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City of Bones by [Wells, Martha]
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Length: 383 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

Khat, a member of a humanoid race created by the Ancients to survive in the Waste, and Sagai, his human partner, are relic dealers working on the edge of society, trying to stay one step ahead of the Trade Inspectors and to support Sagai's family. When Khat is hired to find relics believed to be part of one of the Ancients' arcane engines, they are both reluctant to become involved. But the request comes from the Warders, powerful mages who serve Charisat's Elector.

Khat soon discovers that the deadly politics of Charisat's upper tiers aren't the only danger. The relics the Warders want are the key to an Ancient magic of unknown power, and, as all the inhabitants of Charisat know, no one understands the Ancients' magic.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1082 KB
  • Print Length: 383 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: (24 December 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002DPV4JG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #116,592 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars 61 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A break from the pattern 12 October 2006
By Dreamking47 - Published on
This book seems to generate more diverse opinions than most Martha Wells books, and for good reason: to the extent that there is a pattern to Ms. Wells' books, this one diverges most from that pattern.

It starts with the setting. Most of Ms. Wells' other books are set in locales that while original are easily comprehensible. This is due to her use of historical archetypes as inspirations for her invented settings: 19th century England and France for the Ile-Rien books; Southeast Asia for "Wheel of the Infinite." "City of Bones" on the other hand is a wholly original setting, a post-holocaust city rising out of the desert with its own history, class structure, racial prejudices, and magic system. There's thus a bit more description, a bit more explanatory exposition here than in Wells' other books. Those less interested in world-building as a source of wonder may find it slow, but I loved this aspect of it.

The nature of the setting ties neatly with the plot, an archaeological mystery that gradually reveals some of the past history of the land even as it takes the characters from slums to palaces, desert ruins to universities. One aspect I really enjoyed about this book is that it isn't rushed -- some of the more recent books Wells has written ("Wheel of the Infinite" and "Gate of Gods" come to mind) have felt like too much new material was introduced in the last 50 pages. "City of Bones" really builds the story so that the end, while impressive, feels like a logical, understandable outcome of all that came before, and it gets the attention (and page count) it deserves.

The hero, Khat, is an Indiana Jones-type: capable as an adventurer but someone who'd rather be studying the mysteries of the Ancients. While not amoral, he's roped into the story not by any great need to do good, but by a desire to learn and (as a racial minority relegated to the slums) to simply earn enough money to survive. The heroine, Elen, is perhaps a bit less capable than the women in other Wells books, relying a great deal on Khat for assistance early on. Much of her weakness however is psychological, and part of the enjoyment of the book is watching Elen grow into her abilities. There is an element of romance in the book, but less so than in most of Wells' other books, and it's handled differently here -- there's more a focus on the things that can keep people apart than the ways they can be brought together. Both characters grow throughout the book, but both end -- in a good way -- as still far from finished products: this is a fantasy that "feels" very realistic and true.

That trait carries through to the villains of the book. There is ultimately a source of opposition, but not all characters that look fair are, not all characters that feel foul are, and those that are foul have believable, thoughtful reasons for being so. This is not a grim or gritty book, but politics and shades of gray do figure just as strongly here as Saving the World from True Evil.

Overall "City of Bones" is a thoroughly enjoyable book, one I'd recommend to anyone interested in reading something that while "light" manages to push the bounds of genre fantasy. I'd especially recommend it to those who have read other Martha Wells books, as this one really illustrates the breadth of imagination that she's capable of.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speechless 2 March 2003
By MicahA - Published on
This book is the pinnacle of original fantasy, in days overrun with Tolkein knock-offs. It has beautiful and full descriptions, a detailed and complete storyline, and my personal favorite: A sarcastic main character. Everything is done to perfection and anyone who complains about something like "too many capitals" never read the book like a true reader. This book is fantastic and by far the best fantasy I have ever read.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all 2 December 2002
By not4prophet - Published on
"City of Bones" easily ranks as an above-average fantasy novel. Author Martha Wells does an excellent job of weaving together multiple plot lines. The story is set is harsh fantasy landscape, where civilization has mostly collapsed. There are only a few cities remaining, while the surrounding "waste" is inhabited by a variety of monsters and a type of mutant called "Krismen". The main character is a Kris named Khat who is hired by a patrician from the city of Charisat to lead an expedition to a relic, a gigantic structure built for an unknown reason by the now-vanished Ancients. However, this seemingly simple task soon turns deadly, and the characters are soon caught up in a dangerous race to find two more ancient objects that the Master Warder (the leader of a type of police force with magical powers in Charisat) is convinced will unlock the secrets of the ancients. The plot line remains intriguing to the very end, and Wells is constantly springing new surprises on us. While many fantasy novels tend to be entirely predictable, this one does an excellent job of not giving information away too soon, and I didn't have any luck at guessing what was about to happen. The book's climax is a decent effort, although I've read better.
While the plot aspect of the book is strong, I felt that there were some missed opportunities. The main male and female characters aren't particularly interesting, they're basically just copies of the stoic heroes that we've seen countless times before. Some of the minor characters, particularly a mysterious former warder named Constans, are a little bit more intriguing, but the author doesn't really seem to care much about the characterization aspect of writing. Another weakness is in setting. While the city of Charisat and the surrounding arid wastelands are a welcome break from the quasi-Europe in the Middle Ages setting that we find in most genre fantasy, Wells doesn't really give us any feel for what life in the city is like. It comes across as a rather bland place, in part because we meet only a very small subset of the population. While these flaws don't ruin the novel, they make it less memorable than it could have been.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Adventure Story set in a unique segmented society 17 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on
A thoroughly enjoyable, page turner, with a unique atmosphere that somehow reminded me of the excitement I felt when as a youngster I first discovered the Arabian Nights. The book is unique, quite unlike any other sf book with a detailed development of a striated society with its concomitant problems and injustices. Far more focus on characters and their interrelationships than most sf books. I could not put this book down once I started it. I look forward to more really original imaginative works from this talented author.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tired of Tolkien wanna-be's? Read this instead. 12 May 1997
By A Customer - Published on
There are no elves or dwarves here; no naive adolescent heroes who realize long after the reader does that _they_ are destined to fulfill some prophecy. Instead, Ms. Wells gives us a gritty, fully-textured world uniquely her own and a refreshingly intelligent pair of protagonists caught up in a plot that has NOT been done a hundred times over.
In a household of readers that demand the very best in fantasy, City of Bones was passed from person-to-person and read cover-to-cover by all of us

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