Readers unfamiliar with 2006’s Trial of Flowers will be baffled by this sequel; those who have read the former are likely to be both delighted and flabbergasted by the latter. The City Imperishable is the decadent relic of a magical empire in which human and numinal forces struggled until the Old Gods were almost forgotten—but this familiar-sounding background doesn’t set up a predictable heroic fantasy yarn. The city’s diverse inhabitants, including demigods and manmade dwarves, are subject to violent physical and moral transformations, and Lake’s lushly energetic writing pulls readers through startling developments. Major concerns this time include bloody political intrigue, a blockade by corsairs and an expedition to the North that may lead to the city’s rebirth or its doom. The result is exuberantly odd, melodramatically ironic and dangerously wonderful. –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review