Review: City of Lies by Sam Hawke (Poison Wars #1)

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Great book with one hell of an ending (warning: partial cliffhanger). I have finished it at a complete loss for words. Still, I must try.

Honor. […] How is it you are all so obsessed with one half of our creed and you apply it so strangely? You have twisted it into yet another system of rank, a way of measuring who is more valuable than whom. Honor is not a score in a game, Jovan. It is how you show yourself to other people and the regard in which you hold them, which in turn feeds the regard in which they hold you.

Silasta is a prosperous, safe city, seemingly a haven for artists and craftsmen. But when the chancellor is poisoned and the country’s populace starts besieging the city, they slowly learn that the comfort came at a terrible price. It’s quite rare to have a political intrigue mystery that’s both nuanced and has characters who are genuinely good people trying to do their best, but Hawke manages it wonderfully. Neither side is unsympathetic, the story could have been written from the rebels’ viewpoint just as easily. And the themes of xenophobia, honour, religion, family…it manages to be relevant without feeling preachy.

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