Oh the political intrigue of Recoletta. How I missed the dark hallways and tunnels where spies and malcontents lurk arround every corner. Every town and commune has something riding on the rise and fall of Sato’s revolution. Carrie Patel has focused on the hard part of revolution which is the aftermath. Every revolution rides on the sell of a brighter tomorrow but the days after are usually darker and half the population flees. How do you maintain control? Keeping what Sato won is much harder than getting it in the first place and how does he and his regime not ulyimately become a sad version of the Whitneails and the council they unseated. Patel handled the disillusionment beautifully. I enjoyed ‘Cities and Thrones’ more than the first of Patel’s Recoletta series, ‘The Buried Life.’
Patel introduced us to the underground city, the tunnels and Victorian decadence of Recoletta as it fell in ‘The Buried Life.’ The class disparities and the restriction of knowledge couldn’t be sustained. Patel focuses on a world separated by economic class. Race and religion were noticeably absent and helped highlight the imbalence of wealth. As Jane and countless other Recolettans flee their city for the world above they see the communes and metropolises that operate under different concepts. The Communes work as a group and these new cities focus on earned status. Jane finds a place in the Judicial system when she chose to testify to a truth on behalf of citizens of Madina rather than lie out of a blind loyalty to displaced Recolettans. It starts as a vision of hope. Malone is the new Chief of Police and takes her place at Sato’s side in a hopeful new Recoletta. The second half of this book uncovers the cracks in these regimes – the cities that have welcomed them, and the need of the communes. Everyone needs something from somebody.
Patel’s story continues in an honest view of revolution. The reality is not so shiny as the propaganda that supported it to fruition. The other city governments are afraid of it like a contagion, and the communes want the same hope and change. Why should they have to wait for opportunity while they support Recoletta? Does Recoletta stand behind their ideals or is their new government built on hypocrisy? The new Recoletta needs trade, order, and support to survive. Patel showed the hope and the desolation that comes with it. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t necessary, and it doesn’t mean the old ways of the Whitenail council is acceptable. It means that it is complicated.
Patel’s writing and character developement improved with ‘Cities and Thrones.’ We see Malone, Jane, Arnault, and even Sato in a more holistic way. Pieces of Recoletta’s history are hinted at, but not enough to satisfy me. We received a large reveal at the end of ‘The Buried Life’ and we don’t get answers about the library in book two. I’m impatient for Patel to answer this in book three along with information about the underground cities, the restriction of information, and the dystopian connection. That said, this novel delved into the world up top that was rarely if ever discussed or acknowledged by the opulent Recoletta it supported. ‘Cities and Thrones’ is necessary and a wonderful second in a series, but I will not be alone in waiting for the big payoff. Arnault, Malone, Jane etc. want the answers as much as I do. Patel gives us a reveal at the end of this book too. It’s not as big as in the first book but it will certainly whet your appetite. My feeling is that ‘The Buried Life’ was the appetizer and ‘Cities and Thrones’ is the meat. But we all want desert just like we want answers.
I received this book from Angry Robot in return for an honest review