City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was blown away by City of Stairs, a fantasy story that had a ton of things that were just right up my alley. So I was very excited for the sequel, and, while it's a great read on its own, it's very different than its predecessor and isn't quite as solid.
The story follows a retired general who, due to administrative error, has to go back into service and find a missing agent, but things in the city are catching up with her rather quickly, and the tale quickly becomes one of dealing with one's past.
I think what I loved about Stairs was the overall plot, with the character of the city being so central to the story. I never got that same feeling from Blades, and with so much of the narrative being caught up in the investigative, it truly felt like things didn't pick up until the second half of the book. This does not make it a bad read, but given how much of a hook it sets in the beginning (the opening scenes are amazing in particular) and with the precedent of the prior book, it became frustrating at times as I spent a lot of time waiting for major things to happen. Still, the writing is so good and the characterization so solid that it wasn't a slog by any means, and that means a lot for me as a reader.
On a whole, Stairs is better but this is great. I look forward to what the next installment will look like, and to see these worlds and their relationships combine.
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