City of Brass by S.A.Chakraborty

You know those books that you want to wait until the whole series is out before you start? The books where you know you are going to love it, and will need to be able to read all the books available as quickly as possible? In many respects, The Daevabad trilogy by S.A.Chakraborty has been that for me. And guess who finally picked up the first one in the series now that the third has been announced? Oh, you guessed first try so… fist bump I guess. Yep. I finally started reading it on my kindle in the the Great Lockdown of 2020 and I proceeded to STAY UP ALL NIGHT TO FINISH.

My super quick recap – Nahri, a street-thief and con artist slash healer in the streets of Cairo, accidently summons an ancient  warrior. In doing so, she finds herself the target of the Ifrit, and her new Daeve companion Dara grudgingly escorts her to his old home, and the home of his enemies in a long-ago battle. There, Nahri is befriended by the younger son of the, a sympathiser to the half-djinn citizens. As everthing coninues to go wrong around them, Nahri has to learn to navigate a new culture, her new responsibilites and relationships while keeping an eye on the political nest she’s found herself in.

For the first half or so of the book, I was reading with my eyes scrunched, trying to figure out how all of the plot points were going to come together and piece together all the different factions of Djinn society and who belonged to which faction because I was a bit tired and couldn’t keep them straight in my head. And I was a bit unsure because it looked like it was heading straight for a love battle and I am so not a fan of that trope.

But there was a part of the book (and looking back, a week from reading it because I’ve been hella lax about writing my reviews I couldn’t even tell you exactly what part it was) and suddenly I couldn’t stop reading. I was desperate to know how the story was going to end and just who was going to get the collosal bite in the ass I knew was coming. Luckily I didn’t have work the next day because I stayed up far later than was sensible to carry on reading (haven’t we all been there?)

I couldn’t even tell you what part of it I liked so much. I liked Nahri, even as she annoyed me. Dara did wind me up a bit in his ‘women shouldn’t do this/daeva don’t do this’ holier than thou attitude but on the whole I liked him. And I liked Ali. I think, true to form, I liked how the characters were incredibly flawed people, and that they don’t necessarily try to do the good thing but the right thing according to their beliefs. I don’t know. I just know that I woke up the next morning having dreamt of djinn and had to force myself not to read Kingdom of Copper on my kindle straight away (I wanted to pace myself because I still have a few months till Empire of Gold).

Honestly, I think the wonderful escapism that City of Brass provided, that it helped me slip through a portal to a completely different magical world, is why I so thoroughly enjoyed it. I forgot time for a while, and it was wonderful.

Thing is, I can see why people might not like this book. And I can see why people do. I fall into the latter categoy (clearly) and I’m looking forward to adding the collection to my physical bookshelf once the set is complete, rather than just having a kindle copy!

Keep finding the magic carpets to mythical cities in the sand.

Bea

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