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City of Blades

(The Divine Cities #2)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  14,591 ratings  ·  1,524 reviews
A triumphant return to the world of City of Stairs.
A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of war and death, the birthplace of fearsome supernatural sentinels who killed and subjugated millions. 
Now, the city’s god is dead. The city itself lies in ruins. And to its new military occupiers, the once-powerful capital is a wasteland of sectar
Kindle Edition, 498 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Broadway Books (first published January 7th 2016)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  14,591 ratings  ·  1,524 reviews

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May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5 stars

I climbed the City of Stairs happily, and then I stumbled a bit in the City of Blades.

City of Blades is the second book in Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities trilogy. It’s overall a great book but in my opinion, this was a far cry from the greatness of City of Stairs. There are several reasons for this so let me begin with the problems I had on the book first.

Out of the three main protagonists in the previous book, Mulaghesh was the one that I care the least. She was interesti
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Previous rating: 10-12 pathetic little stars.
New rating : 22.245668963 stars (and a half). Now that’s more like it.

And the moral of this reread is: I want to be Voortya when I grow up. Just so that my epitaph can read:
Sounds much grander and a lot more nefarious than “Requiescat in Boring Pace,” methinks.

See what I mean?

A Very Private Message to Robert Jackson Bennett: it’s the third
Thanks goes to Netgalley for the advance copy!

We're not in Saypuri anymore, Toto.

Oh, Shara, Shara, what have you done?

I'll do my very best to not reveal any spoilers, but a few things might be helpful. Shara is no longer the main character, and while Sigurd does play a pretty major role, it is General Mulaghesh that gets all the glories, glories, and ten-times the glories. I loved her nearly as much as Sigurd in City of Stairs, but she outshines even Sigurd in this book.

I had some reservations
TS Chan
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to TS by: Petrik
City of Blades was one of the best sequels I've read; it has everything I could ask for that expands upon an already fantastic start to a trilogy.

It is a rare occasion that a middle book makes it into my favourites shelf, and to think I've almost decided to put aside reading The Divine Cities. Then again, City of Blades does not feel like a middle book because the previous story in City of Stairs is self-contained and had its resolution. By now, it appears to me that each book is like a stand-al
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars.

A completely unexpected sort-of-sequel to a great book that I didn't think should have a sequel. City of Stairs displayed some incredible world-building and an interesting plot that came to a very logical end. I had serious doubts about the necessity of this book but, upon reading, have decided that it is quite necessary.

The book takes place five years later in a different setting with a different main character and only weaves a few plot points into a story that could more or less coin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I felt like this was a worthy sequel to the excellent City of Stairs. It is thought provoking fantasy set in an original, well crafted, fantasy world. Just like the first book the story was a murder mystery with plenty of intrigue and personal dilemmas for the characters to deal with.

We got a new Continental city and a new lead character for this second book. General Mulaghesh takes star billing on this one. She had retired after her heroics in the battle of Bulikov but Shara manages to convinc
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/01/18/b...

City of Blades is the second novel in Robert Jackson Bennett’s The Divine Cities sequence featuring my favorite character from City of Stairs…and it might surprise you to know it’s not Sigrud! I know the big Dreyling was a fan favorite from the first book, but for me personally, the most intriguing and admirable character has always been and will always be General Turyin Mulaghesh. I was already waiting on pin and needles
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Celeste by: Petrik
You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

“Dying nobly is preferable to living savagely.”

I’m completely blown away by Bennett’s world building. City of Blades thrilled me and surprised me and cut me to the quick with its rich character development and lore. I cared so much about the characters, and felt every emotion they felt as I read. Bennett’s world is unlike any I’ve ever come across; he absolutely excels at creating both empathetic characters and compelling mythology and history
Em Lost In Books
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, 2010-19, 4-star
I have been meaning to write about this book for last few weeks but my laziness always got better of me and I pushed forward writing a review to next day and then another day. Looks like today is the day when I will finally succeed in my attempt to write a not so long review here.

This book starts five years after the events of City of Stairs and we see General Turyin Mulaghesh called back from her retirement to investigate the disappearance of a Saypuri agent in Voortyashtan. But when Mulaghesh
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh yes! This is how you write the second book in a series - you make it as good or even better than the first one. And that's so even when you totally change the main character. Of course Shara and Sigrud do appear and Sigrud in particular has quite a large role but it is General Mulaghesh who steps up front and centre in this book and she is oh so good. She reminds me a little of Joe Abercrombie's Glokta - someone who is actually pretty bad and quite ruthless and yet still likeable and frequent ...more
Mayim de Vries
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some authors who only know how to write one book. And so they write it over and over again under different titles.

General Turyin Mulaghesh “a woman whose glance was so bright and piercing you almost wanted to check yourself for bruises after she looked at you” is not what she used to be. If you remember the description from the City of Stairs, you see her

”dressed in her uniform which is pressed, polished, spotless. Her hair is tied back in a brutal bun, and her knee-high black boots bo
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am in love with the world and the mythology Robert Jackson Bennet created and very much in awe with its intricacy and originality. I was getting a bit disillusioned with the genre but this fantasy trilogy is making me a very happy fan. If you haven't already: go and read it!

Set several years after the events of the first book, the world has not changed as much as Shara wanted it to. When a Ministry operative disappears in Voortyashtan (the city created by the now dead Goddess of War), Shara ma
Scott  Hitchcock
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
There were portions of this book I loved and portions I found tedious. The recap of the action from the last book too way too long to deliver as did the setup for this book. Then in the middle it was awesome. Then it went back to sleep. The ending again was awesome although one of the key moments left me wanting a different writing. Still a good series. Looking forward to book 3 in May.
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

This book was sooooooo good! My freaking hero is General Turyin Mulaghesh! She is older and still bad to the bone, puts up with nothing.. well until they force her out of retirement, which makes her mad as hell.


I think I'm just going to put in a few excerpts first from my hero and then get on with the review.


"The first murder took place deep in disputed territory, General. It's not safe."
"Neither am I. I can handle myself."


"Leave now," says Sig
Robin (Bridge Four)
Buddy read with the peeps at Buddies Books and Baubles starting 1/16/19
a slave will use any tool to escape their slavery, even those of their masters.

City of Blades is a fantastic follow up to the City of Stairs set five years after the events of City of Stairs and my things have changed. This book doesn’t feature Shara, heroine of the previous book and I thought I’d miss her, but Mulaghesh was a fantastic character to follow and see this world through. She filled the void of Shara
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-and-galleys
Five years after the Battle of Bulikov, retired General Turyin Mulaghesh is called on once more to serve Saypur. Prime Minister Shara Komayd has an off the books mission for her, find a missing ministry official and investigate a miraculous substance. The worst part of all is Mulaghesh has to travel to Voortyashtan otherwise known as The City of Blades. Voortyashtan was the land of the divinity of war and death Voortya and despite being a ruin since the blink, it's still a dangerous place.

The Ci
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read
This is a very well written and intense tale, and in my opinion, it surpasses the first book, City of Stairs.

Turyin Mulaghesh, pulled out of retirement after the Battle of Bulikov returns to the Continent, this time to the city of Voortyashtan to investigate the disappearance of a Ministry official and of course, other strange occurrences. But being in Voortyashtan brings back a host of combat related memories for Mulaghesh in addition to being a veritable powder keg of its own.

Within this fanta
Deborah Obida
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Deborah by: Petrik
Shelves: adult, fantasy
Ask a person what they want most desperately and they will say a child, a home, a fortune, a power, or an influence over their fellow men.
These are all variations on the same thing—a wish for lasting influence, for legacy, for eternity.
We wish to be remembered.

I'm one of those people that don't like it when a protagonist of a series change mid series but this author did such a good job that it made me wonder why I don't even like this style. Mulaghesh the protagonist isn't exactly a new char
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
The story picks up five years after the events of City of Stairs and present us with a different viewpoint in the form of Mulagesh who is sent to investigate the disappearance of a Ministry agent in the fabled city of Voortyasthan. Once the domain of the goddess of war, Voortya, the city is still a very dangerous place and Mulaghesh, assuming the role of the reluctant and grumpy makeshift detective, has her work cut out for her in furtively investigating the mystery. She soon realizes though, th ...more
As much as I came to see City of Stairs, the first book of The Divine Cities, as a remarkable multi-genre crossover success, it took me a while to warm up to it. In fact, at one point I put the book down with little intention of finishing it. What a mistake that would have been. I’m glad I decided to give it one more chance, because something just ‘clicked’ for me, bringing the whole jumbled mythological tapestry together. In the end, it turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year.

Executive Summary: The sequel I wasn't sure I wanted turned out to be the best read of the year so far.

Full Review
Before my book club did a read of City of Stairs a year and a half ago, I had not heard of Robert Jackson Bennett. It ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2014.

Not only was it well written and engrossing, but it was a stand alone! Who does that? No one anymore it seems like. While the world Mr. Bennett built was fascinating and large enough to accommodate many stories, I di
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, advanture
*** 4.5 ***

Another amazing buddy read with my favorite BB&B posse!

This is the second book in this understated, but absolutely intriguing new series by Robert Jackson Bennett. General Turyin Mulaghesh is the one that is stuck with the unpleasant and unwanted mission to get back to the Continent, after being somewhat retired, and find out what is going on with some questionably amazing, possibly divine new ore that was mined there. She is also tasked with finding what happened to an operator from
Althea Ann
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my Hugo Award nominees, novel, 2016.

The sequel to 'City of Stairs' open with what's likely the most entertaining 'calling-a-character-out-of-retirement' scene I've ever read. General Mulaghesh has tried to leave war behind and purchased a cottage on a remote beach. However, we quickly begin to suspect that her retreat isn't quite the haven she imagined. And now, an envoy has been sent from Saypur with a message for her - and a mission.

After the initial scene, the POV switches - it in
David Zampa
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those rare cases where the first book is good and the second is even better.

I would think they were almost equal in terms of quality except I freakin’ love this books main character, Mulagesh, over Sharah from book one. While Sharah was fine and good, in book one she was a great vehicle for an entertaining story and fun side characters. Mulagesh does that while still being a hoot in herself to hang out with.

This book starts out with almost True Detective vibes. Mulagesh gets tappe
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

The return visit to the Divine Cities was for me a little too similar to the first journey I took with "City of Stairs", a rinse-and-repeat of the plot from the debut novel in the series, plagued also by a rather slow build-up to the epic finale. Yet, the fascination with the setting and the talent of the author in managing plot, characters and high concepts is undeniable. I wanted to rate the second episode only three stars but, as it often happens as I look back through my notes and bookmarks,
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is frustrating that I don’t enjoy The Divine Cities as much as I want to, or as much as others clearly do.
In this sequel to City of Stairs, Saypuri General Turin Mulagesh is dispatched to the city of Voortyashtan to investigate whether a newly discovered element is of divine origin. What she finds may have even more dire consequences.
The worldbuilding for this series is so brilliant, the fact that the stories themselves (high fantasy police procedurals) are just okay is especially disappoint
Jul 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Sherwood Smith
“I was taught that peace is the absence of war. But I wonder if these days we’ve simply replaced conventional war with a war of paper. I’m not so sure which is better.”

City of Blades is structurally similar to City of Stairs: we get an outside agent sent to a hellish locale to solve the mystery of a missing person (in the first book, a death, in the second, no one knows what happened to the agent), meeting people from their past as well as new people, everyone with secrets that get peeled away o
Maria Dimitrova
Buddy read with the folks at BB&B . Special thanks to Sarah and Choko for providing new POV and pointing out things I might have otherwise missed.

Another brilliant book by the amazing Robert Jackson Bennett. With this book he cemented his place in my heart.

City of Blades is both very similar and very different from the previous book in the series - City of Stairs. The biggest similarity (in my humble opinion) is that it deals with some very serious real life problems under the guise of a urb
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Robert Jackson Bennett is a two-time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original, and is also the 2010 recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence. City of Stairs was shortlisted for the Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award. City of Blades was a finalist for the 2015 Wo ...more

Other books in the series

The Divine Cities (3 books)
  • City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)
  • City of Miracles (The Divine Cities, #3)

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