"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 Uprooted, 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 eighteenth-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 and a reliable way to survive. But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she's forced to question all she believes. For the warrior tells her an extraordinary 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 birds of prey are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass--a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In Daevabad, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. A young prince dreams of rebellion. 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 to be careful what you wish for"-- "A brilliantly imagined historical fantasy in which a young con artist in eighteenth century Cairo discovers she's the last descendant of a powerful family of djinn healers. With the help of an outcast immortal warrior and a rebellious prince, she must claim her magical birthright in order to prevent a war that threatens to destroy the entire djinn kingdom. Perfect for fans of The Grace of Kings, The Golem and the Jinni, and The Queen of the Tearling"--
Series3 primary books4 released books
The Daevabad Trilogy is a 4-book series with 3 primary works first released in 2017 with contributions by S. A. Chakraborty.
Reviews with the most likes.
tws: [to come]
never in my life have i enjoyed a love triangle like this
also the politics were extremely complex but worked my brain and i loved it. this book is heavy with the mythology and history and i loved it!!!
So much to say about this outstanding debut novel! First I'd like to address the issues around the author, then I'll delve into the book itself. (It's fantastic, though!)
So the book has been touted as an “own voices” novel, seemingly much to the author's chagrin. She is Muslim, but she's a white convert (Chakraborty is her married name). She has striven to correct the misconception about her ethnicity when she finds it, tweeting about it and talking about it in interviews. (This interview is a good example.) Because the book is pure fantasy, in a fantasy realm after the first few chapters, I'm not too worried about it not actually being written by a middle-eastern author. She does note in the interview I linked that she's not qualified to write some stories because of her ethnicity, and I appreciate that recognition of privilege. As far as I can tell, (as a white person myself) she did justice to the bits of mythology that she included. (Given the reception by people who were so excited about it being an Own Voices book, I think I'm probably right.) Her twitter (@SChakrabs) is FULL of links to minority authors and retweets about their books. I am very impressed by the level of her advocacy for minority authors.
So that aside, I LOVED THIS BOOK. I almost always enjoy fantasy inspired by non-western mythology: Children of Blood and Bone was fantastic, and though Forest of a Thousand Lanterns had a western fairytale at its heart, being reimagined through an Asian lense was really neat to read. The Bear and The Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower were Russian inspired, as were The Crown's Game/The Crown's Fate. I really do try to pick up non-western inspired fantasy when I can. City of Brass scratched that itch perfectly.
City of Brass opens in Cairo, where our heroine, Nahri, is a con-woman with small healing magics. When a ritual goes awry, she's thrust into the world of the djinn. It's when Nahri and her accidental bodyguard, Dara, arrive at the Djinns' city of Daevabad that the story really gets started.
I'm still a little confused about the difference between djinn and Daeva; Daeva seem to be one of the tribes but also the name for the entire race, and some of them get offended at being called djinn but some of them don't? I'm not really sure about that distinction. There is a clear line between djinn and Ifrit, though - Ifrit are immensely powerful, immortal beings who refused to subject themselves to punishment many centuries ago. I'm not sure I actually see a downside to being Ifrit, other than the djinn all think they're evil. The Ifrit, however, are out to get Nahri, and Dara's not having any of THAT.
I love Dara - he's a fascinating character, with a violent, mysterious backstory. I'm very eager to read more about him and figure out exactly what's up with his background. Nahri is also awesome - a little arrogant, but by the end of the book she's starting to learn she might need help from those around her. Unfortunately, also by the end of the book she doesn't know who to trust. The naive djinn prince, Ali, is the third main character of the book, and while I can see him having an interesting story, his personality is still a little flat. Hopefully the second book will see advancement in all three of these characters' personalities.
And I can't WAIT for the second book! City of Brass didn't exactly end on a cliffhanger, but it did leave many questions unanswered and our main characters' fates uncertain. Unfortunately, I can't find any information on the sequel, just that it's being edited. No release date or title yet.
Read this book. It's fantastic.
You can find all my reviews at Goddess in the Stacks.