Series : The Daevabad Trilogy #1
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Genre : Adult | Fantasy
Page Count: 528
Synopsis : Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass–a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . . (From Goodreads)
I received an eARC of this book from the publishers through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review
Content Warnings: Death, blood, violence, assault, passing mention of rape.
Well. This book was a ride to say the least, a wild ride but a ride that took me forever and it’s not even the book’s fault. I was in the most awful slump while fighting my way through it but I luckily had the good sense to sort that slump out before diving back in, and more seriously this time around. And I LOVED IT. It is such a brilliant, powerful story and nothing like expected, it was different but somehow better.
The writing is good, like, really good, elegant while not too thick, which was needed considering how dense the worldbuilding is. It’s also atmospheric and sets the tone and vibe of the world the story is set in before the world is even fully unveiled. The descriptions are vivid which makes it a lot easier to imagine the setting and understand how everything is and where everything goes. I honestly loved the writing and how it complimented the story very well.
Now onto the worldbuilding. Don’t get me wrong, I adore it and all but I had a hard time grasping it the first chapters with all the creatures/tribes/families introduced in the span of a few chapters, I was confused a bit and had trouble keeping up, but the author doesn’t fail in reminding us who these people are throughout the story, and there’s also a glossary (is that what it’s called?) at the end which helped a lot as well. Once that confusion cleared, I adored it, it actually became one of my favorite things about the story.
The only question I have regarding the worldbuilding (the book really) is how The Gezziris have this history that isn’t really explained? Like, why are they the only people whose language can’t be spoken by anyone else? The only people whose weapon can’t be weilded by anyone else? I don’t know if it was done on purpose or not, but I hope it will have some kind of explanation in future books. That being said this was maybe 1% of the book so I didn’t mind much.
As a Muslim girl, I grew up with Jinn stories about Jinn warriors, Jinn wars, Jinn lovers and Jinn curses, most of which sent chills down my back and this did the same to me and that made me feel so nostalgic in a way? Although, it’s not exactly the same, the world was strangely familiar and completely different at the same time, which is understandable since the author took our cultural/religious stories added some well executed research and put a twist on them, and I need more of those because there’s so much potential in those stories and The City of Brass made me realize how much can be done with them.
This story is slow by definition. If you are looking for the fight focused, swords clashing kind of fantasy, this is not it. Eventhough there *are* great fight scenes, EPIC ones even, they’re not the main focus which I surprisingly liked. The City of Brass focuses on the politics and workings of the society, a lot of scheming and calculating and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the sides are and which one I was supposed to be on and THAT STRESSED ME OUT but I actually adored that aspect because it was the whole “two sides to the same story” concept, things weren’t just black and white, they were way more complicated.
Nahri is such a good solid character, she isn’t traditionally good or likeable, she’s a thief, she’s selfish and pragmatic, she does anything to get by because she has no family and has been living on the Streets for as long as she could remember. She has healer powers that she never understood the extent of and only used for her treachery, but then as the story unravels she realizes they’re bigger than her and by the end starts caring about something other than her own benefit. I loved how much she struggled with her powers, okay no, loving is a strong word but that struggle was the most realistic I’ve ever read, most of the novel, she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing and when she succeeds at it it’s pure luck.
Alizayd‘s POV I didn’t like but I suspect that was done on purpose because he is just such a judgmental, stern kid, and his voice is much of the same rambly preachy anger thing over and over again but I LOVED HIM. After a little while, things start getting better, he starts questioning things he’s always believed and he becomes completely and utterly lost and I. LOVED. THAT. One thing I appreciated about him is how he stands up for what he believes in no matter what, even in face of his father, who is the king, and not a nice one.
Dara doesn’t have his own POV but is as important as the other two in my opinion. He is my personal favorite. We virtually only know about him what people say, which are centuries old tales that do hold some truth but that I suspect hold a part of lies as well. He does let some bits and pieces out to Nahri but he’s mostly mysterious and garded, he’s also loyal to her and devoted to his nation and people. Dara and Ali are on opposite sides of an old conflict.
I was always on edge, kept on my toes by the blurry limits between both sides I didn’t know what to expect next, who I should trust and who was safe and who wasn’t and I WAS RIGHT, that ending turned very dark VERY fast and I am NOT OKAY with it. I need the second book A S A P.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read The City of Brass? If so, what did you think?
What are your predictions for future events?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.