And the greatest city of them all is Charisat: Imperial seat and wonder of wonders, a great monolithic structure towering over the desert. Charisat, a phantasmagorical place where silken courtesans and beggars weave lies side by side, where any man’s dreams can be fulfilled at the whisper of a genie, and where the tier that you live on determines how high up the food (or more importantly, water) chain you are. It is the goal of every schemer, treasure hunter, and madman intent on finding his heart’s content — a place that dazzles the senses, makes the most somber mind dizzy with its scents and sights — and where no one knows friend from foe when it comes to the desperate fight for dwindling resources.
And where a beautiful woman and a handsome thief will try to unravel the mysteries of an age-old technology to stop a fanatical cult before they unleash an evil that will topple Charisat.
And destroy all the water in the world.
This fantasy city is set in the expansive desert, in a strange and unique multi-level tower-like city, with eight tiers. I has an intricate socio-economic system, an intricate caste system, and of course, plenty of political intrigue. The principle characters are mostly outcasts, except for the Warders, the diviner class. It all revolves around an ancient archaeological mystery having to do with closing a door to some other world or dimension so the evil beings there cannot enter into this world.
Here is a reviewer’s lovely and concise plot description. “City of Bones is set in the city of Charisat, one of the few major cities remaining after an apocalypse has nearly destroyed humanity. Cities are surrounded by a hostile, desert Waste, and survivors rely on the roads of the Ancients to travel from one city to another. In Charisat, Khat, a krisman, and Sagai, a foreign scholar, are bargaining with a relic trader when they are approached by the entourage of a heavily robed but obviously wealthy individual. The group wants guidance to a nearby Ancient Remnant. Of course, Khat has skills as a local expert in Ancient artifacts–but he is all too aware that a kris, he is also expendable. However, there is a debt he’d like to clear and both the guide money and the wealthy patronage could buy him a way out. When the caravan is attacked by pirates in the Waste outside the city, it sets off a chain of complex events that result in Khat working with the mystery person to ‘collect’ two more relics from inside the city of Charisat. The anonymous aristocrat is revealed early on, so I hesitate to say more at the risk of spoilers, but bone prophecies, thievery, the underground market, the academy, ghost spirits–so many elements make this an thoroughly intriguing read.”
I have to admit, I found it more interesting in the thinking about than in the reading of. I find suspending belief for beings of other dimensions difficult, especially when the world in which they appear is so well and completely described and built. So well that I tend to forget IT IS FICTION! haha
But I really liked the characters, and a bit of the snark of the Murderbot Diaries series can be seen in this book. So all in all, most fantasy readers will just love this stand alone book.