Saturday, December 7, 2019

Book Review: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Title: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 533
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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...

I have avoided The City of Brass for two years for one simple reason: it is massive. The book itself was intimidating at over 500 pages and the audiobook was approximately one million hours long. But recently the mood struck and I decided to finally give it a chance. Within a few hours of audio I was absolutely hooked and had to switch to the ebook halfway through because I just couldn't wait to see what happened! Suffice it to say I'm glad I took the chance.

Nahri lives in Cairo making a living through a combination of healing and stealing. At one healing ceremony she accidentally summons a djinn and is swept away on an adventure to a world she'd thought was only fantasy. Much of this story is about Nahri and her journey to Daevabad with Dara. There is a lot of walking and talking and I never grew bored of it because I loved every moment I got to spend with these two characters! Nahri is tough and smart and jaded and Dara is a mess of a warrior. I loved them so much, together and separately!

Of course, there are many more characters I could talk about, but my favorite (obviously) was Alizayd. He starts out as a supremely unlikable character who immediately dislikes Nahri, who distrusts him (as she should), but eventually he grew on me and their relationship was one of the most interesting parts of this story.

The world of The City of Brass was as amazing as its characters! Daevabad was fascinating and, while I never fully understood all of the lore, I did love spending time in the world the author created. The magic system was complex and the mythology built up around the world was one can't wait to dig into deeper. Every time we were given another glimpse into the vast history of the djinn I was on the edge of my seat.

There isn't much I can say about the story without giving things away, but I was absolutely enthralled from beginning to end. The City of Brass has definitely found a spot on my favorites shelf, which is unfortunate because it means I have to locate several editions to collect. There were so many twists and turns and the ending caught me completely off guard! I can't wait to dive right into book two.