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book cover What makes a good story? It has to be the telling or writing style, of course, but then there are other factors: believable and sympathetic characters, an interesting idea, a tight plot, good world building, entertaining scenes. I am happy to report that City of Stairs aced everything! I haven't heard of Robert Jackson Bennett before, but I am sure to remember his name now. The first book in a trilogy, City of Stairs wasn't just blessingly self contained, but also made me happy to have following books to continue the story.

The main character is a woman who does everything from conviction, care for others and most of all her own intelligence and effort, not because of her gender. The story is a detective story, set in a fictional preindustrial almost steampunk world where gods recently existed until people killed them. It is a book of mystery, intrigue, politics, detective like investigations, spirituality and magic, but held tight around a solid core of whodunit and great character and world building. It reminded me of the wonder I felt when starting reading Brandon Sanderson's books.

Bottom line: not the greatest work of literary fiction that ever existed, but I couldn't find any fault with it. Per my definition, it was a perfect book.


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