The last decade or so brought us very few truly remarkable fantasy books, and even fewer that have helped to move the genre in the new directions. Science fiction has seen its decline as well, but that's another story. Of course, although fantasy isThe last decade or so brought us very few truly remarkable fantasy books, and even fewer that have helped to move the genre in the new directions. Science fiction has seen its decline as well, but that's another story. Of course, although fantasy is paradoxically younger genre than science fiction, it relies far more on the tropes established by fairy tales and mythology, so it's quite difficult to find some new and unexplored waters to sail through on this tired old sea.
To make things more difficult, the last decade has seen the rise of grimdark - as dictated by both the strong demand from the readership and equally strong marketing gimmicks by the publishers which led to grimdark becoming the predominant voice of the authors, so that the market for non-grimdark fantasy has become seemingly smaller than ever before.
Rare are the authors who have successfully managed to offer something different than grimdark and not infantile. It goes without saying that Robert Jackson Bennett is one of those authors.
His writing style remains a bit heavy throughout entire trilogy, which is particularly expressed in his tightly condensed and packed sentences. His use of "says" instead of more common "said" frequently acts almost as a slap in the face and forces the reader to pay more attention, to think about what he or she just read. In a way, City trilogy is written like a modern novel, which is strangely appropriate, since it drags the reader into the fantasy equivalent of modern age.
The main (tragic) character of this story is a stark reminder of the epic past of both the world of the City of Miracles and earlier books and of the genre that the trilogy belongs to. He is GDAF, as the popular expression goes, and belongs on the pages of novels by Abercrombie and Martin. His doom or wyrd is upon him and he grows with it, falls with it and eventually transforms both himself and the wider world around him.
This trilogy can be read as an urban fantasy adventure, which of course it is, but it offers much more to a discerning reader. It is one of the redeeming jewels of the fantasy genre and it should be enjoyed as such....more