Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
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 . . .
“A delicious debut that blew my mind in the best way possible.” J.M. Buckler, author of the Seeker of Time series
I started listening to this book on Audible. My mistake. The narrator had a soothing voice, but her execution fell flat. She made Nahri and Ali sound whinny, immature. I was very close to putting the book down for good, but a fellow reader encouraged me to continue the story with the physical copy. What a difference! It hooked me after a few pages. I couldn’t put it down.
Chakraborty is a magician with words. Her vivid details transported me to Daevabad. I found my mouth watering because of her delicious descriptions of Indian cuisine. I had a strong connection with each character. The world-building in the novel is mind-blowing. I see why it got picked up by television producers. I can’t wait to see this series come to life.
Chakraborty writes with powerful emotions and stunning imagery that draws the reader into her novel. Yes, it is a dense book, and I struggled with the pronunciation of names and locations. This is one you don’t rush to finish. You savor each sentence on every page. It’s a work of art.
The author’s pacing was fantastic. Each character had his/her own voice. I didn’t need to read the tags to know who was speaking.
Overall, I adored this book. I loved everything about it.
Readers: perfect for those who enjoy high fantasy, Indian culture, plot twists, subtle romance, memorable characters, and beautiful world-building
Writers: perfect for those looking to elevate their craft. Chakraborty’s series teaches a variety of sentence structures, rich description, world-building, swordplay, believable dialogue, escapism, and emotional showing vs telling.
Triggers/Warnings: some adult language, graphic scenes that some may find disturbing
Escapism Factor: 5/5
Emotional Connection: 5/5
Character Development: 5/5
Completed Read: 8/31/2020