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Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints
Nancy Kress
The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice
Todd Henry

City of Stairs

City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett In a way, this book is post-apocalyptic. What happens if you kill the gods whose essence suffuses the land and buildings themselves?

For me, this book was a bit too long. At its heart, it's a murder mystery. Yet as time goes on, the book becomes less concerned with the identity of the murderer, and more concerned with the mystery the victim uncovered and what it all means.

While the protagonist Shara is generally the one uncovering mysteries, it's her cohort who's mainly doing the main action. I found this a little bizarre. He slays the giant monster, yet she takes all the credit in the last half of the book. Same goes for taking out the flying ships... I thought this was going to be a bigger deal, but their defeat was almost an afterthought, and then he crashes the last one into the god and jumps off in a somewhat anticlimactic way.

I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that the ending reminds me of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin.

I really liked Shara's relationship with her on-again, off-again lover. His struggle with his sexual orientation made complete sense in this world/culture. I thought making his brother look so similar to him was an odd choice. I was expecting... something magical, a miracle of some sort, to be responsible for his inconsistent actions/appearance. I also wasn't really sure he was dead when the god finished with him. If I'd known he was dead immediately, his actions would've felt more heroic, but Shara rushes off without even bothering to check if he survived.

Overall, a very well-developed, fully fledged world. I would definitely consider reading more fantasy from this author in the future.