Rating four stars (4.5, really) on the side of caution with full knowledge that I could come back here very soon and bump this up to five stars. How many five-star reviews is too many to give out in one month? Anyway, this book was great! This is only the second series I’ve read by Robert Jackson Bennett, but I feel like it might have bumped him up to my favorite authors list. I five-starred both published books in his latest series, so I had a feeling this might happen, but I was truly surprised and delighted by how much I loved the worldbuilding in this book. For all fans of worldbuilding in a novel, this book is meaty and delicious.
The rest of it is great, too! I actually didn’t know very much about the book going in, and it was definitely better that way. But the basics are: this is a murder-mystery spy novel set in a colonized country, that used to be the colonizer, where there used to be living all-powerful gods, but now they are dead because the people rose up and killed them. Our main character is Shara, whom I love very much, and she is an operative sent to investigate the death of a historian and professor in the city of Bulikov. She is from Saypur, the country that now rules over Bulikov and the continent where it is located, when it used to be the other way around 1,000 years before when gods still walked the earth. The professor’s presence in Bulikov has been extremely controversial because he is Saypuri, and he is there to study about the gods, their religion, and their history, three topics that are forbidden by law to those that live on the continent.
Shara and her extremely large, bearded assistant and bodyguard (think Viking) Sigrud enter Bulikov and in the course of their investigation, manage to stir the pot in the most interest ways possible. Shara is such a badass, but she is also vulnerable. Sigrud is indescribable, and I’ve heard he plays a bigger role in a later book, which pleases me greatly. I can see myself revisiting this book again and again, and finding something new each time.
Damn, I’ve already changed my own mind. Bumping up to five stars.