Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett

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4stars

“This was what made the beating heart of America: not a sense of civics, not a love of country or people, not respect for the Constitution – but fear. And there you had fear, you had guns.”

Title: Vigilance
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Number of pages: 208 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Raw and violent and so very likely to happen.
Bad things about this book: I would’ve loved another short chapter to explain a bit the ending, because it left me like whaaat.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This was terrifying in the most realistic and dystopian way. I was glued to the pages until the very end. The fact that made it all the more scaring was that I could see it; I could see that reality being our reality. As much as I like visiting the US as a tourist, I’m always afraid when I go there.

What if I happen to be on the Empire State when someone decides to attack it? What if I’m taking a stroll in Central Park when a crazy person decides it’s the perfect day to shoot random walkers? What if I’ taking a picture in Times Square and a street pirate decides that’ll be perfect to just run over some tourists? It’s terrifying. Terrifying as hell! The fact that whoever can buy and carry a gun is something already dystopian in my opinion.

So this fact made it so real I could see it. In a not very far away future people are sort of trained to be ready when a threat comes around. So there are “vigilances”: surprise environment controlled shootings where criminals are introduced and people have to kill them to earn money. But people can and will die. They are trained to be scared because fear is what the government wants them to feel. Fear is how they control them.

It was a very short book but I enjoyed it. It gave me the chills. Made me want to shake some sense into someone! Shake hard. I recommend this book. Robert Jackson Bennett knows how to write a story. Check out his other books, you won’t regret it.

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Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet ☆

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5starsplus

One day I’ll live a life that doesn’t force me to make such cold-blooded decisions, she thought. But today is not that day.

Title: Foundryside
Author: Robert Jackson Bennet
Series: Founders #1

Number of pages: 503 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved the steampunk-ish fantasy world!
Bad things about this book: I want the sequel right now.
Do I recommend it? Yes, read it!
Rate: 5+++/5 (it’s a favourite!)

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Some here will whisper of liberty – but you can’t be free if you aren’t alive.

I LOVED IT!!! I loved it more than I thought I was going to! It surprised me, in an incredible way. I went in thinking I was going to find another amazing adventure by Bennett and found exactly that but so much more! I’m amazed, I’ll talk about this book with everyone!

This book is certainly different from Bennett’s Divine Cities trilogy; it is less dark and pretty straightforward, but it doesn’t lack twists and revelations that took the story on a very enjoyable level.

I liked Sancia right away; a former slave who’s been tortured and modified so that now she hears the scrived devices and feels the objects she touches learning all their secrets. In this world, there are devices modified through antique symbols to defy their natural role in the world. For example, you have a sword, you modified it telling it the gravity it’s feeling is 10 times the one it actually is, so the sword, when used will hit harder and make so much more damage. The scrivers use all their knowledge to come up with more ways to tell objects they should be doings things that’ll defy physics laws. I found this very fascinating.

What I loved, like really loved, about this book, was how it gave the world a love is love state of being. There were many political problems with the merchant houses, the foundries, the crimes, etc, but at least who you liked wasn’t an issue and I thought it was refreshing as hell. When I saw a character blushing because they saw a naked shoulder of a same gender character, a SHOULDER, my eyes opened comically; I was so glad Bennett thought of giving his characters the freedom to choose whoever they wanted to love with the normality our real world should have done from the very beginning of time. Giovanni saying he wanted to go to an exotic island because he’ll be among so many gorgeous sailor, made me smile so much. There were so many funny moments in this book.

Of all the side characters there were, and I’m always afraid about many side characters because it means some are expendables at some point, Clef was definitely my favourite. Brilliant, emotional, deep, and so selfless. Berenice has many more sides of herself that she will show us, I’m sure of it. Orso managed to be okay-ish at first, but then I warmed to his grumpiness. He gave a kind of vibe that made me doubt everything he did, a vibe that told me he was going to do something I wouldn’t approve. Gregor, sweet Gregor, what can I say about him? Follower of rules, he wants a better place for people to live in. He has this utopic dream of the world being a big happy place with people helping one another. He likes to think he’s doing the things he does for the greater good and he does, maybe it doesn’t always end like he intended but he tries his best. I liked him a lot and can’t wait to see what he’s going to do now, after everything that happened in Tevanne. Oh boy, things happened, so many things.

I will now be waiting anxiously for the sequel, because I didn’t have enough of Tevanne and I need more of it and of its characters. I got to know them, and I’m now like a mama hen, and will be very protective of my babies. Don’t you dare hurt them, Bennett! I’ll be heartbroken. After the Divine Cities’ trilogy, I can’t help but being scared.

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City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

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5stars

What an ugly thing I am, he thinks. Why did I ever believe I could wreak anything but ugliness in this world? Why did I ever think that those near me would meet anything but pain and death?

Title: City of Miracles
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Good things about this book: Sigrud!!!
Bad things about this book: It is the final book of this trilogy.
Do I recommend it? Yes, 500% yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Third and last book of a trilogy I would have never read if it wasn’t for Goodreads and a fellow reader who wrote a review that painted this book worth of a try. And it was worth it, believe me. It contains a world building written with so much detail it constructs itself inside your head easily. I don’t know how to describe it to others but I want to be able to do it because this trilogy hasn’t as much readers as it truly deserves.

That’s the cycle of your life, isn’t it? You throw yourself into dangerous, hopeless situations. These situations punish you mercilessly. Yet you overcome them, and live.

After two books with two amazing main characters, now it’s time for my beloved Sigrud je Harkvaldsson to take the lead. I have loved him since the first book, City of Stairs, in which he worked alongside Shara Komayd against the danger of Divinities. He is a complex character, driven by anger. He has many layers and almost all of them are full of pain and suffering.

The second book, City of Blades, ended with Sigrud having to run away from Voortyashtan. Thirteen years have passed since then: years of Sigrud waiting for Shara to tell him it was okay to go back home, that everything that happened was somewhat being forgiven and, hopefully, forgotten over time. Years passed and no news from his friend until one day he hears Shara has been murdered; he is in shock and wakes from a sort of slumber and makes his way back to find out who did this to Shara, why and to avenge her.

I know how anything I tell is a potential spoiler and it was so good not having any when reading the book so I won’t write anything unnecessary, anything that can give you clues that are best not to have. It’s great to gasp at twists and smile when you finally understand what’s going on. Those are irreplaceable feelings!

What a stupid creature he is, driven by rage and emotion.

Being inside Sigrud’s mind is painful. He suffers a lot from what happened to him and also to all the people that he cared about and are not longer alive. Sigrud is supposed to be 63 years old. Sixty-three years old and looking half his age, it’s his cursed; new scars added to his person but not a single wrinkle decorating his face. His mind is a nest of bad thoughts but also resolution to get vengeance and to get rid of the new danger they are now facing. This villain is immature so he is erratic, driven by wrong reasons, his ego being the the mastermind of his plans; every time I turned a page I feared for the lives of everyone.

He remembers Shara again, twenty years ago, outside of Jukoshtan: Our work asks us to make terrible choices. But make them we shall.

The fact that Shara is dead and we know she is dead from the synopsis of the book doesn’t make reading about it easier. We knew Shara; we knew her values and what she did to make the world a better place. The way Sigrud thinks about Shara, the way he remembers her and what they did together, is so full of love and admiration and it kept breaking my heart.

They were closer than lovers—for love, of course, is a flighty, mercurial thing.

I cried when I finished the book. The last paragraph gave me the final blow. Saying goodbye is hard, I know that, but this felt different: they were happy tears. The kind of happy that comes from sadness but that knows it couldn’t have gone in any other way. It gives you peace and it gives you hope. I want these characters to be their better selves and live a happy life. That’s all I want.

Goodbye magnificent world of miracles and divinities. Goodbye characters that gave them all to make a difference. Goodbye friends we made along the way. Goodbye to you all and thank you.

We float upon a sea of moments, he thinks. And never are we truly free of them.

If you haven’t read this trilogy I recommend it with all my heart. I can’t explain why and maybe I won’t ever be able to put in words what makes me love these books, but like the review that convinced me to give it a try, I hope my review will do the same. Spread the love!

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City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

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“There’s no such thing as a good death … It’s just a dull, stupid thing we all have to do eventually. To ask meaning of it is to ask meaning of a shadow.”

Title: City of Blades
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Why you should read this book: This is the sequel of City of Stairs so if you’ve read it you will obviously want to read this.

This story takes place 5 years after the end of City of Stairs. The main character of this book is not Shara, it’s General Turyin Mulaghesh. She’s been called out of her retirement by Shara herself for a secret mission. A Saypuri agent has gone missing in Voortyashtan, the domain of the goddess of War Voortya, while she was looking into a weird ore that’s being found there. This ore seems to have divine properties but it can’t be because everyone is 100% sure Voortya died a long time ago and her miracles shouldn’t work anymore. So what’s going on in that place? Mulaghesh has to go there, pretend she is on vacation, and find out in secrecy. This trip will make her remember things she didn’t want to remember, memories of terrible things she did in her past and that torment her every single day. She finds out the whole story of Voortya, of the afterlife she created for her followers, the scary Sentinels, and the contract she made with them, the promise of one final deathly battle that can end the world.

“Deserve.’ How preoccupied we are with that. With what we should have, with what we are owed. I wonder if any word has ever caused more heartache.”

I’ve had this book since it was out and I started it right away but it took me so much to finish it because I wanted to do so many things at once and it wasn’t something I was very good at. Long story short, I decided to finish it yesterday and here I am, HEARTBROKEN!

I cried, the last time I cried because of a book was months and months ago!! I was emotional, I cared about these characters, I came to love them and seeing them hurt or worse had a huge toll on my heart.

I came to read City of Stairs almost as a mistake. I mistakenly clicked the “currently reading” button, it had a liked, I didn’t want to disappoint that “like” and decided to read it. What a wonderful mistake I made, that book blew my mind. I was never happier to have clicked the wrong button in my entire life.

“O, the things we kill for our dreams, forgetting all the while we shall wake up to find them naught but dust and ash!
What fools we are to pretend that when we walk to war, we do not bring our loved ones with us.”

The plot is intense, so many mysteries (I love mysteries), so many characters in play. You don’t trust anyone because you never know who may be the one plotting against them all. Who is behind the murders? Who is trying to bring hell on earth? Don’t trust anyone! Mulaghesh is a great main character, she is strong, she knows her weaknesses, she wants to be useful in order to give back after the horrible things she did. She feels danger, she is very smart. I found myself thinking with her, like we were having a conversation in which we were solving enigmas. Mulaghesh doesn’t like violence, she’s seen it, she had to use it but that doesn’t mean she likes it. I like that about her, she knows what a soldier should do, maybe she learned it a minute too late but she learned it. It’s really never too late to ask for forgiveness and make amends.

Signe, Sigrud’s daughter, in in charge of the harbor reconstruction and helps Mulaghesh with a little bit of her mystery quest even when she doesn’t know anything about it. She is a smart character, a bit of an enigma, at times you wonder if she is hiding something, maybe she is, maybe she isn’t but you can’t help but wonder. She looks strong on the outside but you learn she is very fragile on the inside, a past heavy on her shoulders. Signe and Sigrud together were so nice to see, yet so painful to read. Their paths separated when she was very young and she needs time to forgive her father and let him know the woman she is now.

“If I leave anything behind in this world, I hope it is my work.”

I wanted Sigrud, I missed that big guy and I had to wait a lot to see him. I was wondering if he was going to appear at all at some point. He was wearing elegant clothes, clothes of course he was forced to wear but hate them. The hat!!! I was picturing this wonderful one-eyed big man with that horrible hat and I laughed. I want someone to draw him, I need to see him not only in my head. I agree with a review that says the ending was too cruel for him. I agree 100%, that ending could have been a little different but I have hope in the sequel (that I want right now) to make things better, to fix everything that needs to be fixed. Sigrud is a wonderful character, you can’t hate him, you’ll love him, you’ll have so much feelings for him and when he suffers you suffer with him. So much pain I felt, heartbroken is not enough to describe those last chapters.

City of Blades is a smart book, it gives you many points of views, you understand what everyone is thinking and feeling. You are put behind their eyes, behind their hopes, their horror, the pain they experience. You are given the opportunity to be one of them, to immerse yourself in the story, you’re there with them and not just reading about the main character’s misadventures.
Mr. Bennet did a hell of a job with this sequel, it is as great as its predecessor and I expect nothing less from its sequel.

Do I recommend it? Yes, 100% yes, just like it’s predecessor.
Rate: 5/5

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City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

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City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1)

Title: City of Stairs
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Why you should read this book: Sigrud ♥ (read the book and you will understand)

Quotes I loved
– “Do not tempt me with your secret femininity!”
– “There are times that I kind of like my job.”
– “I no longer sound like Shara. Now I sound like a gossipy wife.”
– “She did not think it was love. She did not think it was love when she felt a curious ache and anxiety when he was not there; she did not think it was love as she felt relief wash over her when she received a note from him; she did not think it was love when she sometimes wondered what their lives would be like after five, then, fifteen years together. The idea of love never crossed her mind.”

City of Stairs is about the investigation in Bulikov of the murder of a historian by Shara, a woman sent by Saypur, and her secretary Sigrud, an extremely big and mysterious man from the North. Their job is to understand who killed Shara’s historian friend and why. Unfortunately they found themselves in more trouble than they expected.
Bulikov was a land ruled and protected by Gods; powerful Divinities now dead. Everything the Divinities created ceased to exist the moment they were killed and the city of Bulikov, once the most powerful, becomes a city with no history but only poverty. With the Gods’ death, Saypur is no longer slave of the Continentals, the men who ruled thanks to the Divinities’ help.
The murder makes brilliant Shara think that maybe there’s more than meets the eye, that he found something he shouldn’t have and he is dead because of that discovery. Maybe the Gods are not really dead, maybe someone is trying to bring them back.

That’s more or less the summary of the book without spoiling anything. There is so much more to write to convince everyone to read it but maybe you have to start reading it like I did, without even knowing what was it about.

I read the title, I liked the cover, the ratings were great; I decided to start reading it. It was worth it, every chapter reveals something more about the story but leaves something out so that it’s almost mandatory to keep reading until you can’t do it anymore. The characters were so well written, from the protagonists to side characters that don’t appear much. This was one of those books that screams “DON’T TRUST ANYONE”, I was anxious from beginning to end about any sudden revelation! Romance is there but it’s not important, it’s only one little piece of the giant puzzle that is Shara.

Shara is a brilliant woman. She uses her head to understand, she needs to know more and more, she is never satisfied until every detail is revealed. People don’t expect her to be so smart because she is, first, a woman, and second, she is from Saypur. Continentals hate Saypur people because they killed their Gods and they know about their history when they are forbidden to even think about it. Her brain is her best weapon and, trust me, she can use it perfectly well. She mastered the art of having always the right thing to say to make everyone shut up!

An important piece of Shara’s puzzle is Sigrud, the “not bad but also not good” giant. He is her secretary and he follows her everywhere; they are a perfect team! I loved Sigrud from the beginning: he is quiet, he is lethal, he can use his head and he is patient. Everything about him makes you love him and wanting to know more. Then you “see” he smiling and you melt because that’s the effect he had on me. He is one of those characters that don’t speak much but when they do, it’s always what needed to be said. Just like Ferb from Phinneas and Ferb (sorry about the comparison but he popped in my mind when I wrote that sentence).

There’s an image of Sigrud that will accompany me for the rest of my life. Another character also loved that image of him: Mulaghesh, Saypur general in Bulikov. A strong female character that finds herself in all that mess when she only wants to retire and be on a beach sunbathing for the rest of her life.

After Sigrud’s paragraph you may think he and Shara shared something more than work issues; you couldn’t be more wrong. I won’t tell you anything, you have to find out by yourself because, as I said before, this book is worth your time.

Mysteries to be solved, new information to elaborate, surprises around every corner. You will find yourself trying to figure out what is going on and maybe, like me, getting it almost all wrong! It was fun finding out the truth and realizing that I’m not a very good detective!

Do I recommend it? Yes, 100% yes.
Rate: 5/5

Still working of my writing style. This is my very first review of a whole book!
Time to choose a paperback book to read. After every ebook there is a book waiting for me!

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