City of Stairs (2014) Robert Jackson Bennett
It is worth reading the first book of Bennett’s Divine Cities Trilogy, City of Stairs, for the character Sigrud. He is the “assistant” for our heroine, Shara Komayd, a Saypuri diplomat / spy who uncovers a political and supernatural plot in the continental capital of Bulikov. The former home to a ragtag group of divinities who ruled most of this world in a capricious and ruthless manner. Some unhinged people want to bring these godlike creatures back and Shara with the help of “Norse-like” Sigrud work to uncover and stifle this plot. Shara and Sigrud have personal histories that we begin to see throughout the book that are as fascinating as the main plot. Sigrud’s fight with the supernatural river-monster is epic. Like Mona Bright in American Elsewhere Bennett draws terrific characters that are consistent in their actions in ways that are at first unexpected but upon reflection make perfect sense.
City of Blades (2015) Robert Jackson Bennett
This story begins five years after the action in City of Stairs. Shara Komayd plays only a small, distant role in the book. Sigruid plays a significant, if somewhat unsatisfying role. We are introduced to his daughter. The lead character in City of Blades is General Turyin Mulaghesh. The action takes place in the continental city of Voortyashthan. While a harbor is being built in the city to increase trade a new ore is found with remarkable – if not miraculous – properties. Here we go again… Bennett does much more than concoct a tale about long gone Gods who still have an effect on the present. He brings a complex character like Mulaghesh alive through her back story and the choices she makes throughout the plot. She is truly a much more interesting character then one would have thought from City of Stairs.
I found it interesting that the figure of the giant monstrous “mother” again echoes so similar to that seen in American Elsewhere. Bennett must have some sort of mother concept. Sigruid is apparently featured in the City of Miracles climax which I am looking forward to. This book leaves him on the run.