City of Lies (Poison Wars #1)
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.

City of Lies (Poison Wars #1) Details

TitleCity of Lies (Poison Wars #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 3rd, 2018
PublisherTor Books
Rating
GenreFantasy

City of Lies (Poison Wars #1) Review

  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher—Tor—in exchange for an honest review.An alluring debut imbued with a perpetual threat of lies and treachery.City of Lies is Sam Hawke’s debut novel and the first book in the Poison Wars series. For the same reason as one of my most anticipated debuts of the year—The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang—I was intrigued by this one because of the amazing cover. Yes, I’m a sucker for a book with great cover art and I’m not ashamed of it. The main difference though is that I’ve wait ARC provided by the publisher—Tor—in exchange for an honest review.An alluring debut imbued with a perpetual threat of lies and treachery.City of Lies is Sam Hawke’s debut novel and the first book in the Poison Wars series. For the same reason as one of my most anticipated debuts of the year—The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang—I was intrigued by this one because of the amazing cover. Yes, I’m a sucker for a book with great cover art and I’m not ashamed of it. The main difference though is that I’ve waited for this one for so much longer than The Poppy War; since last September to be exact, when the cover was first revealed. Other than that, I seriously knew nothing about the book except the fact that two of my favorite authors of all time—John Gwynne & Robin Hobb—have already praised this debut. Now that I’ve read it, I have to agree with them that this is a great debut, but at the same time, it’s certainly different from my usual fantasy read.The reason it’s different is that there are almost no magic or magical creatures here. The book also wasn’t completely character-driven the way I like it, but I found it a good balance between plot and character-driven with the plot being the central focus. However, the main reason why it’s so different is that this book is more of a mystery; let’s call it whodunit fantasy. Readers tend to love stories about assassins and we read books from the perspective of the assassin. The narration in City of Lies went in the complete opposite direction by letting the readers experience the perspectives of those who guard against assassins.The story began when the Chancellor was poisoned using an unknown poison and an army laying siege to the city. It’s now up to Jovan—a master of poison and chemicals—and Kalina—Jovan’s sister—to protect the city from the upcoming chaos. It’s an original take and something I’ve never read in fantasy novels, and I always appreciate originality. As I mentioned before, this is a whodunit story; the entire books focused on the question “who did it?” and I guarantee you every chapter will keep on making you think “I think he/she did it.” The storyline was great and I love the main themes in this book: honor, religion, and the fact that ignorance towards nature and culture is not bliss. “Honor lives on after you die. It’s the mark we carve on the world. It’s living fairly and respectfully. If you don’t live with honor, what’s the point?” Seeing that this is more of a mystery fantasy, I’ll stop talking about the plotline here and start discussing the other factors. But first, let me just say that the book felt like a standalone. I actually have no idea how the author will expand the story from here; it feels like everything have been resolved already.The world-building is great. The entire setting of the book took place in one city but the scope never felt small. Every chapter also began with the name of a poison in this world, with the description, symptoms, and how to prove the poison has been used. I did wish to see more of the poisons at play in the story because there were only a few on the list that actually appeared in the book. However, I think this was a nice touch and maybe the author will use it for future sequels. Hawke’s prose was easy to read but it never was simple; it almost felt a bit like reading Hobb’s prose.Honestly, this was a great debut and I wish I could rate it higher but I have one issue with it: it’s the lack of voice distinction between the two main characters. It’s not that the characters are bad or poorly written at all. Jovan in particular as the main character was great; he was flawed and felt totally realistic. My gripe with it is that ever since her first POV, I had a hard time focusing on Kalina’s side of the story. It felt like there wasn’t enough unique voice given to her character and during several sections of my reading time, I actually had to remind myself that I was reading about Kalina and not Jovan’s POV. The book was told from dual 1st person perspective but I don’t think Kalina’s POV was really necessary. She’s more of an observer and supporting character, and it wasn’t until the last 25% of the book that her POV gripped me. In my opinion, this book would be even better if Jovan was the sole POV of the story. His perspective was great from start to finish and it was incredibly hard to put down the book every time it was his turn, but sadly I can’t say the same for Kalina’s.This year’s adult fantasy debuts from female authors have been incredible and I’m really satisfied by the two debuts I’ve read so far. Last year, Godblind was good but I didn’t find it as amazing as some of my reviewer colleagues did, and I couldn’t even make it through the third chapter of The Court of Broken Knives and I know I will never pick it up again. This year though, I’m very satisfied with the two I’ve read so far.City of Lies may not be the kind of fantasy that I usually read. It’s very heavy on mystery and very low on fantasy aspect, there are almost no epic battles waged, and it’s not heavily character-driven. But in the end, it still managed to win my heart. If you’re looking for a unique and fascinating fantasy book where every chapter always leaves you with a questioning “did he/she do it?” City of Lies should without a doubt be your destination.The quote in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.Official release date: July 3rd, 2018 (US) and August 23rd, 2018 (UK).You can pre-order the book HERE! You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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  • Robin Hobb
    January 1, 1970
    My usual caveat: I know Sam Hawke as a personal friend. I don't think this affects what I say about books, but I like to be transparent.Are you tired of books about assassins? Noble assassins, sociopath assassins, assassins you'd like to date, etc? Have you wondered about the flip side of that coin? Who guards against assassins? Who would be in a position to thwart the one(s) eager to put the Chancellor into the ground?This is the tale of Jovan and his sister Kalina. They are heirs to the family My usual caveat: I know Sam Hawke as a personal friend. I don't think this affects what I say about books, but I like to be transparent.Are you tired of books about assassins? Noble assassins, sociopath assassins, assassins you'd like to date, etc? Have you wondered about the flip side of that coin? Who guards against assassins? Who would be in a position to thwart the one(s) eager to put the Chancellor into the ground?This is the tale of Jovan and his sister Kalina. They are heirs to the family heritage of proofing. Their uncle routinely puts his life and health on the line to protect the Chancellor from poisoners. Since Kalina's delicate health prevented her from assuming the mantel of proofer, her younger brother Jovan has stepped up to take the training and to assume that role. Ostenisibly, Jovan is simply the well born best friend of the Chancellor's heir.But when both the Chancellor, and Jovan's uncle fall victim to a deadly poison never encountered before, Jovan must step up as Proofer. As the city comes under siege, Jovan must protect the chancellor's heir as he discovers that the high-minded values he has been brought up to believe are at the core of his city are revealed as a lovely web of lies.Sam Hawke unfolds this tale in a way that gradually widens the network of characters the reader comes to care for and respect. A strong mystery winds through the landscape of a lovely ciy and an elegant lifestyle that are ultimately based on lies. Dodging spoilers, I will add that Kalina's story thread was as compelling to me as Jovan's. Her emotions as she faces adversity and physical challenges were convincing and moving. The sibling relationship felt very real to me. Recommended for readers who enjoy mystery, compelling characters, cities with forgotten secrets and a nicely transparent style that never gets between the reader and the story.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    First in the Poison Wars series, and the debut novel by Sam Hawke, City of Lies starts out as a kind of murder mystery- the Chancellor of Silasta is fatally dosed with a substance unknown to his closest friend, secret guardian and master of poisons, Etan. His death, and the subsequent arrival of a similarly mysterious army outside the gates, seem more than coincidence. Investigations are left to the Chancellor’s Heir, Tain, and his two best friends, Jovan and Kalina, nice and nephew to Etan. The First in the Poison Wars series, and the debut novel by Sam Hawke, City of Lies starts out as a kind of murder mystery- the Chancellor of Silasta is fatally dosed with a substance unknown to his closest friend, secret guardian and master of poisons, Etan. His death, and the subsequent arrival of a similarly mysterious army outside the gates, seem more than coincidence. Investigations are left to the Chancellor’s Heir, Tain, and his two best friends, Jovan and Kalina, nice and nephew to Etan. These sibling protagonists relate most of the tale, as unfolding events expand into conspiracies which threaten the very way of life within the city. Sam Hawke has clearly thought deeply about what she wanted to say with her book. To tell a good story, that’s a given. But more than that, she’s considered what cities and societies really looks like, and decided to offer her readers a more genuine sense of humanity in all its forms. As a result, the variety in representation was wonderful, and effectively done, from skin tone to mental and physical disability, the alternative style of family life and raising children, to the ‘love as thou wilt’ philosophy. At no point did it feel forced, or a means of box ticking, as some people have suggested is the case when anything other than ‘straight, white’ is the choice of the day. If anything, she utilises character reactions to diversity as a means of challenging ways of thinking and behaviour, both within the book and without. Nobody gets it correct all the time or right away, but this is as much a book of ethical philosophy as anything else. Don’t worry though, it’s damn good fun too.What should have been an intrinsically fraught relationship between siblings, Kalina’s role as heir to Etan’s knowledge is ruined by her illness and thus passed to Jovan instead, is one filled with love and concern and annoyance. Anyone with a brother or sister will recognise at least parts of it, if not all. They seem to be a distorted mirror of each other; Jovan challenged by mental health issues, showing obsessive and anxious behaviours which are exacerbated when stressed; Kalina being more physically taxed after suffering childhood ailments, as well as educational poisonings by her Uncle. Each sibling sees the ‘weakness’ in the other, but only because they worry for each other’s health and want to offer support or protection, rather than considering it a defining characteristic or unassailable disadvantage. The brotherly concern is perhaps the more prominent and if it ever steps over into the domineering male territory, that’s ok too, because she takes no notice of him anyway. As sisters are likely to do. Poison is usually considered to be a woman’s weapon, and perhaps could be seen as yet another thing being taken from us, as dark as that is, if Kalina’s role had been negatively affected because of it. Instead, her physical fragility, and there are moments when her strength is literally lessened, does not in any way negate what she needs to get done. She uses it to subvert expectations, to misdirect, and play a role while working towards her own goals. Her mind is as sharp as they come and the two other characters in the book who know her well respect her for that. They listen when she talks. She gets to save the day, more than once. And thankfully, just because the protagonists are young, they don’t ignore obvious clues or miss the big signals, there’s no wilful stupidity here. Not only that, while the author added a bit of romance, it didn’t overwhelm the story, the brother/sister pair remain the most important relationship in the book, as well as their friendship with Tain. It’s refreshing. There’s so much here that will resonate with readers, it certainly did with me.The society and culture of Silasta is multilayered, well structured, and indicative of a whole realm beyond the immediacy of the action. Characters from elsewhere follow stereotypical gender roles and have more restrictive societies, but the author has made sure the so-called Bright City, portrayed as a kind of idealised Roman high society, follows a more enlightened path. Or so it seems on the surface. What comes next is a serious clash of cultures, a city/county, high/low society, educated/ignored divide that has brought people to desperate action. At first, the ruling council has an instinctive and deeply visceral reaction to the idea that their way of living is not only being threatened by their own people, but that they might just hold some responsibility for the way things have turned out. It is shocking to see even Jovan react negatively to the idea that his perfect society could cause so many ills to those outside the bright circle of wealth and privilege. This is where the magical element finally comes into play, as the city’s ignorance of natural and religious spirits of the land brings deadly consequences. Of course, you can just see this as really good fantasy, but oh my, the modern parallels are hard to ignore. Those sitting at the top, ignorantly or otherwise, are ever shocked when those beneath them start to question their place at the bottom. Sexism/Me Too, racism, the social care, mental health, and disability funding crisis, refugees…take your pick- the moral questions raised in the book about the way societies treat ALL their citizens (as well as those who want to join) are far from imagination.So, why not 5 stars then? Well, there are some issues with pacing and the occasional failure with flow, language that doesn’t quite hit the right note and moments that don’t feel like they need to be there. One romance, in particular, seems necessary only to set up something for the big finish. Equally, I’m not sure where the author plans to take the series. We’ve learnt so much about the three main characters, just enough to fill this book, but there’s not a whole lot left for the future. Or perhaps, not that much more we want to know? I liked the narrators, but I didn’t love them, and despite all the positives of the book, i’d still be happy to leave it here. If you’re looking for magic and mayhem, this is not really for you, but if you want layered intrigue with a whodunnit, it’s well worth your time.ARC via Netgalley
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  • Nick T. Borrelli
    January 1, 1970
    Click here for my full review:https://outofthisworldrev.blogspot.co...Let me start first by thanking Tor Books for providing me an advanced reader copy of this book, as the official release date for CITY OF LIES is July 3, 2018. I always appreciating receiving review copies before the actual publication date and I do not ever take that for granted. I also have to admit to being somewhat ignorant with regard to this title until very recently. However, once I read the synopsis of CITY OF LIES by S Click here for my full review:https://outofthisworldrev.blogspot.co...Let me start first by thanking Tor Books for providing me an advanced reader copy of this book, as the official release date for CITY OF LIES is July 3, 2018. I always appreciating receiving review copies before the actual publication date and I do not ever take that for granted. I also have to admit to being somewhat ignorant with regard to this title until very recently. However, once I read the synopsis of CITY OF LIES by Sam Hawke, I thought it sounded incredibly intriguing and immediately requested an advanced copy. CITY OF LIES is Australian author Sam Hawke's first novel and the very first entry in her Poison Wars series. The buzz is really beginning to grow for this book and for Sam Hawke to have landed with Tor so early in her career is just a testament to the talents that Tor feels she already possesses as an author. Couple that with the fact that she and Robin Hobb are personal friends and I absolutely couldn't wait to read this, seeing as Ms. Hobb is definitely on my top three authors of all time list. With all of that in mind, I quickly jumped into the story of Jovan and his sister Kalina.CITY OF LIES begins with the line "I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me". Well, if that isn't an attention-grabber of a first line I don't know what is! The story unfolds in the city of Silasta, also know as " The Bright City". Silasta is by all accounts a cultured and wealthy city of the privileged but also rife with corruption and greedy capitalistic abuses. The downtrodden who live in the surrounding areas of Silasta have been attempting an overthrow of the city for some time, fomenting riots and other public displays of defiance. However, the Chancellor of the city is an incredibly powerful man who has been able to stave off every coup attempt and has managed to marginalize the less-fortunate masses living outside of the city and keep them relatively under control. That is until the day that two highly influential members of the hierarchy are poisoned and the Chancellor is faced with the very real possibility that there is an undetected assassin afoot within the walls of Silasta itself. Enter the two main characters of CITY OF LIES Jovan and Kalina. They are both what are known as "proofers". Essentially the job of a proofer is to guard against their leaders being poisoned either through their food of by various other means. The way they are trained for this incredibly important job is to be gradually poisoned at a very early age and then throughout their lives so that they can develop a sort of immunity to poisons while also being able to detect hundreds of different forms and essences of those poisons before they ever reach the lips of the people who they are charged to guard. Jovan is thrust into the role of guarding the privileged heir of the Chancellor Tain when his sister Kalina's health is too frail to carry out her duties. When the two leaders of Silasta are poisoned (one of whom happens to be Jovan and Kalina's uncle, the still fairly inexperienced Jovan must learn quickly because the fate of Silasta and its stranglehold on the populace is very much in danger. As word slowly leaks out of their deaths, the rebellion gains more confidence, seeing it as an opportunity and a chink in the armor of the otherwise impregnable city. As a result Jovan, Kalina, and the heir Tain rush to solve the murders before any more occur and the ensuing instability causes an overthrow of Silasta and its noble ruling class. It is in the process of attempting to solve the poisoning murders that the three begin to peel back the layers of the truth at the heart of the city of Silasta and start to question what they have always been taught about their upbringing and world. For Silasta is not the Utopian society it has always been portrayed as for these three friends, and when they are faced with the reality of the deceit and intolerance that is a matter of course in the city, their entire perspective is devastatingly altered. How will that effect their future and the future of the city that they have always called home? Will the heir to the Chencellorship Tain be open to the truth or will he reject it in an effort to guarantee and solidify his power and eventual ascension as the future Chancellor of Silasta?I love when I have absolutely zero expectations before I read a book. That's by no means a knock, I just mean that I had read no reviews of this book nor had I seen any marketing material other than the cover and back-cover synopsis. It really makes reading a book like this a freeing experience and you can just let the story unfold and wash over you with no preconceived notions as to what you are about to read. There are so many things that I liked about this book. The first one was the constant switching of viewpoint perspective with each chapter, alternating between both Jovan and Kalina. At first I didn't think I was going to like it and I was a bit confused. However, as the book went on I felt that it enhanced the story for me. I enjoyed seeing the events taking place through the eyes of two different people in very different situations. Once I got used to the fact that each chapter would be told through alternating perspectives, I loved it. Another thing that I liked about the book was the exceptional world-building. The city of Silasta is fascinating and the backstory of the disgruntled lower-class trying to overthrow their oppressive leaders was a deftly-handled one. It's a timeless plot theme really and we as readers can easily relate to a story like this because we've seen it in the real history of our world on many occasions. Lastly, I'd like to touch on the characters, most specifically the brother and sister duo of Jovan and Kalina. It is here where Sam Hawke really shows her prowess as a writer. The complex relationship between the two while also balancing that with the obvious love that they have for each other carries the story and lifts it from simply a good tale to a great one. I highly recommend CITY OF LIES and the good news is that this is just the first book in hopefully a long series where we can enjoy this world and these characters for years and years to come.
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Jovan is the quiet and forgettable friend of Tain, the Chancellor’s charming yet irresponsible Heir. He's also a master of poisons and chemicals. He has been trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from unknown dangers. When the Chancellor falls to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect Tain and save the city-state of Silasta. But treachery lurks in every corner, and the a I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Jovan is the quiet and forgettable friend of Tain, the Chancellor’s charming yet irresponsible Heir. He's also a master of poisons and chemicals. He has been trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from unknown dangers. When the Chancellor falls to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect Tain and save the city-state of Silasta. But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising...and angry.City of Lies by Sam Hawke is now easily one of my favorite reads of 2018 - and one of the best debut novels I've read all year long. Believe me when I saw that you need this fantasy novel in your life. The author's writing style immediately hooked me - right from the first line actually. What kept me coming back for more though was the author's stunning world-building and her brilliant character development, plus there's a fascinating magic system to back everything up. This book is over 500 pages and I was so enamored by her style that I managed to speed through it in what amounted to three or four reading binges. I didn't want to put my Kindle down for a second, but unfortunately work got in the way. If I'd had my way, I would have attempted to devour it in only one sitting!Like I said before, this novel has some of the best world-building I've had the opportunity to experience this year. The city-state of Silasta is practically a character on its own. It's so vividly presented I felt like I could have walked the streets with Jovan, Kalina, and Tain at my side. The description of the setting with everything from daily operations, class, political and societal views, and religion (and the lies everything is built upon, naturally) is so tightly threaded into the core of the story that it felt like a living and breathing entity. Even though we really only get to see the city-state of Silasta with a taste of other locales, the story never managed to feel restricted in anyway since we have such a great sense of Silasta it becomes more than just a place in the mind of the reader. This debut also features some truly remarkable characters with Jovan, Kalina, and Tain. Like with the world they inhabit, I truly felt like over the course of more than 500 pages I got a great sense of who they were as people as they progressed and developed. The story is told in alternating POVs between Jovan and his sister Kalina. I loved getting to know both of them, but I found myself drawn to the chronically ill Kalina in particular - as great as Jovan is Kalina really steals all of her scenes as she goes toe to toe with her equally skilled brother. As much as I enjoy a fantasy featuring assassins, I have to say it was brilliant seeing the reverse here with leading characters who have been tasked with preventing assassination via poisoning.Overall, City of Lies by Sam Hawke is an absolutely brilliant debut that I can't recommend enough. You will want to devour this fantasy all at once because you can't put it down. If you like V.E. Schwab, I have a feeling you'll be just as impressed by Sam Hawke's storytelling, character developing, and world-building abilities. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where the Poison Wars series goes from here. It's going to be brilliant, I can feel it!Thanks, NetGalley!
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  • Ian Segal
    January 1, 1970
    City of Lies is palatably poisonous! There’s no antidote that will counter the effects of being fully enraptured by this book!I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, Macmillan-Tor/Forge Books, in e-book format for an honest and unbiased review. I would like to extend a special thanks to NetGalley, Tor Books, and especially Sam Hawke for crafting an unparalleled tale! New author Sam Hawke delivers us into a world of deception and intrigue, framed with the pen strokes of murder and m City of Lies is palatably poisonous! There’s no antidote that will counter the effects of being fully enraptured by this book!I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, Macmillan-Tor/Forge Books, in e-book format for an honest and unbiased review. I would like to extend a special thanks to NetGalley, Tor Books, and especially Sam Hawke for crafting an unparalleled tale! New author Sam Hawke delivers us into a world of deception and intrigue, framed with the pen strokes of murder and mystery, while immersed inside the scholastics of poisons and all their intricate detail.City of Lies is the debut novel by Sam Hawke—part of her evolving Poison Wars series. The first-person POVs switch from chapter to chapter—very unique, keeping the reader on his or her toes while appreciating other dimensions that are different from traditional story telling views. The world-building is crafted with great detail within the confines of one city—however, you never feel as though this “ecosystem” is small. Hawke carves out a world that is dimensional with strong character development. I particularly enjoyed how each chapter began with a brief tutorial regarding the efficacy of a different poison—I felt like I was going through a pharmaceutical clinical trial in a fantastical setting—this was entertaining!The story flowed with dialogue and description that was easy to read and follow, and kept my interest all the way through to the end. Definitely something different than your typical fantasy telling, but this one will have you intrigued and excited to dive into the next book in the Poison Wars series as soon as you finish this one.I’m looking forward to more masterful story-telling from Sam Hawke to follow City of Lies—Hawke’s triumphant entry into the world of fantasy fiction!
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  •  Charlie - A Reading Machine
    January 1, 1970
    City of Lies was entertaining from start to finish. It was incredibly refreshing to see poison front and centre in a book. City of Lies follows the two viewpoints of brother and sister combo Jovan and Kalina, whose uncle is the poison taster or ‘proofer’ for the ruling chancellor. When they are both killed by an unknown toxin, Jov’s best friend Tain is elevated to the throne and it is up to Jov to not only solve the mystery of who poisoned his Uncle but also protect the new ruler. Whilst all thi City of Lies was entertaining from start to finish. It was incredibly refreshing to see poison front and centre in a book. City of Lies follows the two viewpoints of brother and sister combo Jovan and Kalina, whose uncle is the poison taster or ‘proofer’ for the ruling chancellor. When they are both killed by an unknown toxin, Jov’s best friend Tain is elevated to the throne and it is up to Jov to not only solve the mystery of who poisoned his Uncle but also protect the new ruler. Whilst all this is going on a well-organised rebellion has begun driven by the common folk striving to return the spirits to the land and reclaim the rights that were sacrificed to make Salista, the Bright City, the metropolis it is. On top of this the army is fighting it’s own battles elsewhere and is seemingly unreachable leaving just a handful of fighting men and villagers to man the walls.Jov and Kalina are both engaging characters. Kalina was the original choice to be heir to her Uncle but her body never truly recovered from her first ‘practice poisoning’. Propelled by a fierce devotion to her friends and family and thrust into uncertain circumstances she must rely on an inner strength, her smarts, her skills as an orator and the fact that everyone underestimates her, to become an important player in the game. Jov is earnest in fulfilling his role as Tain’s protector, eager to honour his family and the duty they have always performed and torn by the death of his mentor and his own inability to solve the puzzle before him. They were two distinct and interesting voices and I enjoyed switching between the two of them throughout the course of the book.There were a couple of nice pieces of world building that made this one stand apart particularly in the treatment of tradition gender paths. As the father of a two year old girl I enjoyed reading that in this world the females were acknowledged as the dominant contributor to genetic lines and it was males that took on the last names of their loved ones when marrying. A string of male heirs has brought down many a house and it was a nice twist on the norm that I had pretty much taken for granted.There’s something about poison, it’s certainly an interesting option if one was seeking to dispose of an enemy. I rarely sit down wondering how I would storm a wall, or defeat a Cyclops but poisoning someone is something really anyone can do and it set my mind wandering. I think a good way to take someone out would be to taint the wheel of a car or considering the genre the reins of a horse and carriage. It would not be a 100% reliable which is a weakness but a sudden loss of consciousness or even a distortion of vision at high speed could be enough to cause an accident, which would be the true cause of death. Would poison be a consideration if someone’s head was ten feet away in a ditch? Is it healthy to be asking these sorts of questions? DO YOU SEE WHAT SAM HAWKE HAS DONE TO ME???City of Lies is thought provoking and original with a wicked pace that makes it impossible not to get sucked into. The threat of poison is a lurking menace and gives the story an undercurrent of tension with readers unable to escape the fact that at any second a touch, a fall, a bite, even a breath could be the end of a character they’ve come to like. Overall Hawke’s debut is fantastic and whilst this is part one of a series it is truly a complete and beautiful story all on its own. You should definitely buy this book. This review was originally posted on Fantasy Faction where I rather embarrassingly misspelt Kalina as Kamini.
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    Honor-down! City of Lies is a book filled with intrigue and violent passion, young idealism and old-world fanaticism, but most of all a loyalty among friends that will keep readers eagerly coming back for more of this series.Full review here: http://paulspicks.blog/2018/06/23/cit...All my reviews can be found here: https://paulspicks.blog
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  • Judy Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan - Tor/Forge for a digital galley of this novel.The greatest misunderstanding on the part of the citizenry living within the walls of Silasta is that those living without are happy with their lot in life. Nothing could be further from the truth as is revealed when the peasants suddenly surround the city and begin to force their way inside with revolution on their minds. As the story unfolds it turns out that the wealthy pampered citizens aren't the only ones who Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan - Tor/Forge for a digital galley of this novel.The greatest misunderstanding on the part of the citizenry living within the walls of Silasta is that those living without are happy with their lot in life. Nothing could be further from the truth as is revealed when the peasants suddenly surround the city and begin to force their way inside with revolution on their minds. As the story unfolds it turns out that the wealthy pampered citizens aren't the only ones who have been basing their actions on lies. As a debut novel from author Sam Hawke I couldn't help but be impressed by how well defined she has made both this physical world and the characters who populate it. In some ways that became a hindrance for me because the first quarter of the book moved rather slowly in order to establish this world and I had to keep pumping myself up to give it just a little more time for my interest to be fully engaged. The story is told from alternating viewpoints of Jovan and his sister Kalina. That construction of a novel will often leave me feeling frustrated and this was no exception since I would be enjoying what I was reading but the next chapter would abandon that line of the story arc in favor of another character and their perspective. I reconciled myself to this fact, but would have enjoyed it more if an unknown narrator had been the one telling the story. Before each chapter there is a description of a specific poison, its symptoms and how a proofer can recognize when it has been used. These bursts of information would have been much more interesting if they had always led to that poison being used or suspected. In fact, poison recedes into the background once it is used to get the story started. I also didn't understand how the inherited family position of proofer against poisoning attempts on the life of the Chancellor could have been practiced in secret, or even why it was truly necessary for that to be a secret association between two of the six ruling families.All in all I can say I enjoyed this first book in the Poison Wars series but I doubt I will read the next book. Actually a 3.5 star read for me but I bumped the rating up to a 4 because I did enjoy the action taking place in the story.
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  • Cass
    January 1, 1970
    Thoroughly thrilling! Part espionage intrigue, part class warfare, part murder mystery, CITY OF LIES is a captivating and occasionally heart-wrenching tale. The world is full and detailed: Silasta feels like a real city, with shades of Rome, London, or Tenochtitlan, yet entirely itself. Jovan and Kalina are compelling protagonists, each with glorious strengths and touching vulnerabilities. I greatly enjoyed this and look forward to continuing the series! (Copy received from NetGalley for review)
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    City of Lies was an incredible piece of storytelling and by far one of my favourite early reads of the year so far.Considering it’s not a short novel I banged through it in record time- pretty much three binge reading sessions where I immersed myself into the the city of Silasta, with its vibrant eclectic cultures and wide range of characters, where we meet Jovan and Kalina, the narrator’s of this epic tale, both of whom you will stick with through thick and thin.“I was seven years old the first City of Lies was an incredible piece of storytelling and by far one of my favourite early reads of the year so far.Considering it’s not a short novel I banged through it in record time- pretty much three binge reading sessions where I immersed myself into the the city of Silasta, with its vibrant eclectic cultures and wide range of characters, where we meet Jovan and Kalina, the narrator’s of this epic tale, both of whom you will stick with through thick and thin.“I was seven years old the first time my Uncle poisoned me” – well if that first line doesn’t make you read on I don’t know what will. The thing with City of Lies is it’s immediate hook, the way the author builds the world and your understanding of it so beautifully and so quickly then drags you along with this brother and sister team as they realise something is rotten underneath the surface of this seemingly idyllic place and get plunged into a siege. Determined to protect the so called Bright City and it’s young untested chancellor Tain, secrets and lies are everywhere.There is a wonderful mystical undercurrent here that allows an exploration of prejudice in all it’s forms and the supporting cast of characters are all so so engaging- good, evil and all the shades inbetween you can’t help but get totally caught up in this fight for survival and search for a moral truth.The political landscape is cleverly woven into the story allowing for machinations aplenty and you should always expect the unexpected. The setting is descriptively perfect and it is beautifully written throughout.The relationship between Jovan and Kalina is so well described- their family history and that of their home  is compelling and intricately woven into the narrative. I especially felt for Kalina, weak in body but certainly not in mind or spirit, she is perhaps one of the best female protagonists I’ve seen in recent years. She does have some competition from Hadrea though….The action is all consuming, the quieter moments are thought provoking on many levels, the ending was perfect (I NEED the next book) what Sam Hawke has done here is pure magic on the page.The ancient spirits may be rising but they’ll have to wait in line – I am hook, line and sinkered and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Silasta, the wider world around it and of course our motley crew of hero’s and heroine’s  who stand between the darkness and the light.Highly recommended. With bells on. Don’t miss it.
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  • Sharade
    January 1, 1970
    As the kids say, I have all the feels.Review to come. And *yes*, pre-order it you guys. It's awesome.--------------------------------------------------------------------------I received a digital ARC from the publisher, Tor, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Have you ever encountered books that push all the right buttons, play all the right notes, tick all the boxes — in short, fit so well your tastes that it feels like it was written for you?City of Lies is that kind of book for me As the kids say, I have all the feels.Review to come. And *yes*, pre-order it you guys. It's awesome.--------------------------------------------------------------------------I received a digital ARC from the publisher, Tor, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Have you ever encountered books that push all the right buttons, play all the right notes, tick all the boxes — in short, fit so well your tastes that it feels like it was written for you?City of Lies is that kind of book for me.The story is told from the alterning points of view of Jovan and his sister Kalina. Both are at the service of the Chancellor and his heir, Tain, as it is tradition in their family. These three characters are, without a doubt, why I adored City of Lies. A few months ago, I wrote in a blog post about how nice protagonists are my favourites and how I wish to see more of them in fantasy. Tain, Jovan and Kalina are exactly the type of characters I crave. They are profoundly decent and their moral compass is on point, even when dealt with circumstances that are, to say the least, challenging.They are interesting as individuals: Jovan has a form of OCD that can be crippling but has to overcome it in order to fulfil his duty to Tain and protect him from harm; Kalina suffers from an invisible, chronic disease and can't shake her feeling of inadequacy; Tain has to shoulder responsibilities he's not ready for. But their dynamic is also a very strong aspect of the story. Their relationships are layers of love and friendship, guilt and resentment. I can't tell you how refreshing it feels to have complexity with characters that are not jerks.The plot alternates between action scenes and intrigue. There is an army besieging the city-state before the quarter of the book, and I expected the pacing to suffer from it. That wasn't the case. The tensions which arose during the siege and the twists and betrayals following the poisoning of the Chancellor kept my interest very much alive.The worldbuilding is meticulously thought of. I loved how rich and real the setting felt; there is a cohesiveness to it, from the way families are structured to the political make-up of the city. There is also a forgotten lore that is slowly unearthed throughout the book. If you're a fan, like me, of the "lost magic" trope, you'll find it in a certain form here. Since one of the main characters has an encyclopaedic knowledge of poisons, it is also a prevalent element in the setting.City of Lies explores themes that I found very appealing; the "otherisation" and xenophobia in times of trouble, social inequality, religion and traditions...Everything in this book, from characters to plot, from ideas to worldbuilding, made for a fantastic read. I really, really hope there will be sequels.This review was first published in The Fantasy Inn.
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  • Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.Who said big and chunky epic fantasy novels weren’t appetizing? Debut author Sam Hawke rushes to the table to prove their worth by serving us a delicious tale stuffed with poison, political treachery and ancient spirits. This dish however doesn’t come on the usual silver platter. What we find ourselves in front is a fantasy story grounded in mystery. As rare as they are, Sam Hawke showcases her outstanding storytelling talent and presents us a d You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.Who said big and chunky epic fantasy novels weren’t appetizing? Debut author Sam Hawke rushes to the table to prove their worth by serving us a delicious tale stuffed with poison, political treachery and ancient spirits. This dish however doesn’t come on the usual silver platter. What we find ourselves in front is a fantasy story grounded in mystery. As rare as they are, Sam Hawke showcases her outstanding storytelling talent and presents us a debut novel that is both visually-arresting and succulently-crammed with intrigue. All you have to do is let her clear-cut and meticulous writing style do all the talking.In City of Lies, readers are thrown into the complex city of Silasta and follow the adventures of both Jovan and his sister Kalina. Friends to the Chancellor’s heir, their skill set amounts to the art of proofing, which essentially consists of testing food for poisons. With their mastery of these substances and chemicals obtained through a ruthless training during their childhood, they have sworn to protect the Chancellor’s family from all attempts of assassination. It is upon an unexpected incident within the family that all hell broke loose, but finding out that the city is being besieged by an army is when they stop believing in coincidences and start driving head first into a wall of lies and corruption. The mystery that hence follows Jovan and Kaline urges them to desperately haunt for answers in order to protect the Heir and the city of Silasta from being overthrown.A fantasy story spiked with mystery is one of the most compelling and intriguing mix in literature. City of Lies embraces it with warmth and deadly desire, and delivers it within a political web of deception and class warfare. The mere societal structure developed by Sam Hawke in the city of Silasta is brilliant and helps give life to the city itself. Told in first person, with an alternative POV between both characters, readers find themselves slowly expanding their understanding of the intricacies of the city’s functioning, but also their understanding of the lies on which it is all built. How Sam Hawke progressively reveals bits and pieces of the answers to all the questions readers have is brilliant, but her ability to create even more doubt and dump more questions on her readers is even more outstanding.As if that wasn’t enough, Sam Hawke’s attention to poison is engrossing. Kicking off each chapter with a lesson on a particular poison in order to break it down to a concise and comprehensive look at them (description, symptoms and proofing cues), she ultimately makes a specialist out of all her readers. It’s pretty amazing to see how much of a threat any and all consumables can be, especially with Jovan and Kalina’s proofing skills that highlight the treacherous world in which the high-ranked folks live in. While the world-building and the mystery plot are both amazing, I found myself less mesmerized by the characters, even if they had some great moments. My inability to truly distinguish them from one another is my biggest complaint, but Jovan’s point of view makes up for it plenty.City of Lies turned out to be a dazzling debut novel from an author who definitely has a voice of her own. What she brings to the table is not the typical poison you’d find on your shelves, but an original, powerful and mystery-filled poison that will seduce you into wanting more.Thank you to Raincoast Books and Tor Books for sending me a copy for review!Yours truly,Lashaan | Blogger and Book ReviewerOfficial blog: https://bookidote.com/
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  • Ian Segal
    January 1, 1970
    New author Sam Hawke delivers us into a world of deception and intrigue, framed with the pen strokes of murder and mystery, while immersed inside the scholastics of poisons and all their intricate detail.City of Lies is the debut novel by Sam Hawke—part of her evolving Poison Wars series. The first-person POVs switch from chapter to chapter—very unique, keeping the reader on his or her toes while appreciating other dimensions that are different from traditional story telling views. The world-bui New author Sam Hawke delivers us into a world of deception and intrigue, framed with the pen strokes of murder and mystery, while immersed inside the scholastics of poisons and all their intricate detail.City of Lies is the debut novel by Sam Hawke—part of her evolving Poison Wars series. The first-person POVs switch from chapter to chapter—very unique, keeping the reader on his or her toes while appreciating other dimensions that are different from traditional story telling views. The world-building is crafted with great detail within the confines of one city—however, you never feel as though this “ecosystem” is small. Hawke carves out a world that is dimensional with strong character development. I particularly enjoyed how each chapter began with a brief tutorial regarding the efficacy of a different poison—I felt like I was going through a pharmaceutical clinical trial in a fantastical setting—this was entertaining!The story flowed with dialogue and description that was easy to read and follow, and kept my interest all the way through to the end. Definitely something different than your typical fantasy telling, but this one will have you intrigued and excited to dive into the next book in the Poison Wars series as soon as you finish this one.I’m looking forward to more masterful story-telling from Sam Hawke to follow City of Lies—Hawke’s triumphant entry into the world of fantasy fiction!
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  • Coolcurry
    January 1, 1970
    City of Lies will likely be one of my top debut novels of 2018. It’s an incredibly well written fantasy novel that has everything I love about fantasy and also feels like a breath of fresh air. The comparisons to Robin Hobb and Naomi Novik are not off base… but I think I actually prefer City of Lies.Jovan and Kalina’s family has a duty: to protect the Chancellor and his heir from death by poison. Their uncle is the Chancellor’s food tester and master of poisons, and he’s training Jovan to follow City of Lies will likely be one of my top debut novels of 2018. It’s an incredibly well written fantasy novel that has everything I love about fantasy and also feels like a breath of fresh air. The comparisons to Robin Hobb and Naomi Novik are not off base… but I think I actually prefer City of Lies.Jovan and Kalina’s family has a duty: to protect the Chancellor and his heir from death by poison. Their uncle is the Chancellor’s food tester and master of poisons, and he’s training Jovan to follow in his footsteps. This training is expected to continue for years to come… but then both the Chancellor and their uncle dies by a mysterious poison. The Chancellor’s heir (and Jovan and Kalina’s close friend) is now a potential target for whoever murdered their uncle. They’ve only begun to search for the poisoner when things get worse in a way none of them expected: an army shows up at the city gate, and they are promptly under siege. With their city’s own army away and communication difficult to impossible, there is no rescue in sight. Jovan and Kalina will have to save not only the Heir and themselves but also their entire city.Before I get down to the nitty gritty, I need to gush about how addicting this book was. It was just so good! I stayed up to nearly midnight when I had to wake up at 6 AM the next morning. I kept promising myself, “Just one more chapter,” and before I knew it, I’d gone and read the entire book. If you can’t tell from that, the pacing is great. And I guess I didn’t read the synopsis closely enough because I didn’t even know about the siege going in? When the army showed up, I was thrown for a loop in the most wonderful way. This book can get really intense!City of Lies also shakes up the genre in some great ways. To start with, while I’ve read plenty of fantasy books about assassins, I’ve never read a book with a protagonist who’s job is to guard against assassins. Well, at least not from the perspective of a food tester and poison master. There’s a lot of other fantastic, new, and vital things going on with this book from characters to world, but more on that later. I also want to talk about how City of Lies weaves together its plots so well! You’ve got the murder mystery of who killed the Chancellor, and you think that’s going to be the sole focus of the story when BAM they’re under siege! It’s like murder mystery + political intrigue + epic fantasy, and I love every bit of it.In the synopsis, I mention that Jovan is being trained as the new poison master. Well, before he started his training, his uncle tried to train Kalina. As the older sibling, she was first in line for the family duty, but her poor health meant that her life was in danger whenever she tried taking the small amounts of poison necessary to build up immunity. She knows she can’t take on the family responsibility… but she also feels like she’s overlooked and that people treat her like she’s inconsequential and doubt her abilities due to her chronic illness. To some extent, she’s turned this in her favor, becoming a spy master to secretly protect and serve the Chancellor and his heir.I really loved Kalina. When I was first considering picking up City of Lies, my big hesitation was that it would be a dude fantasy. You know, those fantasy books where the only woman of note is the girlfriend and she doesn’t do a whole lot, even if we’re told she’s badass. City of Lies wasn’t that. Kalina was just as much a protagonist as her brother. I also loved that she wasn’t the usual sort of heroine. I don’t think I’ve ever before read about a fantasy heroine with chronic illness, and I love that City of Lies allows her to take center stage and be an incredibly brave, smart and determined heroine.Speaking of disability representation, Jovan is also disabled. He has an anxiety disorder that read to me as OCD, although since this is a second-world fantasy, it’s never named. I’ve got general anxiety, not OCD, but some of his experiences felt familiar. I could go off on a whole rant about how fantasy and science fiction doesn’t have nearly enough characters with mental illness, but I’ll save it for later. Suffice to say, I’m very glad to have Jovan (and Kalina) as protagonists.City of Lies has fantastic world building. If you know me, you know I love great world building in my fantasy books. The city-state the story’s set in feels distinctly non-Western, although I can’t pinpoint any specific influences. It also isn’t a culture that honors violence or is really centered around warfare, which is another aspect that can be unusual in fantasy (or maybe I’ve just read too much grimdark). Jovan and Kalina’s culture also is egalitarian and matrilineal. Marriage is an unfamiliar concept, and women define the family. Jovan and Kalina’s mother caused a scandal by abandoning her family and running away with a man. It’s a bit of background information that doesn’t actually play into the larger story, but it shows you the cultural norms. Oh, and there isn’t any sexism or homophobia either. The protagonists are all straight (or at least aren’t explicitly shown to be anything other than heterosexual), but there’s enough background same-sex couples for it to be clear that it’s not a big deal in this world.The city is wealthy off of trade, and they’ve grown out of touch with the surrounding countryside… which appears to be where the army at the gates is from. There’s obviously a reason for that, and I won’t say too much more on it. This is also one of those fantasy books where the protagonists don’t think magic is real, that it’s just a myth from history. Meanwhile, you the reader are sitting there rubbing your hands, knowing they’ve got a huge surprise coming for them…City of Lies is also pretty low on romance, another reason it’s a good story for me. Not that there wasn’t romance — there was, but the most important relationships in the story tended to be platonic. I didn’t care much for the romance that was there, but that’s probably just a me thing. Anyway, they were both minor subplots so it wasn’t much of an annoyance.If I have one complaint, it’s that Jovan and Kalina’s voices could sound similar. City of Lies is told in alternating chapters of first person narration. Sometimes I could get confused about whether was reading Jovan or Kalina, as their voices weren’t distinctive. This feels like a problem I’ve seen a lot with debut novels using multiple first person narrators. It’s hard to create a distinctive voice, and City of Lies doesn’t manage it. It might have helped if the story was written in third person instead.But overall, I’m really hoping there’s sequels! So go out and get yourself copies so that Tor buys more books from Sam Hawke! If your tastes are similar to mine, you won’t be disappointed.I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.Review originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
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  • Sabrina The Trash Queen
    January 1, 1970
    Can’t wait for this one to come out! Poison and treachery? sign me it.
  • Henri CB
    January 1, 1970
    Boy I want to read this. If Terry Brooks and Robin Hobb love this book then I can't wait to get my hands on it. When does it come out?
  • Cupcakes & Machetes (Sweet or brutal, you never know which)
    January 1, 1970
    I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Fuck. Yes.One of my favorite reads of 2018 thus far.I’m so bubbled over with excitement that I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I guess with honesty. For about 75% of this book I was convinced it was going to be a 4 star read. Nothing wrong with that at all, but the last 25% really sent me over that edge. If epic fantasy is your preferred genre, as it is mine, then you know that a very high per I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Fuck. Yes.One of my favorite reads of 2018 thus far.I’m so bubbled over with excitement that I don’t even know where to begin with this review. I guess with honesty. For about 75% of this book I was convinced it was going to be a 4 star read. Nothing wrong with that at all, but the last 25% really sent me over that edge. If epic fantasy is your preferred genre, as it is mine, then you know that a very high percentage of the plots in the genre involve war or some type of battle between good and evil. Even as a fan of such, sometimes it gets to be too repetitive. Usually when that happens, I’ll just switch up genres for a bit. Or if I’m lucky, I’ll find a book that flips the paradigm around a bit. City of Lies is that lucky find. While it is about the opening of a war that has been undetected by the city involved until it’s too late, the story is encased in the city under siege. Much like the characters, you can’t escape the danger, lies and deceit around every alley corner in the city that may become your tomb. It is this atmosphere that sucks you in from the beginning. It’s a murder mystery wrapped in healthy helpings of fantasy.The Chancellor and his proofer (tester for poison) are murdered in the very beginning by the very thing the proofer is supposed to save the Chancellor from. Poison. A poison that no one can determine the source of or provide an antidote. The reign moves down the line to his nephew, Tain, who has his own proofer best friend, Jovan. This is the way of honor for Jovan’s family, protecting the ruling family from quiet murder. His older sister, Kalina, was supposed to be the next proofer but her poor health sidelined her from her destiny. Her little brother Jovan took up the family mantle, despite his eccentricities and obsessive compulsive disorder. A move that stung her deeply but she continued to find ways to make herself useful despite her disabilities.Before Tain, Jovan and Kalina can recover from the murder of their uncles, the city is under siege from an undefined foe. They are thrust into the roles they’ve prepared for their whole lives but never really thought would come. Together, they try to survive assassination attempts and determine what the enemy wants. But not knowing who the enemy is, handicaps their control of the situation.You don’t fully understand the beauty of the world building until the last 25% of the book as well. While trying to absorb this new world, I was quite busy being choked up about things happening to the characters. It was then that I realized just how much I loved this book.Go read it or I’ll sneak into your house and poison your whole family.
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  • Jenia
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my GOD I loved this book. I'm too lazy to write a proper review right now, but here's things this book had that I loved:- NICE CHARACTERS. Everyone wants to solve everything they can as diplomatically as possible. There's an army laying siege outside our gates -> "Let's figure out what they want, can we make a deal with them, are their grievances legitimate?" Tain (the Chancellor) especially would really be besties with Julius from the Heartstrikers series. Diplomacy! <3- MYSTERIOUS LOR Oh my GOD I loved this book. I'm too lazy to write a proper review right now, but here's things this book had that I loved:- NICE CHARACTERS. Everyone wants to solve everything they can as diplomatically as possible. There's an army laying siege outside our gates -> "Let's figure out what they want, can we make a deal with them, are their grievances legitimate?" Tain (the Chancellor) especially would really be besties with Julius from the Heartstrikers series. Diplomacy! <3- MYSTERIOUS LORE. I love it when you can't be sure for a long time whether magic and the gods are real or not, whether the "old lore" is what it is, etc. I found out recently that type of world(building) (cf. Mieville's The City & The City) is called "mysterious lore" and it's seriously my fave type. Honestly, I would have been satisfied either way it turned out and was IMMENSELY satisfied the way it did.- PLATONIC RELATIONSHIPS. Don't get me wrong, the romance was adorable (thought it did make me laugh and go "Wait you're having sex NOW??" once lol). But the heart is the platonic relationships: between the siblings, and between the siblings and Tain. YES PLEASE. I love how they cared about each other and I loved how they sometimes argued with each other but didn't stop caring for each other.- CHARACTERS WITH DISABILITIES KICKING MOTHERFUCKING ASS. Jovan has I think? OCD or something along those lines, Kalina has some sort of chronic illness that leaves her body weak. It's honestly just... refreshing to have characters whose health issues aren't PTSD or "terrible scar that aches in the cold sometimes but usually it's cool". (Not that those things aren't good to explore, but it's great to have some variety, you know?) Also great that their loved ones remember and worry about those things.- SOCIETY EXPLORATION/WORLDBUILDING. My blogmates always hear me bitch about how I don't like worldbuilding but honestly... I love this kind of worldbuilding? Cuz it's important to the story, it isn't just "Lemme tell you this random tidbit of history in this made-up world". And I love how some things are "better" than our world (no homophobia, no slutshaming), some things are different (matrilineal culture, so while both genders can do any work girl children are hoped for so they can continue the line), some things are the same/worse (hoo boy does the xenophobia and religious intolerance during a crisis sure remind me of something, living here in Fortress Europe :') and hey, have some nice classism with it too). And the exploration of it all is <3- THIS COULD HAVE BEEN TOLD FROM THE ENEMIES' PERSPECTIVE. Around 60% into the book I realised that huh, this could just have easily been told from the opposite side. In fact, it might have been a more traditional story to tell from the opposite side. For some reason the idea made me immensely happy lol. Like hey, it's not good vs bad, just a load of people. Some of them are tricked, some are ambitious to the point of greed, some of them are depressingly ignorant in their privilege... But they're still just people, and most are just trying to do what's right.- THE AUDIOBOOK. As a side note I liked the audiobook a lot: there's a male and female narrator for the siblings and it was great. The female narrator made one or two weird emphasis choice but in an 18hr book that's some serious nitpicking.What I didn't like: Noooo why did one of the characters leave the city lol now I can't use it for my Fantasy Books Bingo square "Takes place entirely within one city".In conclusion, sequel when??????????????
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  • Melliane
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 50%Mon avis en FrançaisMy English reviewThis is a novel that I was looking forward to. The synopsis immediately attracted me and I was curious to discover this novel by Sam Hawke. Only here … I have not managed to connect to the story. Oh, yet I persisted and I almost read 50% of the novel, but at one point I had to admit that it didn’t work out. It’s been a long time since I DNF abook, it’s not my habit, but I realized the obvious thing. I can not say why it did not work out, but I’m sur DNF at 50%Mon avis en FrançaisMy English reviewThis is a novel that I was looking forward to. The synopsis immediately attracted me and I was curious to discover this novel by Sam Hawke. Only here … I have not managed to connect to the story. Oh, yet I persisted and I almost read 50% of the novel, but at one point I had to admit that it didn’t work out. It’s been a long time since I DNF abook, it’s not my habit, but I realized the obvious thing. I can not say why it did not work out, but I’m sure it will find its audience!
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    *copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review* City Of Lies is about a great many things: Poison, politics, the moral and ethical obligations a society ha to those working within it, the quality of friendships and, er, more poison. The slow-burn narrative captured by attention and didn’t let it go, and the world drawn showed a marvellous depth of imagination; given this is Sam Hawke’s debut, the series it begins is off to a very strong start.The story explores themes of the dichotomy and conflic *copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review* City Of Lies is about a great many things: Poison, politics, the moral and ethical obligations a society ha to those working within it, the quality of friendships and, er, more poison. The slow-burn narrative captured by attention and didn’t let it go, and the world drawn showed a marvellous depth of imagination; given this is Sam Hawke’s debut, the series it begins is off to a very strong start.The story explores themes of the dichotomy and conflict between the urban and country as well; much of the text takes place within a sprawling city regarded (at least by its rulers) as a centre of socio-cultural enlightenment. A council of well-heeled nobles rules, and dispenses justice and economic largesse to their populace. The people have access to education, and guilds exist to allow the talented to make something of themselves. Or so the story goes. Things are, as ever, not that simple. The governance, the beneficence, the economy, the social inclusivity of a ruling elite from a different background to the remainder of their population – all are, at the very least, on tenuous ground. Perhaps the largest fib in City Of Lies is the city itself – or at least the ideals it’s founded upon. The story isn’t afraid to use its characters to explore flawed assumptions, to question the sacred cows which this society has built, and to deconstruct them, block by block. The occasional murder is thrown in, too.The city is glorious, in its way, in the evocation of the ideals it tries to match, even where it falls short. And in being a thriving metropolis of broken walls and soaring bridges, a living proof that co-operation and harmony can have positive results. That this is, if not a lie, at least contemporaneously somewhat wishful thinking, doesn’t give this world any less of a heart. There’s so much social complexity at work here – agricultural workers struggling with urban rentiers, representatives trying to create new guilds to allow people to earn a living in different ways, armies on the march – it’s breathtaking. It’s a lot to take in, but it sneaks up on you. Over the course of the book, the city will get under your skin – much like the poisons described at the start of a chapter.If the world is fascinating, the characters are equally compelling. The heart of the book is friendships, and family ties – between a young aristocrat with an important role in government, his equally aristocratic friend, whose duty it is to ‘proof’ substances as a protection from poison, and the proofer’s sister, who, chronically ill, carries affection for them both. They’re an odd lot, these three, but their unbending faith in each other is the pole star of the narrative, and once which makes it an absolute joy to read. While we’re looking at the deeper themes of the text, while we’re looking at social inequalities writ small and large, or the minutiae of politics, or actual poisonings, or duels, or battles, the emotional resonance of this triad glues the text together.The relationship of the three protagonists carries the warmth and depth of genuine friendship, of duty embraced with mutual affection. It’s a delight to see such friendships celebrated, and the positive nature of the emotions in no way decries their honesty and the truthful heft that they lend to the story. It’s what gives the book heart. This is helped, in some ways, by the villains – such as they are. For the antagonist here is a mystery – sowing disruption and lethal toxins from the shadows. Each character is thus a challenge; each pampered aristocrat could be wearing a mask, each Order-Keeper patrolling the streets a potential quisling. To the author’s credit, each of the ensemble around our central group feels like an individual. Petty, spiteful individuals, sure. Duty-driven and socially suspect, absolutely. Acidic and unforgiving of the pride of the City? No question. But each has a distinct voice, and each carries a personal opacity which makes them more or less of a threat. Each smile may mask a villain – but of course, a scowl can too. If the City is founded on principles which may be undermined where they intersect with reality, the people withi the city are also cloaked in smaller, pettier lies – and in this, and in their efforts to be more or less than themselves, they’re thoroughly believable, and very human.The plot is a complex web of mystery, focused, perhaps unsurprisingly, on lies, subterfuge, and poison. Each paragraph is a test of nerve, waiting to see if a silent murder has occurred. Each sentence carries a slow burning tension, perhaps akin to waiting for an antidote. I won’t get into it here, but suffice to say that City Of Lies has a lot going on. There’s enough byzantine factional politics for anyone, and if that’s not your jam, there’s more than a little swordplay and siegecraft as well. There is some magic floating around in the background, quietly understated, but it doesn’t feel like a focus for much of the book – that focus is on the characters, on our trio and on their efforts to investigate a mystery and thus hopefully not die trying. The gently bubbling, seeping tension left me turning pages late into the night, and the tightly woven relationship between the central characters kept me turning them until morning. With that in mind, I’d recommend City Of Lies. It’s a vividly imagined, cunningly crafted debut, and an excellent read.
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  • Cheyanne Lepka
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This fantastic debut will certainly find it’s place among well-loved fantasy series. It mixes fantasy with mystery and intrigue seamlessly. It was a book that had me guessing right to the end, with the added pressure of literally being penned in and running out of time. I literally went to work sleep deprived this entire week because every time I picked up this book, I had trouble putting it down.Sibling prot Note: I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This fantastic debut will certainly find it’s place among well-loved fantasy series. It mixes fantasy with mystery and intrigue seamlessly. It was a book that had me guessing right to the end, with the added pressure of literally being penned in and running out of time. I literally went to work sleep deprived this entire week because every time I picked up this book, I had trouble putting it down.Sibling protagonists, Kalina and Joven are expertly crafted, both with clear strengths and flaws. The alternating viewpoints worked so well in this story, and the clear love that these two siblings had for each other was excellent. Not only that but all of the characters were wonderfully human and presented as such. What really stood out about the characters was the complicated and nuanced relationships between them - done to perfection. With twists and turns, as well as hints dropped throughout the story, this is one book that had me guessing right until the end. I was drawn in right from the first line (and can we talk about that first line? because I have to say it’s one of the best I’ve encountered in a very long time) and once I was set on figuring out what was going on, there was little else I could think of. The world-building was subtle but sewn expertly into the plot. Most importantly, it was presented excellently through the eyes of the protagonists. The setting, while limited to only within the city (with a small exception), was brilliantly done. It showcased the multi-layered way in which social populations are structured within a city but also brought to the forefront what happens when the people inside of put into a crisis. In terms of increasing the pace of the book, the setting did that very well, putting even more pressure on an already dire situation. This is a book that I would recommend to any fan of immersive secondary worlds - it’s well-crafted fantasy at its finest.
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  • Saruuh Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsGenuine characters you can root for, a main character with (well-written) anxiety, a main character with chronic illness (who's a super badass), religion represented well and honestly, and a secondary-world siege? Plus MAGIC and GODS at the end? And POISON the whole way through? This is everything I wanted. Plus it wraps up very nicely at the end so you could read it as stand-alone if you're not into series. This book is so good, honestly.
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  • Nessie
    January 1, 1970
    WHAAAT THIS LOOKS SO GOOD 😱
  • Masa ✨
    January 1, 1970
    I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me. If this first sentence doesn’t make want to read this book, I really don’t know what will.City of Lies is interesting debut novel by amazing Sam Hawke, the story of Jovan and Kalina, the proofing family, family which has only one job. For generations, they are protecting Chancellor and risking their lives to save him from any kind of poisoning. Since Kalina’s health was weak, Jovan, the younger child, stepped in to take her role and beg I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me. If this first sentence doesn’t make want to read this book, I really don’t know what will.City of Lies is interesting debut novel by amazing Sam Hawke, the story of Jovan and Kalina, the proofing family, family which has only one job. For generations, they are protecting Chancellor and risking their lives to save him from any kind of poisoning. Since Kalina’s health was weak, Jovan, the younger child, stepped in to take her role and began training.But when both Chancellor and Jovan’s uncle fall victim of deadly poison, never before seen, Jovan must step up as Proofer and fulfil his family tradition. When city falls under siege, it is up to Jovan to protect next Chancellor, also his best friend, and stop him reaching the same fate as his father, while discovering that values he was brought up to believe were sacred in their city are just a web of lies.Sam Hawke, build this new world, full of politics and lies. The world building was executed nicely, with describing how the whole city functioned, full of interesting details and intrigue in the background. Salista, our city, is capital of this world, historic city built on the lake, which is believed has strong spirit living in it, at least by preachers, small group of people who still believe in religion and tah , the spirit realm of the world. They are outcasted by majority of city people, who believe that they are primitive and don’t want them near. City is ruled by 6 “Credol” families, which all contribute to food business of country and its capital and each have their representative in the council. Of course everyone wants to rule them all and be their Chancellor, to have that source of power, but they don’t release the difficulty that comes with that position. And that difference and battle for power will increase especially during the siege and lead to discovery of web of lies that this city is built on, destroying the council from inside, piece by piece.Our main characters Jovan, Kalina and Tain (Chancellor) have really interesting dynamic between them which I really enjoyed. They are each other’s best friends and each other family, which is especially noticeable during war they found themselves in. What I really liked, was that author decided to show us how this new position, Jov’s new responsibility towards Tain affected their relationship. It was really realistic and interesting. I felt that every single one of this characters went through great difficulties and journey, which changed them. At the end, they were totally different people, from ones we met at the begging of the book. It was nice to see their development, which was probably my favourite part of this book in general. Author really did great job in making its characters relatable, and I love all them equally. I feel that all of their storylines were interesting in their own way and the core of the story.It was by no means fast paced book. Yes, it picked up really quickly, but also slowed down couple of times. It bothered me just a little, because I got so hyped up, and then the action would stop. Even dough that didn’t appeal to me, I understand why author did it, and in the end I think that made story of the war and siege situation more realistic.Since it is the first book in series, I understand that author couldn’t put everything in this first instalment, but I wanted to read more about the whole country, the Empire and mines which were mentioned, but also about these tattoos that all Credol families have (which are also just briefly mentioned and not explained at all). I hope I get answers to some of these questions in next couple of books. So if you enjoy fantasy, but more centred on mystery and solving this big puzzle of lies and politic intrigue, which doesn’t focus on assassins, but on some other important positions in fantasy kingdom, please check this book out, it was truly amazing and great debut by Sam Hawke. I am really glad I found this one and definitely recommend it. 4.5/5 stars from me **I have received free eNetgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Tor Publishing and Netgalley for sending this ARC my way! **
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Tor Books and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book for my honest review.City of Lies (Poison Wars) felt more of a mystery than fantasy, luckily I’m a huge mystery fan so that worked in my favor. That said, anyone going into this thinking it’s fantasy might be disappointed. I personally had hoped for more poison, not sure what the says about me. Don’t get me wrong, poison is involved. Every chapter starts with a type of poison, description and how to discover it but o Thank you to Tor Books and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of this book for my honest review.City of Lies (Poison Wars) felt more of a mystery than fantasy, luckily I’m a huge mystery fan so that worked in my favor. That said, anyone going into this thinking it’s fantasy might be disappointed. I personally had hoped for more poison, not sure what the says about me. Don’t get me wrong, poison is involved. Every chapter starts with a type of poison, description and how to discover it but outside of the catalyst for the story that’s about it. I was hoping it would be used throughout the story, maybe even from the guy who's the expert with poison but not so much.The story is told by Jovan and his sister Kalina as they are thrust into a civil war in their city/country. In all honesty I had a lot of trouble getting into the story. It took me until about 30% to really get into it and even I rushed through it. It is not a poorly written book, in fact I feel like the world building and character creation was great, I think it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I will say at times I had a difficult time remembering who’s POV I was in. Jovan and Kalina sounded very similar and that made things tough. Jovan carried the weight of the world on his shoulders but while reading both POV's it felt like both characters did. IPerhaps it was the digital version I had but the scenes jumped with no warning. From one paragraph to the next we were suddenly in a different day. That confused me more than I care to admit. I wish there was some spacing that would help us pause and move on to the next day.The main themes of honor, religion, acceptance, tolerance and ignorance were prevalent throughout the story. I think overall it’s an interesting story, I’m not sure where it’s going to go from here but I do hope that the POV’s are worked out a little more.
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  • Elizabeth Fitzgerald
    January 1, 1970
    City of Lies is an enthralling novel that subverts fantasy tropes to examine issues of family and class.The story is told from the point of view of two siblings, alternating chapters from each of them. Jovan is a proofer, a young man trained to detect the presence of poison in food. He's bound by honour and friendship to protect Tain, heir to the city of Silastra. That suddenly becomes harder when both his uncle and the Chancellor are killed by a mysterious poison. Flipping the usual focus on th City of Lies is an enthralling novel that subverts fantasy tropes to examine issues of family and class.The story is told from the point of view of two siblings, alternating chapters from each of them. Jovan is a proofer, a young man trained to detect the presence of poison in food. He's bound by honour and friendship to protect Tain, heir to the city of Silastra. That suddenly becomes harder when both his uncle and the Chancellor are killed by a mysterious poison. Flipping the usual focus on the poisoner to the person trying to prevent the poisoning really raises the stakes of the story, since the latter is much more difficult. Jovan is also obsessive-compulsive, with his compulsions increasing during times of stress. He worries about the judgement this brings from others, but is supported by his sister and Tain.Kalina is the elder of the siblings and was originally destined to be the proofer. However, it became apparent early in her training that her chronic illness made this unfeasible. While she still harbours some resentment over this, she is fiercely loyal to both Jovan and Tain. She's also determined not to be sidelined, turning instead to diplomacy and spycraft to prove her usefulness. However, her brother sometimes makes this difficult by being overprotective. This isn't entirely without reason; there's an interesting interplay between Jovan's somewhat patronising attempts to make sure she rests and Kalina's tendency to push herself too hard.There are some mystery elements, as the siblings and Tain try to figure out who poisoned their uncles. These elements dovetail into the political landscape of the story. The Chancellor may have final say on what happens in the city of Silastra, but he is supported by a council comprised of the heads of several powerful families and guilds. Of course, council members are largely only there for their own interests and it soon becomes apparent that (as the title suggests) each of them has their own secrets. Sorting through those secrets to determine which of them is the killer creates a tension throughout the narrative.One of the things I loved about the story was the way it looks at the role Tain plays as Chancellor. He should be the most powerful man in the city and yet the story shows just how little power he has. He is not ominpotent or omnipresent, which means he has to rely on others. And, as the poisoning of his uncle demonstrates, those others can't always be trusted.There are also issues of class at play. Jovan and Tain, in particular, come face-to-face with the privilege of their upbringing and the blind spots it has created. I especially enjoyed seeing Jovan wrestle with this because even when he's made aware of it he struggles not to centre his own experience.Family is at the heart of City of Lies, but not quite in the usual ways. It centres the siblings' relationship not by dwelling on their rivalry but by showing how they function as a team. It also downplays the role of traditional parents. I've spoken a bit of uncles in this review, and they connect to an interesting piece of worldbuilding. Silastra has what we would consider some different norms around motherhood; the role of child-rearing is taken on by a trusted male relative of the mother's, leaving the mother free to pursue other interests. This male relative is referred to as a Tashi and is frequently the uncle of the child. In contrast, the father of Kalina and Jovan is considered so insignificant, he's not even mentioned. Their relationship with their mother is distant. This setup allows the book to avoid some of the sexist norms usually present in epic fantasy.From the very beginning, the writing style sucked me in (and kept me awake far too late). Silastra is vibrant and alive, painted in detail but not enough to be overwhelming. The pace is kept reasonably swift and although there's often a lot of talking (councils will do that), it's balanced with plenty of action.The ending wraps up enough threads to be satisfying but leaves open some questions regarding the bigger picture. I did have some quibbles about some of the supernatural elements of the ending, but overall they didn't detract from the story.All in all, City of Lies is an impressive debut and among my favourite reads of the year so far. And, considering the epilogue, I've got my fingers crossed for more.This review first appeared on Earl Grey Editing.
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  • Hélène Louise
    January 1, 1970
    (I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)I’m clearly of two minds about this book. I really liked some aspects of the story, and the writing was passionate and thorough. But on the other hand there were some grating details, which annoyed me especially because I wasn’t always entertained by the story.The beginning was enjoyable. I liked that the three main characters were young, united by friendship and family ties, without any impeding r (I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)I’m clearly of two minds about this book. I really liked some aspects of the story, and the writing was passionate and thorough. But on the other hand there were some grating details, which annoyed me especially because I wasn’t always entertained by the story.The beginning was enjoyable. I liked that the three main characters were young, united by friendship and family ties, without any impeding romance. I also appreciated that they were kind and thoughtful, ready to be adults facing their responsibilities. I loved the author’s choice to put forward characters disadvantaged by chronic illness, or neurological difference associated with anxiety and OCD. The society exposed, peaceful and industrious, with a feminine filiation and a family unit where the father is replaced by a male relative of the mother, was interesting and well depicted. The characters different colourings, and various sexual inclinations were delicately indicated without taxing insistence.But if the introduction was easy to read and promising, I struggled during all the middle of the book. This part was all about a specific situation, which was well rendered I suppose, the atmosphere was good to be honest – but I was bored. I even skimmed though some parts. I usually don’t mind long and precise narrations, I even frequently favour them, but this time I wasn’t charmed, and for this reason the flaws (or what I perceived as such) became more and more noticeable.I have some grievances about this book; in fact I probably wouldn’t have mind so much about them if I’ve had loved the whole story, but I didn’t, so here we are:The secondary characters were introduced too quickly in the beginning and I couldn’t track of all them afterwards, as long the book was (but I have to admit that my immediate memory isn’t that good…)Why on earth (or any other world of your choice) is there not any healer guild ? There are hospitals, and healers, who seems to be important persons, but no healer guild. So weird.The city is described as peaceful, centered on arts, crafworks and intellectual pursuits. No weapon is accepted within the city and the atmosphere is mundane, with small politic intrigues, but no brutal animosities. Especially, poisoning one’s rivals or opponents doesn’t seem to be the custom. Still the Heir is guarded nearly all around the clock by a master of poison, disguised as their personnel advisor. This situation is necessary for the intrigue, but I couldn’t help finding it unatural and unbelievable.The double narration : each chapter of the story is alternatively told by the master of poisons and her sister, using the first person. Unfortunately I could never know who was speaking before encountering a helpful hint: the voices sounded exactly identical to me, which is a shame as the two characters have distinctive and endearing personalities. In my opinion choosing the first person for the narration was an error, the third one, even with an alternative point of view, would have been more subtle and effective. And it would have made another (maybe subjective) problem less annoying: there were frequently some over explanations of psychological evolutions, when the show don’t tell was good and should have been enough.For my satisfaction the final part was as good as the start, with some nice revelations and character development!To conclude I’ll like to point out that the magic part, if central, is nearly inexistant in this first book of The Poison Wars series. I actually don’t mind at all, but it could be a deception for some readers. For all its action the atmosphere was rather sedate, and if it was a good point for me, I’m not sure that it’ll meet some readers expectations after reading the publisher’s presentation.
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  • Femke
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an ARC by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.I love love this book! It's paced perfectly so you don't have to wait ages for the action to start. Kalina and Jovan are awesome characters! Jovan is an expert when it comes to poisons and he's a proofer for the heir of Sjona Tain Caslavtash Iliri. (A proofer is someone who tastes food before it is consumed by others as a way to prevent poisonings). Jovan also has a serious case of OCD which made him very relatabl I was given an ARC by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.I love love this book! It's paced perfectly so you don't have to wait ages for the action to start. Kalina and Jovan are awesome characters! Jovan is an expert when it comes to poisons and he's a proofer for the heir of Sjona Tain Caslavtash Iliri. (A proofer is someone who tastes food before it is consumed by others as a way to prevent poisonings). Jovan also has a serious case of OCD which made him very relatable to me. Kalina is Jovan's sister and she's somewhat of a spy. The cast resides in Silasta a city soon under siege by rebels. Soon Jovan and Kalina learn that they can't trust anyone as betrayal is lurking around every corner. I love the pacing of the story there's no long wait for action and there's never a dull moment.  Though we do have to wait a while before the spirits show themselves. The world building is also done really well. The story itself is a mix between the fantasy and mystery genre which makes it so unique. Honor down best debut of the year for me!
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  • Crystal
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley"I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me…"Hook, line and sinker. How is it possible to refuse a book that opens that way? I’ll do you one even better, it has a 4-star Goodreads review from Robin Hobb. Yes, please. I’ll take it!City of Lies lives up to its opening. Jovan, is a proofer. He has extensive knowledge and training in poisons and chemistry. His job is not as assassin but instead is to keep the Chancellor’s family safe Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley"I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me…"Hook, line and sinker. How is it possible to refuse a book that opens that way? I’ll do you one even better, it has a 4-star Goodreads review from Robin Hobb. Yes, please. I’ll take it!City of Lies lives up to its opening. Jovan, is a proofer. He has extensive knowledge and training in poisons and chemistry. His job is not as assassin but instead is to keep the Chancellor’s family safe from threat. He fails to prevent an attack which kills the Chancellor and lays the city open to siege from without.This kingdom of Silasta has a complicated past. The author does a good job of world building, and there is a complicated history that has led to rebellion. The nobility like to think of themselves as progressive and sophisticated, but as Faulkner said “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” That past is coming back to haunt them.A conquering kingdom can be centuries away from its moment of conquest but how do you ever made peace with the people you’ve harmed? If you are a nation who can deny the humanity of another to extent of invading and subjugating them, can you break the pattern and live in peace with the people you’ve suppressed? These are questions that have been drifting around in my mind lately. I recently read The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin and it dovetailed with City of Lies in my thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, these are two very different books, but I feel like they share a kinship in the way they look (in differing degrees) at the harm done to the psyche of the conquered and the conquering people. Certainly the country I belong to has not healed from the violence brought upon it hundreds of years ago. I don’t know that you ever get over it.City of Lies inspired deep thoughts, but didn’t weigh me down. I enjoyed the writing, and really liked the characters. In particular Jovan’s sister Kalina. I became very fond of her. She was lovely, brilliant and compassionate. This society has respect for women, they are allowed positions of honor and prominence, and is also LGBTQ inclusive. But it killed me every time she felt the need to hide her intelligence or feign weakness in order to get people to listen to her. I have to admit, what a clever way to show the reader, that this society may not be as advanced as they seem to believe themselves. I appreciated the subtlety.I am happy to see this is the first book in the series. I’m not sure how many more books will follow, but I will be following this new author. Ms. Hawke is a promising new artist.Song for this book: I Am Chemistry by Yeasayer
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