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The City of Brass

by S. A. Chakraborty

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Daevabad Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,369619,506 (3.99)92
"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"-- "A brilliantly imagined historical fantasy in which a young con artist in eighteenth century Cairo discovers she's the last descendant of a powerful family of djinn healers. With the help of an outcast immortal warrior and a rebellious prince, she must claim her magical birthright in order to prevent a war that threatens to destroy the entire djinn kingdom. Perfect for fans of The Grace of Kings, The Golem and the Jinni, and The Queen of the Tearling"--… (more)

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» See also 92 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Nahri is a healer and con woman in Cairo, but when she performs a zar and accidentally calls a djinn to her side, she is suddenly on the run from ifrits and learns about a heritage she never knew she had. Meanwhile, Ali is the king's second son, but he is drawn to the plight of shafit - half-djinn, half-human - but his loyalties between friends and family will be tested when a deal he financed goes horribly wrong.

The narrative goes back and forth between these two characters' point of view, though it stays in third-person. I usually have patience for world-building, but I thought it took Nahri far too long to get to Daevabad and set up the main action of the book. That being said, I very much enjoyed this Middle Eastern-set historical fantasy and the djinn politics that come into play as Nahri and Ali discover more about their respective worlds. I'll look forward to reading more. ( )
  bell7 | Jul 6, 2020 |
4.5/5 ( )
  primordialnyx | Jun 24, 2020 |
A whirlwind of a book!

After a slow start the last 2 thirds of this book just raced by. I think the slow start was caused by such an extensive magic system & world building but once the actual story took off then you think less of all the different elements & roles & just go with the story.

Overall I would recommend this book to high fantasy lovers due to the extensive world building. ( )
  kymisan | Jun 23, 2020 |
Chakraborty makes an excellent job in creating this hidden world full of majestic creatures with a complex history and political games. The characters are likeable in spite of, and perhaps because of their flaws.

The book acts as a great introduction to her trilogy in that it gets us to know the characters and the many plots going on at the same time. It finishes by opening the plot to even more possibilities. Can't wait to get my hands on Kingdom of Copper. ( )
  Miguel.Arvelo | Jun 9, 2020 |
There is a lot going in this book, and I mean a lot. Really enjoyed it, but still. Wow. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Jun 6, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
At the moment, speculative fiction has an exciting relationship with protest fiction and feminist narratives, and while “The City of Brass” doesn’t blow away cultural notions of difference or reconfigure the male-female divide, it does exploit the genre’s penchant for inclusion. In fact, the novel feels like a friendly hand held out across the world. (I hope very much that it will be translated into Arabic and Farsi.) It reads like an invitation for readers from Baghdad to Fairbanks to meet across impossibly divergent worlds through the shared language and images of the fantastical.
 
The expected first-novel flaws—a few character inconsistencies, plot swirls that peter out, the odd patch where the author assumes facts not in evidence—matter little. Best of all, the narrative feels rounded and complete yet poised to deliver still more.

Highly impressive and exceptionally promising.
added by melmore | editKirkus Reivews (Aug 21, 2017)
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chakraborty, S. A.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alcaino, MicaelaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nankani, SoneelaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Alia, the light of my life
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He was an easy mark.
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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 trades she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing—are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. For Dara tells Nahri 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 more than what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries. 

Spurning Dara’s warning of the treachery surrounding her, she embarks on a hesitant friendship with Alizayd, an idealistic prince who dreams of revolutionizing his father’s corrupt regime. All too soon, Nahri 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 . . .
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