City of Stairs

, #1

452 pages

English language

Published April 13, 2014

ISBN:
978-0-8041-3717-1
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
862222210

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (48 reviews)

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world's new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy. Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov's oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country's most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem--and that Bulikov's cruel reign may not yet be over.

2 editions

Review of 'City of Stairs' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Remember the fantasy books you read in the eighties and nineties? Raymond E Feist, David Drake, maybe even David Eddings? That Baen Books fantasy feeling, basically.

Anyway, I feel like Bennet loved those growing up, but was like, "Man, those were kinda weird about women. And weirdly essentializing about race. I bet I could do better."

And he does! I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's definitely better.

I am getting around to writing this a month after reading it and returning it to the library, and I've already forgotten the names of the cities and civilizations, so skip if that's annoying to you.

The setup is, the nation of ... EasternEuropea used to dominate the globe, because the gods were literally on their side. Their gods lead them into war and granted them miraculous relics which bent reality. EasternEuropa colonized FakeIndiaStan and ruled its people with fear and …

Review of 'City of Stairs' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Combination spy thriller and world-saving fantasy adventure with almost all compelling female leads. The fantasy is intriguing, and cleverly revealed to the reader gradually as the characters themselves learn more about what is happening. My only complaint is with the denouement; the reveals that worked well throughout the book feel a little deus ex machina when applied to the largest problems the heroes face.

Nonetheless it was a great read and I'm excited for the 2nd.

Review of 'City of Stairs' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Nominally a murder mystery with complicated politics as the back story, this book has wonderful, intricate, sophisticated world-building, and richly drawn characters, mostly women. The pacing starts a little slow but picks up quickly and then gallops fast all the way through to the end. Looking forward to reading #2.

Review of 'City of Stairs' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This was on my to-read list for a while and I got it as part of package of used books. I enjoyed the book a lot. The world felt fresh and plausible, the characters are not too young, they feel fleshed out and the story was also entertaining. The story is capable people saving the day, which I feel is half-way to the "Chosen One" trope. I do enjoy this, but if you don't, be aware. I think I'll continue the series at some point. The other books are not mainly from Shara's POV, which is what I liked in this book. But I enjoyed the world so much I probably have to return.

Review of 'City of Stairs' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I quite enjoyed reading this book. The protagonist Shara and her companion Sigrud are mysterious and interesting. I especially liked the world building with the island nation of Saypur and the Continent (does it only remind me of Japan and China?). Saypur is apparently a high-tech nation with electricity and gunpowder while the Continent was formerly rich in magic but is not anymore and is therefore crumbling. The book starts out with a murder mystery, turns into a spy-thriller and finally it becomes a somewhat epic fantasy. The pacing is good, although sometimes I felt like the plot is doing too much and towards the end, it feels like the author just wanted to get the story finished.

There are several information dumps or long conversations simply explaining what is/was going on.

The book is written in present tense which felt a bit weird in the beginning.

But besides the …

avatar for smoothment

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Heavyboots

rated it

3 stars
avatar for fjordic

rated it

3 stars
avatar for astroMD

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Smoak

rated it

5 stars
avatar for fabriek

rated it

5 stars
avatar for cjhubbs

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Klievhelm

rated it

5 stars
avatar for CafeAvian

rated it

4 stars
avatar for spiralmind

rated it

4 stars
avatar for slowline

rated it

4 stars
avatar for astrodad

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Angzarr

rated it

4 stars
avatar for casocial

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Enno

rated it

4 stars
avatar for iamd3vil

rated it

5 stars
avatar for laprunminta

rated it

5 stars
avatar for clnaanderson

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Nikita

rated it

5 stars
avatar for FWT

rated it

3 stars
avatar for grislyeye

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Shtakser

rated it

4 stars
avatar for rlittleton

rated it

4 stars
avatar for daveb

rated it

4 stars
avatar for brzy

rated it

3 stars
avatar for recri

rated it

4 stars
avatar for 9bananas

rated it

5 stars
avatar for aguwumon

rated it

5 stars

Subjects

  • Murder
  • Investigation
  • Spy stories
  • Fiction