Book Review: City of Bones by Martha Wells (Four Stars)


Book Review: City of Bones by Martha Wells

(Four Stars)

“If you had any common courtesy you’d die now and save me this trouble.”

A pleasure to read; sorry it ended. Post-apocalyptic steampunk fantasy with a protagonist who is an alien to a culture which may need exactly his expertise to survive. Excellent world building. Leavened with self-depreciating humor. This early (1995) work foreshadows Wells’ talent, since exhibited in her Murderbot tales.

“If I fail, everything terrible that happens next will be my fault. That’s the perfect end to my life, don’t you think?” “If you fail, I promise not to tell anybody.”

Good character development with lots of cross purposes and confused motives. Scene setting is rationed out with the story telling, allowing the reader to become immersed in the confusion and cynicism of Khat, the protagonist.

“Why is a clear conscious necessary? All it takes is a confused sense of duty and a disregard for personal survival.”

Self-contained story, a rarity in current speculative fiction. Wells builds tension for her protagonist, gradually letting the reader discover the approaching cataclysm.

“Khat had been lucky. Luck was nice, but it left him uneasy, knowing the more he had of it now, the more likely it was to fall spectacularly at some later point.”

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