Review: City of Bones by Martha Wells

Posted November 2, 2023 by Jen in Rating A, Reviews, Sci-Fi or Fantasy Fiction Tags: , , ,

Book cover of City of Bones by Martha WellsCity of Bones
Martha Wells
Sophia Rose
Rating: A

What I’m Talking About:

Earlier this year, I ventured to pick up my first fantasy read by the author after being introduced to her work through her sci-fi, Murderbot Diaries series.  Next, I spotted City of Bones and was well-primed to enjoy another fantasy world and the author’s wry writing style.  

I was unaware until after I grabbed it that City of Bones is a re-release re-write, and the book was actually among one of her first books ever written.  I’m not sure what the older edition of City of Bones read like, but I was no ends of impressed once again with a clever worldbuilding, characters, and twisting intrigue of an exciting plot.  This didn’t feel like an early effort, but was a solid fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic world.

The star of the book, Khat, is a humanoid called a Krisman, a desert people, but not human.  The kris were created by the Ancient mages with some extras that allow them to thrive in the Wastes outside the human cities.  I had a Murderbot moment when I realized that this very created set up left his situation precarious with the humans who saw him as disposable, drawing a sarcastic humor out of him, and was the driving factor to work with the mysterious Warder when hired.  Khat and his human partner, Sagai are artifact dealers and take on work outside the protection of the city.  I loved Khat from the get go and wanted to see him get untangled from the trouble he’s in due to debt and staying out of the eye of certain humans.

While the world is all magic, desert fantasy, ancient artifacts that lead to the Warder and others scrambling to get their hands on certain pieces for a mysterious purpose, this was heist-style adventure, too.  It took a bit to get going with a ponderous pace at first, but I was ready for that and eagerly awaited when things really got rolling showing twists and surprises plenty.  

By the end, and this was a longer piece, I was disappointed to see it end.  Sadly, yes, it’s a standalone, but one can hope for more in this world.  I would say this is a good gateway for sci-fi lovers to get into fantasy since the world is post-apocalyptic and the adventures are treasure hunt-style making it have a wider audience appeal.

My Rating: A
Sophia Rose

About the Book:

Before Martha Wells captured the hearts of MILLIONS with her Murderbot series , there was Khat, Sagai, and Elen, and a city risen out of death and decay…

The city of Charisat, a tiered monolith of the Ancients’ design, sits on the edge of the vast desert known as the Waste. Khat, a member of a humanoid race created by the Ancients to survive in the Waste, and Sagai, his human partner, are relic dealers working in the bottom tiers of society, trying to stay one step ahead of the Trade Inspectors.

When Khat is hired by the all-powerful Warders to find relics believed to be part of one of the Ancients’ arcane engines, he, and his party, begin unravelling the mysteries of an age-old technology.

This they expected.

They soon find themselves as the last line of defense between the suffering masses of Charisat and a fanatical cult, bent on unleashing an evil upon the city with an undying thirst for bone.

That, they did not expect.

This updated and revised edition is the author’s preferred text.

Release Date: September 5, 2023
paperback (416 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: NetGalley

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)