Title: City Of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Pub. Date: November 14th 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Physical book
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 533 Pages
City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty is one of the books I’ve had on my list of Must Read Fantasy Books for way too long! in this book we meet Nahri who is a con woman in the streets of Cairo. Nahri knows her way around & makes a living using sleight of hand, whether it’s palm readings, zars (ceremony where Nahri is hired to sort of exorcise a demon who has taken possession of a person), or healings she takes the opportunity to swindle the nobility of Cairo. This all changes when she manages to conjure up a Djinn Warrior who is just as cunning as she is. Dara is bound to Nahri in ways she doesn’t yet understand at the start of her journey. Dara tells Nahri of Daevabad, a magical land home to the City of Brass. Dara tells Nahri of the magic that runs in her blood as a Shafit (mixed Djinn\human) & that she belongs in Daevabad where she will be safer than in Cairo’s streets. Nahri is curious enough to want to find out if the magic she’s only heard of in stories actually exists. Their journey to Daevabad comes with many challenges & attacks. We also get to learn a lot of history as it relates to the 6 Djinn tribes. What Nahri doesn’t expect is that a lot of old tensions are still brewing & she’s walking right into a culminating rebellion beneath the surface. We get court politics, Nahri training with her new found magical abilities, and oppression. At the very heart of this book is the story of a people who are being oppressed by the nobility for having mixed blood with humans. There’s an outright decrees to stifle their uprising by any means necessary which leads to the loss of lives.
It’s my goal to always read diversely and it makes my heart feel whole when I see a cast of characters in a Fantasy that are for the mostly all people of color. In City Of Brass we get a diverse cast of characters from different socioeconomic backgrounds. There are no purely good/evil characters in this story. Everyone has an agenda & even those looking out for the interest of the under privileged will cross lines for the greater good. I’d like to say that I connected with any of these characters but I didn’t & I’m a reader who loves character driven stories. For this reason alone I docked it a star however, the world building inspired by Middle Eastern Folklore is truly captivating. As we journey through this land we meet many other species from all elements (Earth, Wind, Air and Fire) which all make for a lush world with a complex history.
Nahri as an MC is very unsure of herself & the pressure placed upon her is a bit much. Getting to know who is friend or foe will be her best bet. I did enjoy seeing her character growth when she realizes that her street learned skills are exactly what she’ll need to survive in the City of Brass. Dara is a complex character & I was split down the middle on my feelings for him. On the one hand he has such a messed up past of enslavement & loss that my heart really wants to root for him. On the other, there’s no denying our fierce Djiin warrior has some serious prejudices against the Shafit or anyone who isn’t Djinn. A lot of this is instilled in him through History & the believe that procreating with humans is sacrilegious. Muntadhir is second born son to the king, his role is to protect his brother who is next in line for the throne. Muntadhir is a trained fighter & very devout, out of all the characters he’s the one with a strong conscious. For Muntadhir it is about right vs. wrong no matter what side of the fence he is on. Out of everyone in this book, Muntadhir has to be my favorite character. He’s trying so hard to hold on to his beliefs & is being met with many tests along the way. It’ll be interesting to see his character’s journey in the next book.
This review is long enough smh so I’ll keep this short & sweet, I absolutely LOVED S.A. Chakraborty’s world building! It never once felt info dumpey, instead the history of the six Djiin Tribes is delivered in creative ways that really come to life. I also am a sucker for elemental magic & seeing that weaved into the different species was a plus. The character development was on point as was the world building which heightens my interest in getting to the next book very soon. The build-up of tensions between the oppressed and the nobility is very well done as are the attacks executed by the rebels. I honestly felt like I was watching pieces on a chess board move, wondering what was going to happen next. I do hope we get more of Nahri’s own abilities in the next book since here we only see the beginning stages of her tapping into them. I also have questions I hope get answered & hope that one of my theories on her lineage come into actualization *fingers crossed* on that one! the hype was well deserved <3’s!
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