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… (via Goodreads)
I received an eARC of The City of Brass from Edelweiss, courtesy of publisher Harper Voyager, in exchange for an honest review.
My exact words when finishing The City of Brass were “Well, shit.” That ending was killer. This novel was a lush, stunning fantasy that I took particular pleasure in reading.
I need to include trigger warnings for violence, religious fanaticism, racism against fantasy races, really bad medical care, state-sanctioned violence and forced marriage. It is also ownvoices Muslim representation.
Seriously, this novel is a tome, but you can tell that Chakraborty really took pleasure in her world building, both in Cairo where our story begins, and Daevabad where it ends. There is so much thought put into every aspect of the world that helped to envelop me entirely in it.
I didn’t entirely love Dara the way Nahri apparently did. I thought the relationship between Nahri and Ali was developed a lot more clearly, and I’ll be interested to see where those relationships go, due to the spoilery events of the book.
I do hope that we get to learn more about the Daeva’s magic in the next book, because that was one place that I think we needed just a little bit more exploration. Nahri is terrible at magic, being an absolute novice, so I understand why we didn’t get it. However, I wanted more explanation, just like Nahri did.