KayKay #CRB6 Review #36 City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett


This book had a lot of buzz about it and I had pre-ordered, even though I did not know the author.  I normally read the preview before purchasing the book, and I’m not sure I would have purchased this had I read the preview first.  The book takes the philosophy that gods draw power from their supporters.  The slaves in this book have become the masters and the conquerors must, amid social unrest, must try to stay ahead of rebel factions.  I give this book 3 stars.

Here’s a breakdown…


My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

What is this book about?

The Continent is run by gods, with Bulikov being the seat of the country (and the place where all the gods come together).  Outside of Bulikov, each god has their own areas, where their own mythology is true.  The Continent enslaves the Saypurins, who eventually rise up and to fight.  The Kaj creates a weapon (by practicing on his servant, who is part god) that kills gods and the Saypurins conquer The Continent.  When Kaj kills the gods, all the ‘miracles’ they had done to create the city and their territories vanished, crumbling most of the Continent.

After being conquered, all acknowledgement of the gods is forbidden (causing civil unrest).  Dr. Efrem Pangyui, a Saypurin, is in Bulikov to study their gods and history (information that is forbidden to the the Continent).  Dr. Efrim is killed, and Ashara’s (Shara’s)  goes to Bulikov to find out what happened.  Her auntie- Vinya- runs the Foreign Ministry and her grandfather was the Kaj. Ashara goes to Bulikov to find out who has killed . Ashara is from Saypuri, former slaves of The Continent.

Shara’s assistant / body guard / friend- Sigrud is my favorite character.  We find out that he is a long lost prince, who at the end of the book is going to go back to his people.  In their search for why Efrem was killed, they realized not all the gods are dead.  Shara eventually kills the god who is resurrected (and finds that one god lives in peace with her people).  She also realizes that her grandfather- the Kaj who slayed the gods, was really part god.

One of the themes is that the people’s desires really drove the gods decisions.  It was as if the gods were made/controlled by the belief of the people.  For example, when the people wanted to mingle with those of different beliefs, that’s when the gods came together and formed Bulikov.

What did I think about this book?

Being the first in a new world, it was complex and at times hard to follow.  I also felt it was too long and required skim reading to get through some sections.  Although it was good, it didn’t pull me into it when I wasn’t reading it.

Final Thoughts…

There will be a follow up, but not sure I will read it.  It may be easier, since the world is already established.  Or it may be more challenging because it will be impossible to remember all the plots points of the first book.


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