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By Jonathan Maas

IR Rating:
CITY OF GODS II: THE HORSEMEN is a thoughtful and philosophical addition to the fantasy genre, and an engaging story as well.

CITY OF GODS II: THE HORSEMEN is, as the name implies, the second in a series about a world where the old gods have taken over and are running human communities for their own self-aggrandizing reasons, making war on each other and interfering in human lives often for no better reason than the desire for a few new temples.

In the middle of this god-ridden anarchy is rational Hellenica, a community based on logic, reason, and the desire to build a better future for humanity, and towards those ends, they have formed an Academy where 16 proto-gods are being trained to police the world, humans and gods alike. Among these are the four Horsemen, Kayana Marx (Death), Gunnar Redstone (War), Tommy Alderon (Pestilence), and Saoirse Frost (the White Knight, whose gift is not famine but communication and persuasion). Each has different abilities, a unique perspective and goals, and each will have to learn from the others and from their own experiences in order to survive their current Academy training and find their purpose as a leader and a guide for humanity. As the book opens, each is facing their own particular version of a test, designed by the Academy to suit their natures…

The second book in a trilogy or series is usually rather forgettable, but this one is an exception. It is possible to dive right into this without having read the first book, though I don’t recommend it, if only because it’s a fascinating story and one well worth experiencing from beginning to end. This book is an intriguing philosophical discussion on human nature, human instincts and reactions, and the goals of human community- and it is also, thankfully, an entertaining and enjoyable story. The reader is brought into the minds of each of the Horsemen, seeing the world and its problems through their eyes. Each of them is a fully three-dimensional character, with a unique and different perspective, a different approach, and their own particular motivations, each completely reasonable from the character’s point of view. The worldbuilding is done through vivid description and the natural unfolding of the story, without too much explication, and it’s a well-thought-out world, carefully built and as realistic as one may expect from a philosophical fantasy with actual gods.

CITY OF GODS II: THE HORSEMEN is a thoughtful and philosophical addition to the fantasy genre, and an engaging story as well.

~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader