Review: City of Stairs
You guys...another excellent book this week and another fantasy one all about religion! I promise I give these things no fore thought so it's all a bit uncanny.
City of Stairs really does it's best to fool you. Its full of violence, political unrest, colonial power struggles, murder mystery and even the odd love story. I assure you though this is a book about faith. In a world where gods are not only a given fact but have a constant and physical effect on the world, City of Stairs explores what's left of everything when the people rise up and kill the gods. No matter the nature of the god, none are left to support the divine institutions and creations that have long held sway over the world. Indeed in some cases the shape of the earth itself was held together by the will of the divine, and their loss is felt in a very real sense.
The exploration of this loss is made through a wide and diverse cast that explores every instance of the ramifications of this change. Characters that revel in it. Characters that suffer through it. Characters that rage against it. And a main character that needs to understand it, and all the others whose path she crosses.
Like any good religion though the impact of the shattered divine is also about power. Power that is in upheaval at nearly every level of the society involved in the story and Bennett doesn't hesitate to explore these ramifications from the high class to the low. With a character that struggles with her own place in a powerful position while not hesitating to use that power in her pursuit of her own ideas of justice and experience.
But, like I said in the beginning, around all that introspection and discover, there's an excellent adventure novel involving all of the miraculous bits of fallen gods, manipulative politicians, and half mad berserk er warriors to keep things moving.
City of Stairs receives four stars out of five.