Title: City of Lies
Author: Sam Hawke
Publisher: Tor Books, July 2018
Blurb: I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me…
Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.
But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising…and angry.
Winner of the 2018 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel, the 2018 Ditmar Award for Best Novel and the 2018 Norma K Hemming Award (for works exploring issues of gender, disability, race or class).
Happy Friday, lovelies!
It’s time for another book review, this time over a much overdue read that I’m very glad I finally got to: City of Lies by Sam Hawke. I’d heard a lot about this book online from the community, so it was already on my radar and a definite book I wanted to read. Then, I spoke with Sam on Twitter on numerous occasions and she’s just plain awesome, so my desire to read this book increased EVEN MORE. But, finances being where they are, I couldn’t get a hold of a copy for my own personal library (yet), so I went to my library, who didn’t have it (which surprised me). But, bless the library gods who are so kind to me, I asked if they could purchase a copy for our library and they DID and then I checked it out and read it immediately.
It lives up to the hype.
I mean, I knew from the first line this was going to be a solid read. The levels of political intrigue were just off the charts and I loved how layer after layer got pulled apart and revealed. Of course, I never called any of the reveals (I’m pretty shite at ever figuring out a plot point before it’s revealed to me), so that just made the read that much more enjoyable, becoming as surprised as I was.
Though I felt the pace in the first third to be a bit on the slower side, the pace in the final third rocked me to the point where I had to hide from my cat so she’d stop laying on my book begging for pets and let me read (honestly, this was a serious problem, I even complained on Twitter about it).
I loved how Sam never hesitates to pull her punches and she forces the characters to truly deal and feel the reality of their situation–much of which, the blame falls at least partly on their shoulders, just like blame also falls on those they’ve wronged. And I think that was my favorite aspect, how the war–and the reason it began–isn’t so cut and dry as a one-group-felt-this-when-reality-is-simply-this. It’s much more complex, gray instead of black and white, and multilayered in it’s complexity and depth, which I really appreciated. I also loved that, though our characters grew and rose to the occasion they were dealt with, we never lose the sense that they are still children, in many ways, living up to these new roles, and I’m glad that we got to see them struggle and actually SEE their growth into this roles, without losing sight of what they are truly being asked to do.
The world is riveting, the characters are complicated and three-dimensional and the political intriguing and layers of betrayal and depth is dripping. This is a must read political fantasy for anyone in the genre and I’m positively stoked for The Hollow Crown, as well as anything else Sam decides to write.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 gems in the treasure horde