‘The City of Brass’ by S.A. Chakraborty is my new number one favourite.
Synopsis: Nahri is a con artist living in the bustle of Cairo. Whilst performing one of her tricks; a zar to deal with djinn possession, she manages to evoke the most famous and feared Daeva. This leads to a chain of events encompassing fighting back all manner of monsters and demons to get Nahri to the on place she will be safe, Daevabad, the City of Brass. There, secrets unfurl and royal politics put Nahri’s loyalties to the ultimate test.
Please, let me visit Daevabad! It sounds deliciously diverse; the level of detailed descriptions, and how they’re used to evoke feeling, have left me travel hungry! It comes across as such a cultured city that I wish to travel the Middle East and see what sites inspired Daevabad. Before this book, my only knowledge of djinn was Aladdin, and compared to that, The City of Brass is a completely different ball game. The standard that this book has, is ridiculously high.
Nahri came across as a well rounded character. Surprisingly, she’s one of the only characters that I have had the pleasure of reading about that hasn’t annoyed me in any shape or form. Ever. She’s got that thief swagger about herself but underneath is that striking vulnerability and ache to belong. There were moments when she was, in my opinion, very emotionally brave and strong but there were also times when her mind and heart seemed to slip, revealing that she’s just like me too. I liked this connection I was able to feel with her, it allowed a more immersive read and it’s definitely one of the reasons I love this book so much.
I would like to state this in writing, in case actual words ever fail me: I LOVE DARA. Let it be known here and now that I cannot resist myself an emotionally damaged man (or daeva from now on). Even though we didn’t learn the extent of his history until the end, therefore not being able to gather a full opinion of him, I believed he was good at the very core. In truth, I’m not sure what his story is i.e. the ring, but I hope we find out in the next book because I need more Dara! He’s one badass slave and if I didn’t like Nahri so much, I’d be jealous of his affections. His loyalty to her at the end considering his opinion of her at the beginning is another reason why I can’t get enough of this book – the characters develop so much.
Even Ali won me over. I liked his passion for equality. I understood his loyalty to his family conflicting with what he knew to be right in his heart and it softened the first opinion I had of him; a stoney faced, rebellious prince. He is both of those things but he’s much more than that; he’s clever and thoughtful, he’s wickedly good in a fight and he’s caring. There are many dimensions to all of the characters we meet that I would be here all day listing them. There were only two characters (Zaynab and Ghassan) that I didn’t care for, the rest of the cast got me.
For a long period of time – the majority of the book – I didn’t see where it was all going. Even the last chapter had me guessing. There’s no clear end game with this book and I wasn’t able to predict quite a lot of it to be honest. But, I think this book set a lot of ground work for the sequel. There were a lot of back stories, ancient disagreements and myths etc that will probably make the next book a clearer read. The epilogue had many BIG surprises and it’s left me with a theory of the direction some characters will be going in.
I know this phrase gets used a lot but I genuinely mean it here, brace yourselves: I couldn’t put it down. The world of the Djinn is colourful and unlike anything I have had the pleasure to read before. It’s a magical carpet ride that I never want to forget. There were so many enchanting features that it’s impossible not to be swept off your feet.
“He snatched up the reins again, holding her tight. There was nothing affectionate or remotely romantic about the gesture; it was desperation, like a man clinging to a ledge. “We run.”
I received this ARC in Illumicrate’s November box.
You can get it here