“Often the mightiest things have the humblest beginnings…”
– S.A. Chakraborty, The City of Brass
Hey guys! Today is release day for S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel The City of Brass! My lovely bestie sent me an ARC of this book for my birthday recently and I absolutely loved it.
What the book is about…
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…
What I thought of it…
I don’t even know where to start with this review. This is one of the most fantastic debuts of recent years! I adored the Egyptian-inspired fantasy setting; Chakraborty’s attention to detail was superb, resulting in a stunningly realised world with complex religious and political history. The whole thing felt so cinematic and I’d be amazed if the movie rights weren’t snapped up before too long. I mean, it was full of djinn and ghouls and all sorts of funky creatures and magic. Ugh. Amazing.
There were moments when this book felt reminiscent of Laini Taylor’s writing, in that the author completely sweeps you off your feet and captivates you; even though the chapters were fairly long, I couldn’t put it down! I absolutely raced through it. The pacing was perfect, with a super fast start and crazy action-packed ending (which omg I cannot deal with and I need the next book immediately).
Other things about this book that I loved:-
- Slow-burning romance – no insta-love here sir, not today
- Some amazingly delicious foody descriptions
- Morally grey characters! Nahri is great but fully admits that she is not perfect. Quite frankly, I’ve been getting so tired of all these badass females in YA books that have no personality but can kill anything that moves and ride horses/dragons and cook delicious meals. That’s just not realistic. Nahri is a breath of fresh air.
- The dialogue! The conversations are all so easy to read and part of the reason I flew through the book so quickly.
To sum up, I am completely in awe of this own voices Muslim fantasy! It’s so brilliantly written and absolutely blew me away. Definitely recommend!
Is anyone else planning on picking this one up? Or was anyone else lucky enough to get an ARC? I’d love to discuss it with you!