The City of Ice (Gates of the World #2)

22033888Title: The City of Ice
Author: K. M. McKinley
Series: Gates of the World #2

Deep in the polar south stands a city like no other, a city built aeons ago by a civilisation mighty and wise.

The City of Ice promises the secrets of the ancients to whomever can reach it first. It may prove too little knowledge too late, for the closest approach of the Twin in 4000 years draws near, an event that has heralded terrible destruction in past ages.

As the Kressind siblings pursue their fortunes, the world stands upon the dawn of a new era, but it may yet be consumed by a darkness from the past.

Industry and magic, gods and steampower collide in the captivating sequel to The Iron Ship.

Rating: C+

We all wear masks – some for others, some for ourselves. Some are placed upon us without our knowing.

I had some issues with The Iron Ship, the first book in the trilogy but was intrigued enough that I wanted to read the second book as well. One of the things that bothered me in the first book was that it was all so slow-going. A lot of it was either people preparing for a journey or people already on a journey (and only in some cases I had a vague idea about what expected them at the end of the journey). But the end promised that in the next book there would be more action.
Well. Trassan, the character who prepared to go on a journey in the last book, goes on that journey. It takes most of the book. Then, towards the end of the book, something big happens. Guis, one of my favourite character from the first book, barely appears (he only has one chapter). Katriona, my other fave, got furious about the lack of laws forbidding child labour and did something about it. She was awesome. Just like in the previous book where she dealt with embezzlement. No, I’m not being sarcastic here, I love that we get a female character like her in a fantasy novel. But I still have no idea how her story connects to the larger plot.
Garten, the character who spent the last book with lots of bureaucracy and diplomacy, does more diplomacy. Then, towards the end of the book, something big happens. Aarid who got worried about something in the last book and went somewhere to discuss his worries finally arrived there. He waited for a while and then something unexpected happened. (Not towards the end. More halfway through. But then we didn’t hear from him anymore). Rel, who spent the last book getting from one point to another, continued traveling. By the end, he has arrived somewhere. I think.
We also got new characters. Like the immortal guy who is into BDSM but has some trouble with the ‘sane’ and the ‘consensual’ bit of it. He was also an ass in general and while there was some entertainment value in a fantasy novel talking about “a series of sexual practices outlawed in many kingdoms” I just didn’t see the point of that plotline at all. It could have definitely been shortened a lot.

So overall, I feel conned after reading this book. Because it was just like the first book. Long stretches of not much happening, right until the end where things go boom (literally in some cases) and you are promised that things get more exciting in the next book.
And I feel even more conned because of course, I’m going to read the final book. I want to know what happens next. Even if there’s a danger that 200 pages of it are going to be people traveling through the ice/the dessert and discussions of a minimum wage before something happens. Because I really want to know hat is going to happen to those characters (and that world in general).

ARC provided by NetGalley

Review of Book 1

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