stairs Author Robert Jackson Bennett – Преди няколкостотин години Континентът и неговата столица Баликов завладели света с помощта на божествена м Преди няколкостотин години Континентът и неговата столица Баликов завладели света с помощта на божествена мощ поробили и потъпкали милиони и така докато боговете им не били погубени Сега Баликов е просто поредната колония на новата геополитическа сила в светаВ този изтерзан град се появява Шара Тивани Официално тя е дребен дипломат в посолството на Сейпур бивша City of PDF \ колония на Континента и негов настоящ господар Неофициално тя е сред най добрите шпиони на своята страна дошла в Баликов да залови един убиец.

  • Paperback
  • 496 pages
  • City of Stairs
  • Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Bulgarian
  • 08 May 2015
  • 9789546556073

About the Author: Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett is a two time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original and is also the recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence City of Stairs was shortlisted for the City of PDF \ Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award City of Blades was a finalist for the Wo.