She could hear that laughter again, and for a moment Velody was confused, not sure which dead man was mocking her. Velody now holds the leadership of the Creature Court. The unsteady alliances within the Court are beginning to fracture, as a series of murders and disappearances throw suspicion on one of their own. A shiol finds Aufleur’s many festivals frivolous, until a major one is cancelled. Unease grows. It seems nothing can save the city from a massacre … nothing but the ultimate sacrifice from one of the Creature Kings.
The Shattered City is book two of Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Creature Court trilogy, following on from book one, Power and Majesty. I know that there are some mixed opinions on the covers of the books, but I still think that they’re gorgeous. Possibly they don’t do a good job of indicating just how blood- and sex-soaked the books can get, but I still think they’re lovely. These books could easily have been illustrated with scantily-clad women or men (which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, given how gorgeous the characters are) but I’m glad that we get something classier. Doubly glad that we get Velody dressed, and that the artist chose not to portray her as some stick-thin waif. Returning to Aufleur in this book feels like returning to a home, in a way. There is less of a sense of Aufleur as a living, breathing entity in this book than in the first, but the city itself is still vivid and real. Personally, I like the fact that we get to delve deeper into some of the characters and their lives. Despite the fabulous men who populate the Creature Court, the plot of this book, and of the trilogy to date, is shaped very firmly by Velody, our protagonist, and her friends Delphine and Rhian. Both Delphine and Rhian are more fully formed in this book than the first, as both find their places in the world. Delphine, in particular, shines, finding strength even as she is tortured by her own shortcomings. I am absolutely and completely in love with all three of the main female characters – Velody, Delphine and Rhian. Each of them is real and three-dimensional, and even in the depth of pain, they are very, very human. I think that the humanity that Roberts gives her characters acts very much to ground the more fantastical elements of the world, and make it feel very much like a real place. Roberts has a particular talent for making even the most minor characters live and breathe, which in turn makes the reader empathise with even the most minor of characters. Her dialogue, as always, remains incredible, with each character given their own unique voice. My only complaint is that things end on somewhat of a cliffhanger, which was slightly irritating the first time I read this book, because the third book was still to be released. On a reread, it’s much better, since I had the third book ready to go! The Shattered City is now available internationally for Kindle. Things become clearer, as we delve more into the mythology of Aufleur and the Creature Court, but there’s still much to be learned.