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 . . .
Idk about you, but when you hear someone rave and love a book so much that they recommend it to everyone, well, you get curious.
So, I blame you, Neelam from Tsundoku Chronicles, for this new obsession I now have with this book. [Also, check out her review for this book here.]
First off, the first thing I noticed was just how vivid this book is going to be! Chakraborty just weaves you in with this amazing description to Cairo that can only spell trouble for readers like me.
I was astounded with not just her geographical descriptions but with the descriptions of people, markets, and especially food. I can’t recall the last book that made me so damn hungry just from reading it.
Nahri was a character I immediately fell in love with, I wanted to root for her from page one and I loved her stubborn streak.
Most of this book is set up for her arrival into Daevabad, but as I loved the worldbuilding, I didn’t mind the pacing in which the journey stretched on toward Daevabad.
Not to mention there were fun/awesome/scary adventures from the moment Nahri gets herself into trouble, until the end of the book, so it kept me pretty well satisfied on that front.
I loved Dara while he was travelling with Nahri, but, man, does that guy make you want to shake him sometimes!
I did find that the way that Nahri’s relationships unfold to be so organic that in the end, I was firmly ‘team Ali’ as they say.
Ali was another favorite character of mine, his faith and his kindness just struck all my feels and heartstrings and watching the interaction between him and Nahri was pure gold. [Or, you know, pure brass]
I can only say I’m so happy that I waited to buy this book as I now only have the wait of ordering book 2 instead of waiting for the release, and I have the third book’s eARC, so, I need to get to it because that ending left me with about 866 questions that need answering.
Great worldbuilding, slow but satisfying pacing to go with the worldbuilding, fantastic and complex characters, and enough amazing mythology and cultural world-building to make anyone leap for joy!
Five cups of coffee from meeeeeeee.
About the Author
S. A. Chakraborty is the author of the critically acclaimed and internationally best-selling The Daevabad Trilogy. Her work has been nominated for the Locus, World Fantasy, Crawford, and Astounding awards. When not buried in books about thirteen-century con artists and Abbasid political intrigue, she enjoys hiking, knitting, and re-creating unnecessarily complicated medieval meals. You can find her online at http://www.sachakraborty.com or on Twitter and Instagram at @SAChakrabooks, where she likes to talk about history, politics, and Islamic art. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and an ever-increasing number of cats.