Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs Review Round-Up

Robert Jackson Bennett, author of horror tinged novels like American Elsewhere and Mr. Shivers, moves more into the realm of fantasy with City of Stairs, a novel where the Gods (Divinities) walk among mankind in a densely-built world. The novel’s got a secondary world, complex politics, and even a murder mystery for good measure. Bennett winds up with a unique mix of urban fantasy, fantasy, and Gaiman-style American Godsness, producing an ambitious, accomplished, and fun novel.

I don’t have Bennett down officially in my Too Early Hugo Prediction or my Too Early 2015 Nebula Prediction, but I think he’s a dark horse for the Nebula award, and, if the novel catches on in a big way, an outsider for the Hugo. The problem here is one of genre—Bennett is more associated with horror than science fiction and fantasy, and he’ll have to attract a crossover audience to get this novel into consideration. Hugo and Nebula voters have embraced Neil Gaiman in the past, and Gaiman has an equally experimental mix of horror and fantasy; if Bennett can tap into that audience, watch out.

On to the book:

City of StairsBook Published September 9, 2014.

About the Book:
Robert Jackson Bennett’s web page
Robert Jackson Bennett’s blog
Amazon page
Goodreads page
Publisher’s page (Random House)

Mainstream Reviews:
Publisher’s Weekly
Kirkus Reviews
NPR

WordPress Blog Reviewers:
Fantasy Review Barn (5 out of 5)
Lettuce be Cereal (4.5 out of 5)
BiblioSanctum (4.5 out of 5)
Drunken Dragon Reviews (4.5 out of 5)
Ristea’s Reads (5 out of 5)
Lekeisha the Book Nerd (4 out of 5)
Little Red Reviewer
Bookish

I like looking at the WordPress reviews because they give a real sense of how excited actual readers (and not the reading press) are about a novel. The more reviews, and the more positive the reviews, the better off the novel is going to do. City of Stairs is attracting quite bit of enthusiasm: there are a good number of early reviews, and the scores have been positive. Of the five Review Round-Ups I’ve now done, this is the highest ranked book so far. It will be interesting to see how far this novel breaks out—will it filter down to the general SFF reader, or stay a niche product?

If you have any WordPress reviews you’d like me to add, let me know in the comments or at chaoshorizon42@gmail.com.

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