To say I’m a massive fan of this series is like saying … something really truthful and accurate and slightly underrated. I’m a huge fan.
I want to spread the word about this series far and wide so I thought I’d use publication day to tell all of you who haven’t read the series (and why not?!) why you should.
1. THE WORLD. I’m not sure how to sum it up concisely enough but as RJB’s website says it’s a world full of ‘dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city’. And it is brilliant – original and unique with a glimmer of familiarity. Full of intricacies, rich histories, political intrigue and you find yourself straight in it and at home from page 1. The descriptions – staircases leading to nowhere, buried marble buildings – you don’t have to create them in your mind, they conjure themselves. Just thinking about it, I want to be back there.
2. THE IDEAS. Vanished gods, cities that were once controlled by them but now have to fend for themselves … there’s a wealth of things going on here. You’ll be fascinated, desperate to read on to uncover layer after layer and find out how RJB makes it all hang together. It’s philosophy that resonates with ideas in our world, and it’s FUN. It’s really fun.
3. THE CHARACTERS. You could read these just for Sigrud. That’s all I’m saying. But also read them for the protagonists – Shara in City of Stairs and General Mulaghesh in City of Blades. They’re courageous, funny, doubting, relatable, brilliant characters. They’re also examples of women that make me go WOO HOO!
4. THE HUMOUR. RJB has the most brilliant, sardonic, funny tone and boy does he use it. But seriously, for a taster check out his Twitter @robertjbennett
But don’t just take my word for it – pretty much everyone else agrees. City of Stairs was a finalist for the 2015 World Fantasy, Locus, and British Fantasy Awards and Robert himself (that’s him above) has won the Shirley Jackson Award, the Sydney J Bounds Newcomer Award, the British Fantasy Society Award, a Special Citation of Excellence from the Philip K Dick Award and an Edgar Award. Yeah I know.
Plus, look at this critical-acclaim! And that’s just a snippet!
“A memorably surreal urbanscape … readers seeking a truly refreshing fantasy milieu should travel to Bulikov, and welcome its conquest.” New York Times Book Review
“A delightful urban fantasy that travels through a city full of Escher-like staircases and alternate realities.” —Washington Post
“[An] incredible journey through a wondrously weird and surprising world … I found myself both delighted and fascinated as every layer was slowly unpacked. Just the right mix of awesome.” Tor.com
“City of Stairs is a smooth novel of near perfection and the best Epic Fantasy novel I’ve read this year. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.” SFF World
“Invigoratingly ambitious … an absorbing and mature work, with some fantastically creepy monsters.” SFX
So, whatever you’re into, if you’re looking for a brilliant book to help you get through January – look no further. I hope you love them as much as I do.