The City of Brass: A Novel

The City of Brass: A Novel

by S. A. Chakraborty

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Overview

The City of Brass: A Novel by S. A. Chakraborty

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, an imaginative alchemy 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.

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing—are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. For Dara tells Nahri an extraordinary 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 birds of prey are more than what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries. 

Spurning Dara’s warning of the treachery surrounding her, she embarks on a hesitant friendship with Alizayd, an idealistic prince who dreams of revolutionizing his father’s corrupt regime. All too soon, Nahri 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 to be careful what you wish for . . .

 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062678102
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/14/2017
Series: Daevabad Trilogy
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 80,299
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

S. A. CHAKRABORTY is a speculative fiction writer from New York City. Her debut, The City of Brass, was the first book in the Daevabad trilogy. You can find her online at www.sachakraborty.com or on Twitter @SAChakrabooks.

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The City of Brass: A Novel 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is beautifully written with complex and multilayered characters. You find yourself rooting and condemning the actions and beliefs of your favourite characters. Can't wait for book 2
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing story, with characters who burn brightly. Happy to know it is the first of a trilogy. as I did not want the adventures to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I need more!
Raine23611 12 days ago
Oh. Oh my. Why did I read this book before book 2 was released? Drowning in tears of my own regret. The writing. The characters. The setting. The pacing. The EVERYTHING. I couldn't have more love for this book. Chakraborty is a mastermind of adult fantasy and I cannot wait to read her next book. The depth of her world-building is on par with C.S. Friedman. It's the first time I've read another author who could make me fall so completely in love with every part of the story. So. Well. Done.
pooled_ink 4 months ago
pooled ink Reviews: Well first of all it’s an impressive debut novel to be sure! The imagery, the plot, the writing, it unfolds with such unique flavor and grandeur that it’s to be commended. I certainly enjoyed the fresh take on this fantasy tale as it not only is inspired by Middle Eastern culture but is actually rooted and suffused with it. Egypt, Islam, and Middle Eastern myths are not mere facets to the story but are the story’s heart from whence the story blooms. That being said it was easy to enjoy while reading but just as easy to put down and step away. My favorite aspect of this book was the world-building however it could admittedly become quite dense and overly-detailed in the writing, but the imagery and concepts were breathtaking. If you're able to persevere and utilize a determined imagination then you'll likely get swept away by it all. THE CITY OF BRASS is a novel proud with magic, myths, and destiny. Spun together with an expert pen, adventure and politics whisk the reader away in this desert tale of family, oppression, fate, and love. Boldly told and adorned by a delicate hand, this historical fantasy deserves the praise it receives.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I loved this book sooooooo much! The world was intricate and wonderfully described. The characters were all amazingly fleshed out and multi-faceted with their own motivations and goals that were weaved together with a fluidity that is rare to find(in my opinion). I was on the edge of my seat from page 1, and scared my dog as I screamed my way through the book. The plot took some unexpected twists and turns that were highly refreshing. As much as I love Nahri and Ali (Ali more so towards the end of the book, to be fair), my favorite character was -------- (I can't tell you the name, as that is not revealed in the synopsis or for a while in the book and I don't want to spoil as it is pretty relevant to the plot). I love this character sooooo much, and everytime they were in the story I was completely enamored of the layers and depth of personality (not that the other characters do not have depth and layers to their personalities, but wooooooooo buddy). I could literally go on forever about this book, and I highly, highly recommend anyone go out and get this book. I cannot wait for the sequel, The Kingdom of Copper, to come out in January 2019! So if you haven't read it yet (or you want to reread it), you have time to get yourself, your mom, dad, sibling, cousin, extended family, friend(s) a copy of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. Each step of the way Chakraborty weaves an immersive tale full of moral gray areas and political intrigue. This has easily become my favorite book and I can't wait for the next installment of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When will the next book be out?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Historical Cairo, a dangerous journey across the desert, and the djinn city Daevabad... There are few books that tick all of my boxes the way THE CITY OF BRASS does. This book is wonderfully researched and filled to the brim with an enchantingly built world. The pacing, too, is excellent with just enough information given to keep the story engaging and compelling. It is steeped in mythology to the point that I even forgot we ever inhabited the "real world" in the first place. However, as usual, my favorite aspect was the characters. We have Nahri: thief, healer, con artist and veil-wearing BAMF who accidentally uses magic she knows nothing about. Along the way she learns more about her legacy, thanks mostly in part to Dara, the grumpy Daeva warrior of legend. Their relationship in particular - which builds slowly over their time traveling from Cairo to Daevabad - gave my angsty heart everything it ever wanted. "She stomped toward the forest. If I die out here, I hope I come back as a ghoul. I will haunt that arrogant, wine-soaked daeva until the Day of Judgment." We also are privy to the goings-on in Daevabad through Prince Alizayd, and learn about the less than ideal state of affairs. Tensions are high between the different djinn tribes, and the relationship between shafit (mixed djinn-humans) and full-blooded djinn even more so. Ali is trapped between his moral compass and loyalty to his family, a position that is even more fraught with anxiety once Nahri and Dara arrive. If all of this sounds complicated, it's because it is. But it never once feels dense. Chakraborty has a way of crafting characters and a world that at once feel familiar and legendary. There is a weight there, an anticipation that is prominent throughout as an undercurrent. All of our protagonists are fleshed out to the fullest, making their flaws just as endearing as their strengths. Most impressively, they all sit on issues differently, which means that as problems arise, the tension is palpable. By the last quarter of the book, I was holding my breath, frantically trying to read between tear-soaked eyes. I am rarely taken this strongly by debut series openers, but if this first book is anything to go off of, Chakraborty will be an author I'll be reading for many years to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this more than I thought I would! I cannot wait for the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I found myself completely immersed in the world, and could not put it down. I can't wait for the sequel!!
eclecticbookwrm More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book and enjoyed every single minute of it. Easily my favorite read of 2017. This book fires on all cylinders: captivating, fast-paced plot, gorgeous prose, and setting, and wonderful characters that leap off the page. I will read everything by S.A. Chakraborty.
padfoottonks More than 1 year ago
AMAZING! It was so great to read a book with muslim characters and the fact that it was set in 18th century Cairo and is genre'd as historical fiction made my nerdy little heart so happy! I do recommend referring back to the glossary in the back when things get a little confusing. These characters are so multi-faceted and the world is so consuming! GIMME THE NEXT BOOK ASAP. ALSO PROTECT ALIZAYD AT ALL COSTS!!!!!
LittleFoxAndReads More than 1 year ago
The City of Brass is an #OwnVoices Muslim fantasy set in 18th century Middle East. It’s a sprawling, intricate world of magical creatures and kingdoms, with a focus on the fire elementals—djinns. It’s a beautifully diverse book that features POC characters. The writing is gorgeous and vividly captures the richness of this magical world. The story unfolds through two POVs but introduces so many great characters. The main characters of this first book are: ► Nahri : She is a con-artist in Cairo. Having grown up on the streets alone without an inkling of her childhood life, she does anything to get by. Nahri has always had an ability to heal people. She thinks nothing of it, assuming it is just a natural talent, but rumors have spread of her ‘psychic abilities’ and Nahri, being the clever hustler she is, uses that to her advantage. She performs sham rituals and leads ceremonies when she really doesn’t believe in magic at all. It is during such a ceremony, that she accidentally calls on a djinn warrior and sets off a whole army of demons and ghouls after herself. ► Dara : He is one of the greatest djinn warriors in history. He is guarded and extremely mysterious, but one thing is clear—he has a violent past that haunts his every step. Being the loyal soldier he is, Dara agrees to help Nahri escape to Daevabad, the city of brass, the only place she could be safe. ► Ali : Alizayd is the second character with a POV. He is the younger son of Daevabad’s current king. He was trained his whole life to serve his older brother, the crown prince, without question. But Ali disagrees with the workings of Daevabad. He loathes how shafits (djinn-human or mixed blood djinns) are treated and secretly funds a rebel group of the city. This gets him caught between the warring factions of the city. This book is so complex and just so smartly incorporates difficult and incredibly important topics like systematic oppression, cultural/religious/racial tension, the long-lasting effects of war and all the blind hate and mistrust that comes with it. My praise for this book is never-ending but there are some small details that cemented my love for it: – Everything is complex af. There are no clear-cut villainous characters or groups of people. Throughout the whole book, I could not decide who to side with. All the characters are messed up too so it made for a really stressful read. – ALIZAYD IS EVERYTHING. He is not at all a likeable character. I mean he is grumpy 80% of the time and he makes some f***ed up choices, but his heart is in the right place. He is young but so self-aware; he has his own set of values and belief that he doesn’t waver from. I love how devout and religious he is and I love how he fights for what he believes. My favorite character in this book. – The characters STRUGGLE. I was so stressed throughout this whole book. I can’t even explain how much pain that last few chapters subjected me to. Nahri struggles with learning magic and even makes mistakes that lead to injuring some of her healing patients. Ali struggles with having to choose between his family and his morals and dealing with the consequences of his actions. Dara struggles with his prejudices and his past that seems to be sneaking up closer to him by the minute. All this made The City of Brass an eerily realistic experience, making it easy to be incredibly attached to the characters and get hopelessly wrapped up in the story.
ShesGoingBookCrazy More than 1 year ago
A book with this much stuff in it is difficult to review, no matter which way it's tackled. Unfortunately, my review won't be as in-depth as I would like; I listened to the audiobook version, and feel like I missed out on a lot of detail doing so. Reading a physical book definitely has it's perks, especially when there are multiple titles and names to keep track of. And this book has a lot. If you haven't read this book, if you love fantasy, if you love fantasy set in different cultures, if you love diverse characters (in many aspects), then you might enjoy this book! Set in Cairo, Egypt (at least in the beginning) The City of Brass brings a unique perspective, background, and story to the reader. Nahri is a con-artist, used to swindle people out of their money in order to make ends meet. While her motive isn't necessarily bad, seeing how she wants to one day get an education to become a real and reputable healer, she rarely reflects on the methods she takes in order to do so. Little does Nahri know that she is closer to becoming a healer than she realized, but in a way that she completely doesn't expect. Through a mishap with one of her exploits, Nahri accidentally summons a djinn warrior, (a spirit capable of doing good or evil in Islamic mythology). Before his appearance, Nahri never believed in the supernatural, or that the magical world exists. Yet, she discovers from this ancient warrior that her fate is tied to the mythical city of brass; Daevabad. While this is a Young Adult fantasy, it teeters on the fence and falls into an adult tale. Nahri is in her twenties. Considering some of its content, it's clearly geared towards a mature reader. It is told from the perspective of two main characters, Nahri and Ali. Ali's is a djinn prince living in Daevabad. He comes from a very different, yet, not-so-different background than Nahri. Being raised away from his royal family and learning to protect his older brother's (the future king) life no matter the cost, Ali is exposed to the hardships the "undesirable" djinn tribes have. When he is returned to the palace and appointed to take the place at the head of the royal guard, his position is flipped. He now punishes those he grew up with by order of his father. Ali struggles greatly with the justice in his new position and gets himself into compromising situations when he takes matters into his own hands. Ali's character brings to light just how much injustice and oppression goes on between the djinn tribes in Daevabad. While certain groups are favored, others are seen as having impure blood, and second-class citizens. On the journey to Daevabad, Nahri learns all about the djinn history and cultures. Learning that she is not entirely human, (view spoiler) make these issues all the more relevant to her situation. The problem with a book being this long is that the beginning and end feel like two different stories. I think the disconnect comes from the varying speeds in the plot, along with the appearance and the disappearance of some characters. While this long story takes its sweet time in revealing all the pieces (okay, not really all), I felt like there were unnecessary scenes added just to distract the reader and prolonge the inevitable. Another issue I had with this read was keeping track of all of the names. There are so many terms that I never became familiar with, and felt could have used a little more explanation or fewer variations of terms used. My Rating: 3.5 stars
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4.5 stars The City of Brass is a stunning debut novel that has magic and political intrigue galore. Chakraborty did an exquisite job of bringing this world and these characters to life. Even though this book is over 500 pages, I felt as if it was too short. I would happily have read another 500 pages set in this world (so good thing it’s a trilogy!) Nahri, the main character and a con artist, is a wonderfully morally gray and sassy character. Even if I didn’t like the story and the writing so much, I would continue reading solely for her. In general, the character development was A+ in The City of Brass. I felt as if both Ali, the second viewpoint character, and Nahri grew significantly over the course of the book. The dual viewpoints worked perfectly to expand the scope of the story and to present a fuller view of the world. The world-building was very well done in general. I did occasionally get confused over terminology though. Since a majority of the book was very orientated around the political and religious conflicts in Daevabad, I felt lost sometimes and struggled to keep everything straight. However, despite my confusion, I really enjoyed the intricately woven plot, particularly when it became clear what everything was building toward. I was constantly changing my opinions about which characters were good and which were evil. Everything was beautifully nuanced, Chakraborty did an amazing job of portraying that which side is the “right” one depends entirely on your viewpoint. I would absolutely recommend The City of Brass to any YA or adult fantasy fan. This book was a beautifully written story that stays with you long after you turn the final page. I’m going to be desperately awaiting book two. I can’t wait to immerse myself in this captivating world again (particularly after that ending!!!) *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope there’s a sequel soon!
RozetteKR More than 1 year ago
Absolutely adored this novel! This story gripped my attention from the first and held it all the way through. The world, the mythology, the culture, everything about this book is wonderfully vibrant. And the characters! Words cannot describe how well developed, how real, how wonderful they are for the fact that they are not perfect. Can't wait for the other books in the series! Wonderful novel and even better story.
BenT-Gaidin More than 1 year ago
Really engrossing fantasy world; I loved all the details of the cities and the peoples living there. I also really appreciated how all the characters were trying to make the best of their lives, and doing right by what they could, even when it brought them into conflicts with each other. I do wish it had had a bit more of a proper resolution to this first book, though; usually I'd want it to be the second book that ended with everyone's plans crumbling around them. Still, a very enjoyable read and I hope it does well.
NovelKnight More than 1 year ago
I had to take a few days after finishing The City of Brass before I could write this review, otherwise you would've been reading "IT'S SO GOOD BUY THIS BOOK" over and over again. Which, I mean, if that works for you, awesome! I haven't rated a book this high this year with the exception of A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab and that particular title had a lot of emotion behind it as the last in a trilogy. And it all starts with the world-building. Chakraborty is a master. Every detail felt deliberate, meaningful, certain. I was immediately pulled into the world as though I stood next to Nahri, the thief whose story unfolds chapter by chapter. I felt like I was living in the desert, riding that old dusty carpet across the sands. It wasn't just the descriptions. Sure, I could see the world, but I could also feel it, smell it, hear the city of brass. I loved that there was a lot of dynamics in play within the world as well. I was never bored. Chakraborty tackles this beautiful fantasy world and, on top of that, goes into developing the dynamics between different djinn tribes and how they interact. There's a history that unfolds and it clearly affects the current day story. I've seen that done before. . . across multiple books. This was done in one and it didn't ever feel over the top or excessive. Everything just flowed. Now it wouldn't work without an amazing cast of characters. The City of Brass is told from two different perspectives -- the Cairo thief Nahri and the djinn prince Ali. I actually didn't expect the second perspective because Nahri summons a djinn (okay, daeva, the terms are better explained in the novel why there's a difference), Dara, who I expected to be the other perspective because. . . well for no other reason than that's what usually happens. But it DIDN'T and that was actually really cool. The two storylines didn't connect right away and I wasn't sure what was going on with that but they do eventually and it worked and I loved it. Goodness, I am having such a hard time writing this review. Remember how I said it was going to be all gush? I can't even put it into words. Nahri is sharp and witty, she's vulnerable yet strong. She's exactly the kind of character that I love because there's a personality there that shines through with every decision she makes. This is not a perfect character but she's a true character -- true to who she is and, to me, that makes her all the better. I also loved the uncertainty she portrayed. She's out of her teens but still questions life and honestly, I relate to that so much. She stole the show for me. Don't get me wrong, the other characters are AMAZING. Each has their distinct voice, their personality quirks that make them them and it worked. It all worked. And that romance. That SLOW BURN. Oh. My. Goodness. I hit the ending of the book and a part of me died inside and I just sat there wondering what I would do while I waited for the sequel. How could any book compare? I haven't been wrecked like this since ACOL and I know I've already compared this book to that one once but this debut knocked it out of the park. New auto-buy author. New must-have series. I might even start collecting editions (and if y'all know anything about me and collecting, I take it VERY seriously). Alright. If you got anything out of that gushing, wordy review, you need this book. YOU NEED THIS BOOK.
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
I am going to start this review by gushing about how much I loved Chakraborty’s writing! The best part of reading this book was the descriptions – the clothes (ALL THE PRETTY!!!!), the food (on some occasions), the backstory – it all created a lush background to set this story against. I am not sure I can delve into the influences of the book, but it strongly has a faery-story-like vibe – the djinn/daeva are magical beings with prolonged lives, and a city hidden from humans where they gather all those of djinn blood. Nahri, a street-smart con artist, catches the attention of the djinns and ifrits when she accidentally summons a warrior during a zar. She is then forced to flee with him to Daevabad, where the djinn live, and once there, she gets caught up in their politics. Now the story is told from two perspectives – Nahri for the most part, because it is HER story, but we also have Ali, or Prince Alizayd, the second prince of Daevabad, who is a devout young man, and is training to be Qaid (a position that seems like a bodyguard/Hand) for his older half brother, the emir Munthadhir, whom he loves like a sibling. For about half the book, Nahri and the warrior she summons, Dara, are trying to get to Daevabad and meanwhile, in Ali’s perspective, we see tensions brewing in the city, unknowingly ripe for the return of a descendant of the previous dynasty of rulers. It seems like Nahri is about to enter a pit of vipers, but as we get to know through the book, the situation is not as black and white as it seems. Caste politics and apartheid-like views divide the people into djinn and daevas, and much as you think the daevas are about to be harassed for their religious beliefs, they also are the ones whose ancestors used to believe in genocide for the mixed-blooded of their people, so it is like super complicated. Religion is also a major part of the background of the book, and I loved how the author wove it and Middle-Eastern culture so nicely into this story. I know I am repeating it again, but the way she describes everything, man! The only small grievance I had was that the word for them were not used often; instead, they were simplified for a general audience, rather than just use words like shalwar (or similar garments), and include them in the glossary later. The characters – Chakraborty has created an ensemble of complicated and grey-moral characters, which make Nahri’s complex about her background as a con artist seem silly. There is Dara – who is the grumbly warrior type that one would find adorable, kind, and swoony, but he also wasn’t a noble warrior (war crimes are not pushed under the rug in this one), Muntadhir, who I want to shake and say – just accept yourself and your feelings, man (He is so bi, it hurts me that he doesn’t want to follow his heart), the king, who is sort of lawful evil, I guess – he is horrifying in a way but he is also the one who has to hold a city of 6 different castes of djinn and keep them from murdering each other every day and I feel that, Ali, who maybe the mildest of the bunch, but still has a lot of hang-ups about what is proper, etc, and something tells me he won’t be accepting of his brother’s choice of crush. Nahri – oh, Nahri – she is such a smart cookie, and such a little rebel, but I didn’t really bond much to her. I love that she doesn’t forget her skills even when she is in the lap of luxury, and has a cunning mind to stand against the people trying to involve her in their schemes. She als