City of Blades

General Turyin Mulaghesh is supposedly retiring. She's been exiled to the city of Voortyashtan to wait until she can draw her pension--at least, that's the story she gives to cover her true purpose.

Voortyashtan, once the stronghold of a war goddess, is now a city of industry that has financial and political ties to Turyin's home country across the sea, Saypur. The Saypuri prime minister has sent the general on a secret mission to find the truth behind a discovery in the old city, one with the potential to change--and perhaps destroy--the new world.

Turyin is weary of war, sick of death and tired of watching her young soldiers die in battle. When she witnesses the presumed dead war deity rise from the ocean to destroy the local mines (a source of a mysterious energy), Turyin undertakes a supernatural journey to the goddess's afterlife, which is filled with violently angry dead soldiers awaiting their promised return to a glorious war to end all wars.

The aging general, foul-mouthed and jaded, must find a way to stop this world-ending conflict with the dead, since she's the most qualified to do so in this city of politicians and scientists. Along the way, though, she learns to trust an engineer who's hiding something amid the reconstruction efforts in the old city. Robert Jackson Bennett's sequel to 2014's City of Stairs is thrilling, deeply thoughtful about the nature of war, and just odd enough, while still offering analogues to our own world to remain familiar. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

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