City of Lies by Sam Hawke
Updated: Mar 21, 2019
Rating: 5/5 stars
Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge Book
Pub Date: July 3, 2018 (Canada/USA), August 23, 2018 (UK, Aus, NZ)
After the chancellor of their city succumbs to a mysterious poison, Joven and his sister Kalina aim to find the truth. But the funeral is interrupted as the city is besieged by rebel forces. As they struggle to survive the siege of the city, they’re also faced with the task of protecting the new chancellor, and sniffing out the person responsible for murdering the old chancellor. In a world in which they’re not sure who to trust, they’re forced to question everything they thought they knew about their life and the city they live in.
Note: I received an ARC of this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
This fantastic debut will certainly find it’s place among well-loved fantasy series. It mixes fantasy with mystery and intrigue seamlessly. It was a book that had me guessing right to the end, with the added pressure of literally being penned in and running out of time. I literally went to work sleep deprived this entire week because every time I picked up this book, I had trouble putting it down.
Sibling protagonists, Kalina and Joven are expertly crafted, both with clear strengths and flaws. The alternating viewpoints worked so well in this story, and the clear love that these two siblings had for each other was excellent. Not only that but all of the characters were wonderfully human and presented as such. What really stood out about the characters was the complicated and nuanced relationships between them - done to perfection.
With twists and turns, as well as hints dropped throughout the story, this is one book that had me guessing right until the end. I was drawn in right from the first line (and can we talk about that first line? because I have to say it’s one of the best I’ve encountered in a very long time) and once I was set on figuring out what was going on, there was little else I could think of.
The world-building was subtle, but sewn expertly into the plot. Most importantly, it was presented excellently through the eyes of the protagonists. The setting, while limited to only within the city (with a small exception), was brilliantly done. It showcased the multi-layered way in which social populations are structured within a city, but also brought to the forefront what happens when the people inside of put into a crisis. In terms of increasing the pace of the book, the setting did that very well, putting even more pressure on an already dire situation.
This is a book that I would recommend to any fan of immersive secondary worlds - it’s well crafted fantasy at its finest.
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