I had too high hopes for this book, so when I didn’t love it as much as I hoped to, I felt slightly disappointed. That being said, it’s still an amazing Adult fantasy book with a very unique premise and settings, and I for sure will be continuing and reading the rest of the trilogy as soon as possible.
It’s difficult to say if my low enjoyment was due to the reading slump I kinda have been experiencing, or everything that is going on in the world that constantly occupies my mind, or the fact that I read it in Russian instead of English. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I think that reading this book in translation was a mistake, and I will be buying the other two books in English. I might even re-read the English version before I continue (?) [who am I kidding here… when was the last time I re-read anything?! 😀 ]
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…
I hope that my introduction didn’t give you the wrong idea that I didn’t love this book, because I did! It just didn’t blow my mind as I thought it would.
1 – Complicated and incredibly well-developed lore is what you can expect from «The City of Brass». The good thing about the first books in adult fantasies is that they introduce you to a completely new world. With «The City of Brass» I loved how big the world was. Not only the main character showed us a little bit of Cairo in the 18th Century, but we also saw the magnificent city of Daevabad, created by Daeva many centuries ago.
There are so many new words, creatures, magic, history… It’s a little bit overwhelming but VERY interesting to learn about! Daeva, djinns, shafits, ifrits, various tribes, etc. etc. The list goes on and on. The book does have a glossary and notes to explain most of these “foreign” words, so don’t worry about them at all.
Whenever I start a new fantasy book, I usually don’t even think about memorizing all the lore and new words. My mindset is that whatever is important, will be repeated enough times for me to remember.
2 – This book 100% reminded me of Alladin and whenever S.A. Chakraborty was describing scenery, architecture, and Daevabad itself, I always imagined the castle from Alladin, as well the markets, etc. I’ve never been to Egypt or Morroco so that part of the world is a total mystery to me, so the closest reference that I could find was from Disney cartoon 😀
That’s why it’s so important to read books that transport us to a different culture and give us more backstory on other parts of the world that might be unfamiliar. Over the years, the fantasy genre has branched out a lot. Each year we receive more and more fantasy inspired by Asian and African mythology and culture.
3 – The wars, the political secrets, and intricate court play, this is what caught my attention at Daevabad the most. Throughout the book, we switch between two points of view – Nahri and Prince Alizayd, and I have to admit that Ali’s parts were not my favorite. The first half I much preferred Nahri’s PoVs, her journey to Daevabad was so interesting to me! For the second half, I kinda got used to Ali’s PoV and started to enjoy them more, especially because Nahri lost her spar for me as soon as she reached the palace.
The second part also picked up the pace quite a lot when it comes to internal political plays. We got to meet more characters, learned more things about different tribes and the events were very exciting as well.
4 – As I mentioned, the first part was mostly Nahri’s, in my opinion. She really shined there and I loved to get to know her a little bit more. Seeing her interacting with Dara, their fun banter, it was a great way to accustom ourselves with the characters, really grow to love them.
When the second part started, I wasn’t quite sure who Nahri was anymore. And I think she felt the same. So I hope that the second book will have more character development for Nahri, as she needs to grow and claim her spot in Daevabad.
There are so many unanswered questions and the way the first book ended, all I want to do right now is to pick up the second one asap! Hopefully, I will just that and not let it sit for months (sometimes years), because this trilogy does deserve to be binge-read and loved. ❤
What do you think about this trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty? Which book was your favorite? Let’s chat in the comments below!