Thursday, November 8, 2018

5 Wine Glass #Review of The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Title: The City of Brass
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #1
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Genre: historical fiction
Format: paperback 576 pages
Published: July 3rd, 2018 by Harper Voyager
Source: Goodreads First Reads Giveaway
Reviewer: Lexi
Rating: 5 out of  5 Wine Glasses
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 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...

Lexi’s Thoughts:
The City of Brass is epic and tragic, filled with amazing sights and frightening beings. Nahri is in for one hell of a ride.

Books based on mythology have a leg up on the rest, and Chakraborty knows her stuff. She used Middle Eastern folklore and historical facts to bring Nahri’s tale to life. From her bewilderment at being able to summon a djinn, then their frightening race to her family’s land while being pursued by powerful beings and the dead, to the lush and dangerous paranormal world that is Daevabad.

Aside from Nahri’s journey, which I would say is the main focus of the book, there is a LOT of political upheaval going on. The different groups of paranormal beings aren’t happy with how Daevabad is being run and it’s a strain between those with power and those who don’t. And Nahri lands right in the middle of it because she is much more than she knows and even more than the people expect. Yes, that is cryptic but it has to be to keep from spoiling this incredible read. 

The rich world building is completed by a varied cast of characters. Nahri, who has some unscrupulous characteristics but truly has her heart in the right place. Dara, the djinn that she summons who also happens to be the most famous djinn ever. Their simmering romance is a slow burn and with so many things in their way, an impossible love that you can’t help but root for. And then the prince, Alizayd (Ali), who has a heart for the people but also the potential to be a greater monster than they’ve ever seen.

History is written by the winners, yes? Well Daevabad may be a good example of what happens when the winners bend the truth and everyone has forgotten the cost of war, what they were fighting for, and even who was fighting who. 

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