Empire of Gold
Author: SA Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Synopsis: Daevabad has fallen.
After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.
But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.
Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.
As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.
Review: Empire of Gold, the last installment in the Daevabad trilogy, started out slow, then went full throttle at the halfway mark. No, it wasn’t my favorite book in the series. I preferred the excitement and romance that filled the pages in Kingdom of Copper. Cue Dara. I no longer binge read series, so I struggled to remember the extensive world building presented in the first two books. The glossary is super helpful to those who enjoy breaks mid trilogy. Unfortunately, I found the glossary at the back of the book, after I finished reading.
Empire of Gold’s plot is dense. Read slow or you’ll miss crucial information that is needed to understand the big twist at the end. Our beloved characters, Nahri, Ali, Dara, and a long list of others, go through hell in this installment. Chakraborty isn’t afraid to drag them through the Marid mud, though my eyes didn’t water like they did in book two. Why? My connection to the characters in Empire of Gold had lessened because I failed to remember the world building, tribes, and cast of characters that I learned about in books one and two.
I will say this, the ending is heartbreaking yet satisfying. The author wraps up the trilogy beautifully, but leaves us wondering if we’ll see more books surrounding a specific character.
Chakraborty is a magnificent author who weaves a stunning canvas that tickles the readers’ senses. Her vivid descriptions of Middle Eastern culture pull you into the story with ease, and her dialogue flows effortlessly. Her sentence structure and impactful writing always stand out. As an author, I take notes while reading.
The way she presents LGBTQ characters is flawless. Unlike a lot of authors who throw LGBTQ characters into their stories to appease the LGBTQ community, Chakraborty does it naturally. Nothing feels forced. As a heterosexual female, I don’t gravitate toward LGBTQ books that focus solely on LGBTQ characters. Judge me all you want. It’s not my cup of tea, but I do enjoy reading books with a diverse cast of characters, including members of the LGBTQ community.
Adult language, graphic violence
Escapism Factor: 4/5
Emotional Connection: 4/5
Character Development: 4/5
Completed read: September 2021