Title: The City of Brass
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
My Rating: 5 stars! ⭐️
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.
A phenomenal debut novel. Is it possible to love every aspect of a book?
Without giving much of anything away (because this is truly, TRULY one of my favourite books) this novel starts off with out main character Nahri, who is a thief. And she’s not just somebody who pickpockets; her whole life and livestock relies on her ability to trick people into giving her money on her fortune-telling—which isn’t necessarily true most of the time.
“You’re some kind of thief, then?”
“That a very narrow-minded way of looking at it. I prefer to think of myself as a merchant of delicate tasks.”
Nahri also has a knack for predicting peoples illnesses just by her senses or being near them. Obviously this is something that is acknowledged right off the bat, and that’s where our story really picks off!
Nahri is definitely a character who is seen as selfish, but it’s impossible not to like her. Growing up the way that she did, she had to learn the hard way to look out for herself and only herself. Despite this, she is still such an amazing and fleshed out character. I found myself constantly rooting for her from the beginning to the end of the novel, no matter how difficult the situations she was in became.
Since this book has such an intricate writing style, it’s definitely one that has you flipping back to recall certain details, and I didn’t mind one bit! The mythology and the world is so complex, that you really have to spend your time fully understanding all the political intrigue behind it.
But because the story is so enrapturing, it doesn’t feel like a chore to have to flip back and forth. I recommend to keep a little tab for the glossary at the back of the book! It’s super helpful to refer back to!
One of the main things that I love about this book, is that the conflicts literally seem unsolvable. It’s not a story where a hero emerges and is instantly the saviour of the world— no, these are problems that are rooted from a millennia of hatred and segregation. It’s not an easy task to make everyone love each other and get along, which is something the author does not hesitate to show.
The world-building in this novel is brilliant. Everything from the characters journey to Daevabad (the magical hidden city where the djinn/daeva live) and Daevabad itself is so stunning. It was so refreshing to read a novel with a world that is so fully fleshed out? The author makes a point to divulge in all the histories and meanings behind certain places and things, and I’m sure this will progress into the sequel.
“Greatness takes time…often the mightiest things have the humblest beginnings.”
And guys, THAT ENDING. Holy crap…that last page still has my mind reeling!
Overall, HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this book! Once you’ve finished, you’ll literally be dying for the sequel (which is my current state). It’s also a wonderfully diverse book and the characters are fantastic, and ugh it’s just so good.
The sequel is coming out January 2019, which isn’t the longest wait ever (compared to other releases) but I think this is a good time to start the book!
Thanks for reading!