BooksOfTheMoon

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)

By S.A. Chakraborty

Rating: 4 stars

I’d heard some good buzz about this book but had known nothing about it when I picked it up. Nahri is a young woman who doesn’t believe in magic and makes a living conning the rich in 18th century Cairo. All she wants is to make enough money to get out of Cairo. Well, be careful what you wish for, because when she accidentally summons a djinn warrior to her side, she starts a journey that ends in the eponymous city of the title, and she learns about her family’s past and that her conning ways haven’t necessarily prepared her for court intrigues.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel of magic, politics and good old-fashioned trickery. Nahri thinks she’s world-wise, but she’s lost amongst the djinn of Daevabad, relying on her warrior Dara, and later on prince Ali who befriends her. She’s an interesting character, strong on the outside, but with the vulnerability of someone who’s never been able to rely on anyone or allow themselves to love.

Ali is interesting in a different way. He is sympathetic to those without pure djinn blood in Daevabad (the shafit), who are treated as second class citizens at best, and this sympathy leads him down paths that his more politically astute brother would never sanction. He’s also the most religiously devout character in the book, which can sometimes have him seeming like a wet blanket, as he refuses the wine and women that surround the rest of the nobility. This rigidity can sometimes make him difficult, especially in his dealings with the religion of Nahri’s people, but his actions, to both the shafit and to Nahri, keep him sympathetic.

The warrior, Dara, is probably the least developed character, falling into the cliche of the mysterious warrior with a troubled past. He is devoted to Nahri from early in their relationship but inflexible in his thinking.

There’s a lot going on here, and keeping tribes, races and the various politics clear in my head wasn’t always easy. It’s going to be some time before the next book is out in paperback, so I imagine I’ll have forgotten most of it by the time that comes around, and the same for the final book in the series. This is very much the end of an act though, and not a fully contained story in itself. It’s a great story though, and with plenty to hold interest and many hooks for future books.

Book details

ISBN: 9780008239428
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Year of publication: 2017

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