The City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V Snyder

The City of Zirdai (Archives of the Invisible Sword #2) by Maria V SnyderThe City of Zirdai by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Archives of the Invisible Sword #2
Published by Harlequin Teen
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 512
Format: eARC, Paperback
Source: my home library, Netgalley
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RRP: $19.99
4 Stars

With her indomitable style,
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder returns with an electric new fantasy series that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Through her courage and tenacity, Shyla Sun-Kissed has awoken the power of The Eyes of Tamburah. But this feat only marks the beginning of the challenges that the magical order, the Invisible Sword, faces to free the underground city of Zirdai.
Though they have allies among the monks and splinter cells inside the city, Shyla knows the Invisible Sword doesn't have the strength to win. With the group fracturing due to the strain of losses from their latest ordeal, thinly veiled suspicions and endless disagreements, it's up to Shyla to forge a new united order.
When both the draconian Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess learn of Shyla's new powers, life becomes even more complicated as they will stop at nothing to capture Shyla and take the magic of The Eyes for themselves. Hunted at every turn and unable to hide, Shyla and the Invisible Sword must use every resource at their command - and unearth new ones - in their race to save the city from destruction. But their enemies always seem to be one step ahead. And the cost to win the battle may be more than Shyla would ever be willing to pay...

Praise for
The Eyes of Tamburah:
'Combines the sassiness and adventure of Tomb Raider, the twisted darkness of Blade Runner, and the secrets and mythology of Prince of Persia.' Bronwyn Eley, Booktopia
'An enjoyable desert-inspired treasure hunt that was full of action and plot twists. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and you find yourself addicted to turning the page.' Morgan, Mashleas Reads

I received a copy of this book from my home library, Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m a little conflicting on how to review this book because on the one hand, I took literally forever to read it. It took me a month and a half, and I know that it’s not the book’s fault, despite it topping in at over 500 pages, because I was having a really hard time finishing anything that wasn’t an audiobook at the time.

I struggled to read the ARC, for reasons unknown to myself, but since Snyder is one of my favourite authors I knew I would be buying a hard copy anyway. And when I got the hard copy and could dedicate some serious time to it, the pages really flew  by, because it’s very readable. The writing is not out of this world gorgeous, but it’s easily digestible; it’s got the interesting worldbuilding of the city build deep underground to protect citizens from a killing sun; it’s got a romance I dig, because the two characters and just really into each other, respect each other, and dammit, they just want to snuggle, and that’s really nice.

And I REALLY liked Rendor because he’s basically a redeemed bad guy, and he’s a big brooding barbarian with a heart of putty for Shyla, and those two things are legit like my CRACK I mean come on, he’s basically my husband in fiction form. It’s absolutely my favourite kind of love interest, even more than the brooding yet love-struck assassin.

I just love a big brute who is gentle and kind to his lady. They make me weak in the knees.

However the book also kind of suffers from middle book syndrome. What’s the plot? Basically Shyla runs around and solves everyone’s problems. It’s incredibly fast paced: it feels like Shyla bounces around solving problem after problem, her magical powers increasing to the point of near-invulnerability (and I’ve spoken before about how Snyder characters tend to become overpowered to the point where everything is just so easy for them, and that’s even the exact reason Yelena View Spoiler »). She constantly pushes herself to near exhaustion because absolutely everything is a priority and only she can solve all of the problems: but the issue is that she also solves them really easily, often just by thinking of something that no one else in the history of ever has been able to think. It’s also the same issue I had with Ara in Sentinels of the Galaxy, in that she solved her problems just by happening to think the right thing.

While I felt like The Eyes of Tamburah was kind of different to other Snyder fantasies because it didn’t really focus so much on the magic, in this book, it’s all about magic all the time. In the previous book, you could feasible even argue for most of it that magic was just a myth: well, in this book, it’s front and centre and the characters use it all the time. It’s like Book 1, no magic: Book 2, only magic. In City of Zirdai, magic uses YOU.

I also had a problem with Shyla learning to use her magic consisting of, “So I can do this thing, maybe that means I can also do the complete opposite.” If Shyla thinks it, then she can do it. Why she hasn’t tried to fly yet, I don’t know. Oh wait, she actually did that already in Book 1.

While the plot was a little haphazard, there were a few twists, and I was really pleased to see that there was no cliffhanger at the end of this book.  I appreciate authors who do this, because sometimes other authors write cliffhangers that consist of simply cutting off the story too early and not actually providing the audience with a satisfying ending, with the aim of selling the next book. In The City of Zirdai, everything was wrapped up very neatly under the story arch of this book, but there are more adventures yet to come in the next. I definitely appreciate that.

Ohhhh, but guys, the thing is that while I was reading it, I was REALLY enjoying it, because that’s what Maria Snyder does to me, and really, that’s what you want in a book! So by no means was this perfect (except Rendor, HELLO!), but I did really genuinely enjoy it, and I’m really looking forward to Shyla conquering the world in Book 3: The King of Koraha.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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