Book: The City of Brass (Daevebad 1) by S.A. Chakraborty
Release Date: November 14th 2017
Tags: Fantasy / Adult / Historical Fantasy / Egypt / Cairo / Djinn / Daevebad
Trigger Warnings: Mention of Rape / Assault / Graphic Violence / Slavery
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…
City of Brass is one of those books I put off for a long time. Not only did I hear great things but I had also put it on my expected 5 star reads back in 2019. It didn’t end up living up to that but it was still very good.
The book focuses on Nahri who lives in 18th century Cairo. She is a bit of a con woman with a special talent for healing. She doesn’t know much about her background and that catches up with her after doing a zar. She’s not human as she accidentally summons a jinn called Dara. On the other end we have Ali, second in line to the throne of Daevabad, the city of the jinn. He sees things that aren’t going right in his city and tries to help. But that doesn’t all turn out to great…
There is certainly a lot to love in City of Brass. Most of all I found the characters that drew me in. Not just our main characters Ali, Nahri and Dara, but also the side characters. All of them have their own reasons for what they do. None of them turn out to be ‘evil’. They are all just on different sides, fighting for what they believe is right. It creates an interesting dynamic that constantly changes as alliances change.
I will say that the first half truly drew me in. But I struggled a little with the pacing of the second half, once Nahri gets to Daevebad. I feel like Ali’s storyline was more evenly paced throughout the novel which made his more engaging. With Nahri there was a bit of a dip where the others were just using her as a pawn on a chess board. Even so at the end there she grabbed back at the control as best she could.
Dara is a bit of a mystery. There is a lot of little pieces we get about his history but not all creates a cohesive time line. He doesn’t tell Nahri things and it frustrates me immensely. And yet as a reader I am still drawn to him because there is clearly more to him than that. He has such an internal conflict within him. And I really need to know more.
All in all I am very intrigued with this story and I hope I can read more in the second book soon.