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 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 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, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. A young prince dreams of rebellion. 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 . . .
The City of BrassFeatured
The City of Brass is about Nahri a trickster living in Cairo making money by preying on superstitious fools. Nahri has many abilities, there isn’t a language around that she can’t understand and speak, she heals rapidly and can detect sickness and disease my merely looking at people. Nahri uses her powers to her advantage she will tell her clients that in order to cure their non-existent ailments they must follow some rather theatrical steps and they will be cured. There opening scene starts with Nahri swindling a poor fool in order to survive his ‘heart condition’ and in order to live he must follow her instructions, which will take him on a journey outside of Cairo. What clever Nahri is actually doing is making him gather ingredients for an ointment to get rid of his bad breath and getting him and his family out of his house so she can rob him. Do you see why I am in awe of her? So mischievous and always ten steps ahead.
It’s during one of Nahri’s hoaxes that she accidently summons Dara, a enigmatic djinn warrior who tells Nahri about a magical world called Daevabad. Daevabad is the legendary City of Brass, a city with mythical creatures, enchantments and magic that Nahri has no choice but to visit if she wants to learn about whom she truly is. Upon arriving Nahri is quickly drawn into a deadly game of court politics, a city broken because of a devastating history and it's people djinn divided and on the brink of war due to old prejudices.
At court Nahri is introduced to Prince Alizayd the second son to the Djinn King. As his older brother Muntadhir is the emir to the Qahtani throne, Ali has had a relatively easy life, his appearance at court is not required so he lives away from the palace spending the majority of his time reading and delving deeper into his love of economics. However due to his upbringing Ali has an incredibly naïve view on the world and will certainly voice his opinions believing them to be fact. However Ali does have his better qualities, he adamantly believes that the shafit, people with mixed djinn and human blood, are mistreated by the full-blooded djinn. He's steadfast in his belief and I couldn't agree more as in Daevabad the shafit are treated poorly, their children are taken away from them and they have little to no rights. Ali voices this to the King time and time again but which a city on the brink of war the King cannot be seen taking sides.
What I Loved
The City of Brass will immerse you from the very beginning with its magnificent world building and stunning prose. Readers will follow Nahri trying to uncover her past, discover magic and unravel the darkest secrets of Daevabad. I was gripped from page one and read the last hundred pages with a racing heart. The characters are multifaceted, complex and completely relatable. The plot was well paced and had many twists and turns, secrets were slowly revealed but just enough to keep you hooked and an explosive ending that will leave you desperate for more.
Overall Chakraborty created a breathtakingly magical world that will ensnare readers and have them reading long after the lights have gone out. I am so excited for people to read this book; it was easily one of the most enjoyable reads of this year and I cannot wait for book two!