Fortunately, it is never too late so long as one still has the desire to discover new authors and new books. To this end, I have certainly found a new favourite author of amazing talent as far as I am concerned.
I have been reading fantasy for three decades. From well-known classics like Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance, The Belgariad & The Mallorean, The Riftwar Cycle, The Wheel of Time to modern fare, such as my all-time favourite Sanderson's Cosmere, The Kingkiller Chronicles, Riyria Revelations & Chronicles, Gentleman's Bastards, The Faithful and The Fallen, and grimdark the likes of the stunning Malazan Book of the Fallen; just to name a few.
Most recently, I have also read a truly unique take in science fiction-fantasy by N.K. Jemisin in The Broken Earth trilogy, which made its way onto my favourites shelf by the time I finished it. The Divine Cities, however, did much better as I rounded up the first book's rating of 4.5 stars on Goodreads, and then being so floored by the second book it immediately became a favourite. Finally, the concluding volume of City of Miracles firmly impressed upon me that The Divine Cities is an enthralling masterpiece of sublime originality.
This was born in blood. It always was. It was born in conquest, born in power, born in righteous vengeance. And that is how it means to end. This is a cycle, repeating itself over and over again, just as your life repeats itself over and over again.
We come to this at the end of three books depicting a cycle of strife, war and discontent. Just as a previous superior race inflicted its dominance over another, the successor sought to never come under oppression again through atrocious means. What can our main protagonists possibly do to try to break this cycle?
The characterisation in this trilogy continues to captivate by staying true to the main characters that we have known since the first volume. We only have a few new introductions which are essential to the story and plot as the lore surrounding the Divinities and miracles are revealed through a gloriously epic apotheosis of events. I couldn't praise Bennett enough for his stellar characters and vividly rich worldbuilding, and even more for his skill in crafting an immensely compelling story with these tools of the trade.
I loved and enjoyed reading about all the main characters from the very first book, but the one that had yet to take centre stage was Sigrud je Harkvaldsson. I was delighted to learn that we are going to conclude this magnificent trilogy with his POV. The story took place thirteen years after the events in City of Blades, and the consequences of Sigrud's actions at the end of that book as well as the cumulative effect of all that he had done in the years as an operative weighed heavily on his psyche. Just like how the character of Mulaghesh was shaped in the reader's mind in City of Stairs and then carried forward into its sequel as the perfect main protagonist for the story therein, Sigrud's propensity for violence, his supernatural skills and ability to survive against all odds that we have seen since the beginning play a significant role in the plot resolution of this concluding volume.
You have a choice, a choice I never did. You have a choice to be different. You, who have defeated many by strength of arms, you will have a moment when you choose to do as you have always done, or you can choose to do something new.
As with most of my reviews at the end of a series, I will keep this relatively short to avoid revealing much of which is better left to be discovered. The conclusion of this trilogy was beautifully bittersweet and emotionally powerful. In short, it was perfection. Everyone who loves fantasy should read this for one of the most original and brilliant creations the genre has to offer. Highly, highly recommended.