City of Brass

544 pages

English language

Published Sept. 11, 2017 by HarperCollins Publishers Limited.

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4 stars (8 reviews)

"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 …

3 editions

The City of Brass

4 stars

City of Brass is the first book in SA Chakraborty's Daevabad medieval Muslim fantasy trilogy. The premise is that an Egyptian thief with mysterious healing powers accidentally summons a warrior djinn; it turns out she is the last of a race of Nahid djinn and is whisked away to a hidden city of Daevabad where she is immediately embroiled in politics.

What I enjoyed the most out of this book was the multilayered and dynamic political and personal tensions. The current Geziri rulers destroyed the previous Nahid/Daeva rulers, now living as ~second class citizens in Daevabad. The historical (and present) conflict between them revolves around Shafit half-djinn who are both required to live in Daevabad and also forced to live in squalor. For me, this is fantasy politics at its best where everybody's grievances and actions are understandable and often there's no good answers.

The two alternating perspectives of this …

Review of 'The city of brass' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

S.A. Chakraborty has crafted an impressively deep and complex would filled with characters that are engaging and feel quite real. I can’t come up with enough positive adjectives to fully describe the setting. It’s that good. The characters, however, while feeling real, simply didn’t connect with me and I found myself actively disliking most of them. In the end, this hampered my enjoyment of the story.

The City of Brass has one of the most unique and deep settings of any fantasy novel. From takes on djinn and ifrit and marids to an amazingly intricate system of family, tribes, and governance, Chakraborty has spared no detail in fleshing out her world—or, perhaps technically her alternative history, though after the first few chapters this has more the feel of secondary world fantasy. To top it off, not only is the world intricate, it is also entirely non-western, and I want more …

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  • Imaginary places, fiction
  • Fiction, action & adventure
  • Fiction, fantasy, historical
  • Fiction, fantasy, epic