Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Clare Reviews: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)Title: The City of Brass
Author: S. A. Chakraborty
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #1
Format: ARC
Source: Received in Illumicrate
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: 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 . . .

The first thing I loved about this book was Nahri. We do get another character POV who I never got quite as attached to and there are numerous side characters who, again, never completely stole my heart. But Nahri herself was wonderful. She was so duplicitous and cunning and manipulative (basically everything my Slytherin heart wants in an MC) but also had a really good heart and she was just trying to survive. So often fantasy characters have such grand world-saving goals and I adored having a character who was just trying to stay afloat. 

The world building is incredible. We start in Egypt (Napoleonic era Egypt) and later move to 'The City of Brass' itself - Daevabad. I loved the small amount of time we spent in Egypt - it being one of my most-longing-to-visit places and the beautiful writing led superbly into the well-crafted world of the Daeva. Daevabad was such a unique setting. I honestly felt like I could visualise it in my mind - and not just the physical city but the warring factions and the rising tensions. Getting a view of all the sides of the issue made my head spin at times but I loved that there was no clear good or evil - just a whole city full of people trying to promote their own beliefs and the safety of their own family. 

The relationships between characters were intriguing but not necessarily my favourite part of the novel. The releationship between Dara and Nahri emerged rather quickly and was then never fully developed whilst her friendships with other people happened too quickly for me too. Which is weird because this is not a short book so I don't understand the need to rush the relationships. There are also side characters who have unique relationships between themselves and these did intrigue me although we saw only hints of them. I'm hoping that in a future book these are more thoroughly experienced. 

The main drawback for me is that there wasn't a whole lot of plot. This didn't hugely matter because the characters, the setting and the writing were all enough to keep me turning the pages eagerly. But looking back on it now I'm not sure what the plot was. Which again - brings me back to the length of the book. If, like me, you kinda love long books with lots of description and dialogue then you'll probably love this. But if you want your fantasy with a bit more direction then you might be disappointed. That's not to say there wasn't action. The first section of the book had plenty and the last few chapters were relatively blood soaked.

I went into this with no expectations whatsoever and came out having very much enjoyed the time I spent reading. This wont be for everyone but I highly recommend it for the gorgeous writing, the diverse setting and characters and the hints of a great series to come. 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds pretty great despite the plot shortfalls. and I love the cover!!