NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Library Journal | Vulture | The Verge | SYFYWire
Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty perfect for fans 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.
On the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed skill. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she learns that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
Forced to flee Cairo, Dara and Nahri journey together 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, to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass.
It’s a city steeped in magic and fire, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell; a city where old resentments run deep and the royal court rules with a tenuous grip; a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound—and where her very presence threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.
*Finalist for the World Fantasy Award: Best Novel
*Nominated for the Locus Award: Best First Novel
*Finalist for the British Fantasy Award: Best Newcomer
Featuring a stepback and extra content including a bonus scene and an excerpt from The Kingdom of Copper.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Immerse yourself in the opulent, complex world of The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty’s thrilling historical-fantasy debut. The rich may pay her to heal them, but con artist Nahri doesn’t believe in magic. That is, until one of her phony spells actually works, summoning a mysterious spirit warrior who leads her on an epic adventure through a magical Middle Eastern kingdom. We loved Chakraborty’s vivid world-building, which made the magical story line feel like it was grounded in a real, relatable world—so much so that we dove right into The Kingdom of Copper, the next book in the Daevabad Trilogy.
The familiar fantasy theme of a young person learning of a hidden supernatural legacy is given new life in this promising debut novel, set in late-18th-century Egypt. Twenty-something Nahri, who has the ability to sense illness in others and to heal some ailments, supports herself as a fortune-teller and con artist in Cairo. Her routine, if precarious, existence, is shattered when a girl she is trying to help is possessed by an ifrit. Nahri only avoids being killed through the intervention of Dara, a djinn, who reveals that Nahri is from a family of magical healers. Chakraborty combines the plot's many surprises with vivid prose ("The cemetery ran along the city's eastern edge, a spine of crumbling bones and rotting tissue where everyone from Cairo's founders to its addicts were buried"), and leavens the action with wry humor. There is enough material here a feisty, independent lead searching for answers, reminiscent of Star Wars's Rey, and a richly imagined alternate world to support a potential series.
Refreshing and different
If you’re into fantasy books, this series offers a refreshingly different take on magic and fantasy worldbuilding because it’s one of the few that aren’t Euro-centric. I really enjoyed reading about Middle Eastern/central Asian fantasy creatures and cultures. I thought the story was also pretty interesting and I like the main character Nahri a lot. I think I would have given it 5 stars if it had stronger romantic subplot(s). I think there was good potential but the romance elements failed to sizzle for me.
Unlikeable protagonist cartoony stakes
If you want to be frustrated with characters and befuddled by fictional racism and prejudice this book is for you.