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City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

BOTTOM LINE: A great ending to one of my favorite series

Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: 2 May 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis from the Publisher:

“Revenge. It’s something Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is very, very good at. Maybe the only thing.

So when he learns that his oldest friend and ally, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, has been assassinated, he knows exactly what to do—and that no mortal force can stop him from meting out the suffering Shara’s killers deserve.

Yet as Sigrud pursues his quarry with his customary terrifying efficiency, he begins to fear that this battle is an unwinnable one. Because discovering the truth behind Shara’s death will require him to take up arms in a secret, decades-long war, face down an angry young god, and unravel the last mysteries of Bulikov, the city of miracles itself. And—perhaps most daunting of all—finally face the truth about his own cursed existence.”

My Thoughts: In 2014, I picked up City of Stairs with no idea what to expect but just hoping for a good story. What I ended up getting was more than a good story. It was a fantastic one that covered a multitude of topics and even multiple genres through superb writing and outstanding world-building. I was hooked on this weirdly familiar and yet totally strange world of Continentals and Saypuris, gods and politicians, haves and have-nots. The second novel, City of Blades was just as compelling for it used the passage of time on the original heroes to further that first story while the use of a new main character and location provided enough differences to make it unique. The final book in the Divine Cities series, City of Miracles, also uses time to its advantage, but it also does something the second novel did not. By occurring in Bulikov again and through following Sigrud on his revenge mission, Robert Jackson Bennett brings readers full circle, showing readers how far society has come since that first otherworldly battle while providing satisfying closure on an amazing series.

I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to get to know more about the silent weapon that is Sigrud. He has always been a formidable figure, happier in the shadows where he can do what is necessary with no fanfare and more importantly no police. While he still does his work in the shadows, this time we still get to see what he is thinking as he does these rather gruesome deeds. We see his regret and loneliness, his resignation and his devotion to his lost friend. This greatly humanizes him. Moreover, it changes your impression of him from a weapon for hire to someone with less enthusiasm for the role assigned to him than originally thought. Sigrud becomes less a menacing figure and more someone worthy of your sympathy at the unfortunate twists his life has taken. In turn, this changes your opinions of all of those who have utilized his lethal skills to great advantage in the previous novels, making them a bit more mercenary than previously thought. By the simple act of shifting the narrative to someone who was nothing more than a silent weapon, Mr. Bennett added more depth and nuance to an already complex story.

Suffice it to say, if you are reading City of Miracles, it is because you have read the previous books and are already a fan. For those readers, City of Miracles provides a welcome conclusion to this impressive story. It is not a rehashing of the previous novels but rather a continuation of them, touching on many of the same themes but allowing them to mature and evolve as naturally occurs over time. Mr. Bennett’s writing remains stellar; his ability to create humor and pathos while providing a light bulb moment all in the same sentence continues to amaze and delight me. In short, it is everything we have come to love about the Divine Cities series with the added bonus of closure on key characters and story lines.

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