Title: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)
Author: S. A. Chakraborty
Genre: Adult fantasy
Published: By Harper Voyager on November 14th, 2017
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.
I didn’t expect a lot from this book since the hype for it hadn’t picked up until after I’d finished it. I had the read the synopsis, thought it was intriguing and picked it up on a whim because the last name of the author was Indian and I was on a huge Asian-inspired YA fantasy kick at that time.
Although I wouldn’t call it the most well-crafted book I’ve ever read, the level of enjoyment I had while reading it is what made this a winner for me. My favourite part of the book was the world-building and the political intrigue. It is based off of real historical accounts of that period and the author, who is a historian herself, has managed to weave all the best elements from reality into her fantasy story. Coming to the characters, I feel like they weren’t fully developed but the complex relationships and interactions between them as a result of the amazing world-building is what appealed to me. Alizayd was easily my favourite and I liked Dara throughout most of the book as well. The plot had layers of complexity and it came together really well towards the second half of the book, which kept me riveted to the book. My only complaint was that it was on the slower side of things as a result of excessive descriptions and I was bored for most of Nahri and Dara’s journey to Daevabad. The story could’ve used a bit of trimming down. I did not see the plot twist at the end coming, even though I’m usually good at predicting them, and it has left me yearning for the next book. I haven’t been so excited for a sequel in quite a long time!
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an exciting new fantasy series inspired by history and steeped in political intrigue. Put on some sufi music in the background as you read through the lush descriptions of a Middle-Eastern world. For the food, enjoy the simple bread and hummus combination or munch on a falafel wrap.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Which sequel yet to be released are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments section below.