Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: Cities and Thrones

Cities and Thrones is the sequel to Carrie’ Patel’s The Buried Life and what a sequel! I’ve recently interviewed Carrie Patel for Science Fiction Double Feature, which will be out later this month.

The series is steampunk, mystery, revolution, post-future funtimes. I hope that makes sense. It’s hard to describe as a genre, but it makes sense as you read it.

One of the things I loved about the sequel was how characters you love find themselves in very difficult, morally ambiguous situations. The brilliant Liesl Malone is once again a main character in the sequel and has to navigate a post-revolution Recolleta, with the revolutionary leader Sato edging more and more towards madness (so it seems). What do you do when you’re complicit in the overthrown of the government and have to keep your city in order with no help?

Anyway, it was even better than The Buried Life in some ways as both Malone and Jane Lin (again, one of the other main character’s from the first book and a main feature in this one), have such difficult paths to follow. But they go into things with eyes wide open and ultimately have to deal with the consequences of all their decisions. This really makes me love them all the more – they recognise where they went wrong and make no apologies for the decisions they made at the time. They do the best in difficult circumstances.

I love the pacing of the books as well, there’s a lot happening but it doesn’t feel rushed or overly descriptive. It’s got a lot of plot action but further exploration of the universe that doesn’t infringe on the main story line.

I am lookng forward to the third in the series, The Song of the Dead, which should be brilliant fun if the first two are anything to go by.

Anyway, I completely and heartily give both books a 5/5 because they are totally excellent. Liesl Malone is up there with some of my favourite hard nosed detectives like Commander Vimes from the Discworld. I want a film with Liesl Malone, or maybe a Netflix series. She is setting a high bar for any other characters that I’ll come across this year.

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