Sunday, November 12, 2017

Early Review of The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

Title: The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy)
Classification: New Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy
Format: Paperback; 544 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (November 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0062690957
ISBN-13: 978-0062690951
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes need to be checked against the final version as they are subject to change.

At first glance, Nahir appears to be an average girl. Take a second glance, and you will probably notice her eyes--they're unnaturally black. If you take the time to take a closer look, however, and really see her, you'll notice there is nothing average or ordinary about her.

Nahir has been living on the streets of Cairo since the age of five speaking a language no one else knew and she hasn't heard since. She doesn't remember much about her parents or where they hail from. Living on the streets, she's survived anyway she could. She can smell a con from a mile away because she's used most of them. But when she decides to hold a zar, a traditional ceremony meant to deal with djinn possession, and sings one of the traditional songs in her native tongue (because it sounds unusual and eerie) a disembodied voice answers asking, "WHO ARE YOU?" Her life will never be the same...

"You're playing with things you don't understand, Nahri. They're not your traditions. You're going to get your soul snapped up by a demon if you're not more careful." (...)

"You needn't worry. There's no magic, I swear." Seeing the doubt on his face, she decided to be more frank. "It's nonsense, all of it. There's no magic, no djinn, no spirits waiting to eat us up. I've been doing tricks long enough to learn none of it's real."(...)

"That's very arrogant of you, Nahri. Blasphemous, even," he added, looking taken aback. "Only a fool would speak in such a way."
A while ago I wished someone would write a genie tale that was not a remake of Aladdin, but something truly their own, original and new. Around that same time I also wished more authors would create their own original "fairy tale" type stories like Naomi Novik did with her story  'Uprooted'. Well, my wishes have been granted by at least one author--S. A. Chakraboty's 'The City of Brass' just knocked my socks off. Call me enchanted.

In the Daevabad trilogy, Ms. Chakraorty has created a wonderfully magical world where there are six different tribes of daeva (aka genies/djinn) with different skills. There are also those of mixed species who are the offspring of both daeva and humans called shafit. Shafits are scorned and often mistreated because humans are considered to be far beneath the notice of daeva. When Nahir accidentally unleashes an ancient Afshin warrior, she soon comes to realize she's not what she always thought she was. She's something more...

Nahir is smart, curious, and strong. She'll make the best of whatever situation she's in. She doesn't trust easily, but when she does she's quite loyal to her friends. What complicates her predicament is that right around the time she was born a change of power happened, and not all the residents of Daevabad are happy about it to this day. Nahir is about to walk right into that world and end up smack dab in the center of a power struggle which is never a good place to be.

Prince Alizayd 'Ali' al Qahtani is the second son of the current king of Daevabed. The chapters of the book toggle between Nahir's and his viewpoint. Ali is the result of a political marriage intended to forge an alliance between two of the daeva tribes. Ali doesn't agree with many of his father's practices and his treatment of the shafit is a big one. Ali sympathizes with these underdogs of the daeva world and has been secretly trying to help them. Something which could get him into deep trouble.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. The series holds great promise and I'm looking forward to finding out where the author takes Nahir, Ali, and us next. I loved Nahir and how she has to try to figure out what is truth and what is lie. She walks a fine perilous line where one wrong move could be her last. While there is a lot going on and much is revealed, there is so much we and Nahir still have to learn about Nahir's family, her power, and the daeva world she now finds herself a part of. Tensions run high and there seems to be twists and turns around every corner. I have a feeling Ali and Nahir together will stir things up in Daevabed which is nicknamed The City of Brass due to the brass walls that protect it. I, for one, can't wait. A wonderful debut that I HIGHLY recommend.

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