Another re-read that definitely benefited from going over it again. The first time I read Thunderer I blew through it so quickly that I don’t think I appreciated the story; things got muddled, lost, and when I returned to read Gears of the City I felt disconnected from the characters and definitely had trouble getting back into the world/appreciating certain recurring characters.
This time I attempted to read more slowly, and I found myself enjoying it again. It’s not a perfect novel, but it’s a very good debut, and has many of the characteristics that I find myself attracted to in fantasy novels: vaguely Victorian-ish settings, the “infinite city” with a thousand gods, murder, mayhem, etc. Especially the 1000 gods concept, the few that were mentioned were intriguing and I found myself wanting to hear more about them, especially the Spider god, which leaves lottery tickets for its devotees with instructions on how to drastically change their lives (I wanted to know more about this especially–who writes the tickets, why are certain people picked, etc. This was a common theme with the book–always wanting to know more because so much was going on at once.) Arjun’s path from innocent country “monk” to jaded adventurer is quite sad… though many of the other peripheral characters don’t experience such growth. Also, the women in the book are a bit lacking in development, but it’s a minor quibble.
After a bit of a slow start the book begins moving quickly and grabbing at your attention; though there seem to be about three or so different stories (some arguably a bit superfluous) going on at once, they all come together in the end. It’s certainly a lovely weird adventure, and I’m hoping that my time re-reading it and really appreciating the world that Ararat inhabits will make me enjoy Gears of the City much more than the last time as well.