Now here is a fun alternate history fantasy book for you all

Written by
Robert Jackson Bennett in 2014

My reading list keeps growing. That’s an undeniable fact of having only so many hours in the day and so many good authors out there. Sometimes, you can wander off on your reading list and find some really good stuff, and City of Stairs is one of those examples.

Bulikov is an old city, once the capital of the entire world. Now, it lies in ruins, the result of a war that happened nearly eighty years ago, still not recovered. The conquerers, the Saypuri, were former slaves of the people of Bulikov, who used the powers of the six Divinities to subjugate them. Now, through the means of some mysterious type of technology, the Continentals have been rendered powerless, their gods killed or missing.

Let me say that despite this coming into the category of fantasy, there’s really not much of it. Yes, there’s a little bit of magic here and there, but you could easily classify it as a spy novel, or even an alternate history novel. Whatever floats your boat. But no matter the label, it’s just a fantastically well written adventure with characters and well used spots of humour.

The sign of a good book, especially one that has to spend the entire length of it building a world, is how quickly you can get immersed in it. This one got me from the first chapter, with witty humour and great characters. Even better, it has great pacing and the plain language helps to instantly grab your attention. Also, its content is not difficult to understand, unlike some fantasy authors who feel compelled to bombard the reader with new terms right from the get-go.

There are probably dozens of books on everyone’s reading list, but if you’re into science fiction and fantasy books without the sort of bleak darkness that seems to be all the rage these days, look no further than City of Stairs. I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it.


Never heard of the author, but he’s now on my list of favourites.

Read this if you…

Like your fantasy/detective/spy/action/alternate history novels with a nice dash of humour.

Don’t read this if you…

Have a quota of fictional beheadings of beloved characters to fulfill per day. I’m looking at you GRRM…


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