My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

ARC Review: The City Of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.  Also I have linked the book cover to Amazon.  If you buy the book through this link, I will get a small fee.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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 . . .

I have a confession to make:  I didn't know much about this book when I requested it.  I was solely attracted to it's lovely cover!  But, to my utter delight, I found this book to be full of surprises.  With a fun, self-reliant heroine, an intricate world based on Arabic mythology, and a wonderful look into Arabic culture, this book was very entertaining. 

What I Liked:

Nahri is a resourceful thief and con artist, making her own way on the tough streets of 18th century Cairo.  She has always been able to heal others, and uses her gift of knowing what's wrong with someone's health to swindle them out of their money!  Not exactly an angel, is she?

But, one night when she is performing a fake exorcism, she unwittingly calls upon a Djinn warrior, and unleashes a chain of events that reveal her true identity.

I loved how self-reliant Nahri was.  She was not a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. But she did have a lot to learn about looking past her own needs and being there for others.  Her story arc is fun to follow, and I loved how she matured as the novel progresses.

Most of the other characters were men, such as the warrior, Afshin, and the two princes Ali and Muntadhir.  Each had their own private demons to slay.  Ali, in particular, was very young and inexperienced in the ways of palace politics.  He learns the hard way about whom to trust, and lend his support to.  

The only other significant female characters were the cranky servant Nisreen, and the spoiled princess Zaynab.  Both characters seem, at first, to be two-denominational, but later show depth as their situations begin to be understood by Nahri.

Except for some exposure to the stories of Aladdin, the mythology of Arabic culture is not something I am familiar with.  I found the intricate world of the Djinn to be exciting and fun to discover.  And there is a lot for the reader to learn!  There are six tribes of Djinn, each with different traditions and beliefs.  And there is another group of half human/ half djinn people called Shafit.  They are treated with contempt and used as slaves by some of the tribes.  I loved the tension between the different groups as they try to live with each other.

There are also a wide range of creatures to encounter such as Ifrit (creatures who are the enemies of the Djinn), Simurgh (firebirds), Zahhak (fire-breathing lizards), Peri (air elementals), and Ghouls (zombies).  It is exciting to read how the main characters work with (or clash with) each creature.  This aspect kind of reminded me of Rick Riordan's Lightning Thief books! 

Arabic Culture:
Oh, the food!  I am a person who tends to explore different cultures through culinary experiences.  The descriptions of curries, pastries, and teas will make your mouth water!  

Along with food, many of the characters follow various practices of the Muslim faith, including traditional attire, customs about men and women interacting, and daily prayer.  These details enriched my understanding of the culture and I loved them.

What I Was Mixed About:
As a reader, I was really excited by the intricate world-building and complex society of the city of Daevabad.   But I was also really confused, at times.  Thankfully, there was a glossary of terms at the end of the book to explain some of the language.  But there needed to be much more in the glossary, along with an explanation of the six tribes of Djinn.  I kept getting them all mixed up!  Hopefully the finished copy will have a nice chart to help the reader keep everything clear.



Release Date:  November 14th, 2017

Genre:  Historical Fantasy

Publisher:  Harper Voyager

Page Length:  528 pages

Source:  Edelweiss

Format:  ARC E-Book

Recommendation:  An exciting fantasy filled with the magic and romance of Egypt.  Strong characters and the rich culture of the region make this a treat! 
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1 comment :

  1. I really need to get to reading this! It does look so good.


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