CITY OF BRASS was such a delightful read for me. The only thing I knew going in to this read was that it was some sort of Arabic mythology story. I was so blown away by this read.
This story follows two main characters, Nahri and Ali. Nahri starts off in Cairo doing what she does best; stealing money and healing people. Nahri has a natural affinity for healing and uses this talent in ceremonies to cleanse and heal people and places. In once such ceremony, she accidentally calls a daeva warrior. The presence of this warrior also calls a djinn warrior, The Scourge, Dara. Dara is of fire affinity and he uses his powers to protect Nahri as he takes her to the hidden city of Daevabad, The City of Brass. He hopes she will take her place in the court as head healer and make the king realize that even mixed bloods need to be treated equally.
Ali is the second son to the king of Daevabad. This kingdom is dealing with all sorts of turmoil from rebellions and traitors living in the palace. Ali is new to court life as he was raised in the citadel, as a warrior, with the sole purpose of protecting his brother, Muntadhir. Ali is not happy with the way the mixed tribes in the city are treated and invests money to try to help the orphans in the city. For a warrior, he has a soft heart. Ali is loyal to his brother, but he is not happy with the way the city is ruled.
The two stories start off completely separate but come together towards the middle of this book. Nahri travels a long distance with Dara to get to Daevabad. She doesn’t trust him at all at first but she knows he is keeping her safe. They travel on foot and by magic carpet. Dara is a wealth of knowledge about Nahri’s true heritage but he holds so much back from her. Eventually they do come to an understanding about each other. By the time they actually get to the city Nahri is very attached to Dara but she also learns how much he didn’t tell her about his past.
There are so many elements to this story that I can’t possibly explain it here. The scenes are beautifully set and I could completely feel the chill in the air, the heat from the fire, the blisters on my feet, and so much more that these characters go through. This story is also full of prejudices and I was disgusted at the injustices described in this story. As anyone should be.
There is so much magic in this story as well. The rules for the magic are well explained. Nahri is half human half djinn and we learn the rules for magic and how the city works right along with her. She is kept mainly inside while Ali, also a newcomer to the city, allows us to see what is going on beyond the king’s watchful eye. Between these two characters, we get a good feel for how the people are suffering under this ruler.
There is so much mythology weaved into this story. This story was told with so much intelligence and wonder. Along with the magic all around we learn the history of these tribes but not exactly where Nahri comes from. Her origins will have a real impact on this place and I can’t wait to find out what that impact will be. Ali also seems to have an important part to play and I can hardly believe where he ended up.
Ooh I better tell you that this epic fantasy included a map aaaaaaaaand a glossary. The author knew people like me would need a little help keeping things straight. My eARC did not include a map but you better believe I am adding this hardcover to my bookshelf.
I am so excited that this is just the start of a trilogy. If you are looking for a fantastical story with diversity and epic adventure this is a book you need to read.
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #1
Published by HarperCollins on November 14th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Epic, Action & Adventure
eARC provided by HarperCollins
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 eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades 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 and a reliable way to survive.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to question all she believes. For the warrior tells her an extraordinary 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 birds of prey are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In Daevabad, within 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 to be careful what you wish for . . .