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City of Miracles Audio CD – June 15, 2017
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About the Author
Robert Jackson Bennetts 2010 debut, Mr. Shivers, won the Shirley Jackson Award as well as the Sydney J. Bounds Newcomer Award. His second novel, The Company Man, won a Special Citation of Excellence from the Philip K. Dick Award, as well as an Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. His third novel, The Troupe, was published to high critical and popular acclaim. Born in Baton Rouge, he now lives in Austin with his wife and son.
- Publisher : Recorded Books, Inc. and Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (June 15, 2017)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1664437436
- ISBN-13 : 978-1664437432
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Our protagonist in book one was Shara (an idealistic intelligence agent with an impressive lineage for her world) and for the second was General Mulaghesh (decorated female veteran who first appeared in book one). Our protagonist here is Sigurd, Shara's assistant from book one. He plays much the same role as in book one only on his own instead of following orders. In fact, he is a fugitive for much of this book and is doing his best to stay away from the authorities. There is a definite action movie feel here. Sigurd is a good action hero and I feel the explanation for why he is so resilient is sufficient for the world of this story. The author *did* take pains to address it, rather than just letting him repeatedly fight until he was at death's door and then quickly recover (which, sadly, happens in a lot of fantasy novels).
I have seen some complaints that books one and two in this series had basically the same plot, and they aren't exactly wrong. If you are one of the readers who thought so, know that this one proceeds and ends differently. There was a divine element here (if there hadn't been, it wouldn't really have fit as part of the series) and I was not as enthusiastic about this as I had been for these elements in past books. I don't feel like I have a stake in things here; these folks with divine attributes are all new and a little strange and not so easy to relate to.
Perhaps it is because of the changing protagonists in each volume, but I already feel this trilogy is more loosely connected than some other fantasy works, and the divine element here feels like it was invented after the fact. It sticks out compared to what we saw in the two previous books. I am also just less interested in it. I feel like the powers that various characters have are more important than the characters, themselves (so we are back to having "characters as collections of attributes," which I said about book one). I will say, some of the strategies characters hit upon because of their powers are quite interesting.
I don't particularly care for the chief villain here. He is too one-dimensional for my taste. Although I feel like we are given a fair amount of insight into his background, and as to why he might have turned out bad, he just has so few redeeming qualities that it is difficult to feel bad for him, despite his mistreatment before the book begins (we learn about this during the course of an investigation that Sigurd is conducting).
A few brief comments on other aspects of the book:
Worldbuilding - I do think this is creative. A lot of fantasy societies' gods have left, but what the gods did and meant and how their absence has affected the world are handled nicely here. How religion and racism/slavery interacted was also interesting, and the consequences of upheaval (happened before book one, so not a spoiler) are well thought through.
Writing style - This is in present tense, which is not my favorite, but after awhile, I get immersed and barely notice it. Nothing else particularly stands out to me, which means it was probably not irritating to me, at any rate. The pace is quick and the action is creative and well-described (i.e., you can actually picture what is going on and follow along without getting lost).
Plot - See above regarding the divine element and the villain. There was satisfactory resolution, and things were not predictable (but also not simply pulled out of thin air), but this was one weak point for me.
Characterization - Sure, Sigurd is sympathetic, but we already learned most everything we know about him as a person in previous books. Other characters have mostly supporting roles and aren't super well-developed, beyond them consisting of collections of attributes. This was another weak point for me.
In the end, although I did read this fairly quickly (and that's usually a sign of enjoyment), I was just not as into this book as I was in the previous books. I think two things might have fixed it for me: (1) if this book's particular divine element here had been introduced a little sooner in the series, I could've gotten more invested earlier and (2) if we had more POV characters with more depth and idiosyncrasies of their own (as opposed to carefully selected collections of attributes).
I'd still pickup other books by Robert Jackson Bennett
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of the first two books in the Divine Cities series, City of Stairs, and City of Blades. While all of the books in the series are stand-alone, and can be read separately, wrapping up their own plots in a way that is satisfying and feels complete, they also definitely gain something by being read in sequence, City of Miracles more so than City of Blades. So while you certainly can read the book without picking up the prequels, I would definitely recommend checking them out first — and they’re both awesome.
Both of the previous books are largely action/adventure novels with a large mystery plot, and much of City of Miracles follows the same formulas. However, it’s also a much deeper book. It explores a themes of power, love, family, purpose, and godhood, and had a much more intense emotional impact on me than either of the previous books in the series. I’m not ashamed to admit that I finished the book and had to wipe away a few tears. It was beautiful.
If you’ve read the previous two books (and if you haven’t, why haven’t you?) then you know who Sigrud is. The good news is, as the first book was Shara’s, and the second was Mulaghesh’s, this book is Sigrud’s book. The bad news is that it’s the last book in the series, so we won’t be getting any more.
But whatever. WE GET A WHOLE BOOK OF SIGRUD. I legitimately squeaked in happiness when I found out that this would be his book, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting it ever since. Sigrud is the same awesome character you know and love, and getting the entire story from his viewpoint is mostly a stream of awesome. It’s also an opportunity to dive deeper into who he his, and why, and there were plenty of character revelations about his past that I did not predict, but loved.
In addition to Sigrud, we follow Tatanya and Ivanya, two new characters. Both are incredibly well fleshed out and have very intriguing backstories and journeys throughout the novel, and I loved meeting and getting to know both of them. Bennet has continued his tradition of strong female characters who aren’t just your typical ‘badass woman’, but instead are competent at what they do, important, and feel incredibly real. Like, you know, all characters should.
The plot itself is bigger and grander than either previous novel, if that’s possible. I don’t want to spoil any of it, so I’ll simply say that if you want overwhelming adventure, amazing power, and the potential end of the world thrown in for good measure, you’ll find all of it here, in abundance.
I know I’m flailing a bit here, but that’s just because the book was so good. I can’t even describe it all at once. It’s an action adventure mystery love story world-ending character study of doom and awesome and I’m sure I’ve left out a few subplots. Seriously, if you liked the first two books in the series, at all, you have to read City of Miracles. It was so so so good. Five of five stars, and my unconditional recommendation.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a fast paced, moving, unpredictable, well-plotted, final volume of the Divine Cities trilogy and immensely satisfying. Although the publishers claim that each book of the trilogy can be read as a stand alone volume and the author carefully resolves all the questions that he has raised in each book and sets them in a discrete age, I disagree.
I think that knowing the history of the place and characters adds to the enjoyment and tension of reading each book and the fascination of seeing the society and technology develop in this brilliantly realised world. So not only do I unhesitatingly recommend reading this book but also ,if you haven't come across this trilogy, believe that you should buy all three, start at the beginning and give yourself a real treat.
Wished I could have savoured it a lot more and and am sad that this story is finished, but look forward to more from a guy who knows how to tell a story.
Incidentally, it’s very telling of the world building and great story telling he’s done that, within a chapter or two of picking up the new book, all previous events come instantly back to mind. Like visiting old friends.
City of Miracles (and the trilogy as a whole) stands out for its great world-building and believable characters who you actually care about. The writer (Robert Bennett) also has a great ear for dialogue, and captures perfectly the exasperation between, say, General Mulgaresh and Sigrud, or the angst of Shara's daughter Taty as she experiences loss for the first time. If you don't cry at Sigrud's ending then you have no heart ~
One of the best fantasy series I have read in a long time, strongly recommended!