I’d like to thank Joshua P. Simon for the review copy of The City of Pillars as well as his patience. I should have read the book and gotten the review up sooner.
The City of Pillars is the second volume of The Epic of Andrasta and Rondel. You can read the review of the first volume, The Cult of Sutek, here.
The story takes place not long after the events of the previous book, approximately a year later if my memory isn’t failing me. It opens with the pair trying to steal a flute from a museum. Things don’t go well at all. Instead of the flute, they’re set up and wanted for a number of killings they aren’t guilty of.
To escape the city, they hire on as guards for a young woman named Shadya. Andrasta has misgivings about her, misgivings that grow when Rondel falls for Shadya like a ton of bricks.
Andrastra has reason to be wary of Shadya. What Andrasta and Rondel don’t realize is that Shadya, and by extension them, are being hunted by an elite company of soldiers who have sworn to serve their god Erban by opposing that Erban’s son. The son had rebelled against his father a few centuries back, resulting in a fertile being laid waste. Apparently teenage rebellion in the realm of the gods can be taken to a bit of an extreme.
Shadya is working to bring the son back into his full powers during a certain astronomical alignment. And that time is fast approaching.
I liked The Cult of Sutek, but I liked The City of Pillars even more. The Cult Of Sutek was Simon’s first novel after finishing The Blood and Tears series (which you definitely should read). That was a big, epic fantasy with a large cast of characters. This series focuses on two people. I can imagine it was a bit of an adjustment to shift from many characters to two. In The City of Pillars, Simon has completed that transition. I found the book to be leaner than its predecessor. There wasn’t a single chapter that could be considered filler. Each chapter moved the plot forward, developed the characters (primary and supporting), or both. Simon has hit his stride with this one.
We see more of Rondel and Andrasta, especially Andrasta. Parts of their backstory are filled in. Rondel learns more about fighting to stay alive. Andrasta learns to fight with her wits. Each grows to understand how much they need the other.
Joshua P. Simon has proven he isn’t a flash in the pan with only one or two books in him. He’s started a third series on top of this one. He’s someone you want to watch. And read.
You can read a chapter from The City of Pillars here.