This book review is likely the one in the whole lineup where I questioned if I should even try writing it. Not for lack of enjoying it, but the sheer amount of time it’s been since I read it. To bring you all up to speed; I read this book during the first week of July. Yes, I really do mean the first week of July. Clearly, with a two week post dry spell something was happening to keep me from posting, or so you’d hope. The good news is that, yes, I had a decent excuse for my bad posting behavior, and now that I finished up the course I am freeeee to read and review like a madman, er madwoman. With that down, let’s finally get down to the review of City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty!
When I heard about this book it was making the rounds on Goodreads, and Instagram, so naturally I held off, not knowing all the details or having heard much about it. I just knew the book was oh so pretty and I was trying not to pick up books solely based on the covers anymore (keyword trying). Being the good reader I can be (occasionally) I held off before eventually grabbing it for a vacation trip, this time knowing that everyone was raving about this book. So basically I fell behind again, oops. But, I did read this one first on the trip, and loved it! So, what is City of Brass about?
Nahri, is a con woman living in Cairo, Egypt. She doesn’t believe in magic, but that doesn’t mean she won’t play along if it puts food in her belly, and keeps a roof over her head. She may not have many “friends” or a family to look after her but she makes do, and has survived as much solely on her own. All this changes though when she recites an enchantment that brings a mysterious being forth, a djinn warrior, who is just the beginning of her introduction into a magical and dangerous world that she might have been a part of all this time.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
5 out 5 stars, you say? Well then, why the wait for a review? Well, besides the whole crazy life moment, I also had the small hiccup of a destroyed book I left at the beach. No matter how hard I tried to keep this book looking pristine, sand and weather warped the binding of the book, making it too thick and curved to fit on a bookcase. I hope some day to get another copy, but for now I’ll have to just make do (it’s $16 for a new pb, and I am cheap).
Beyond the long wait for the 5 star review, I really enjoyed reading this book, though it did set the bar pretty high for my other beach reads (I ended up not being able to finish two if that says anything). Chakraborty did a fantastic job of giving us a mix of magic with the dose of reality. The world that Nahri lives in is the reality bit, just with magic being believed in (unlike our world), and then a world that exists in secret that has magic. Where this story takes off though, is that its like an adult Harry Potter world. We have all kinds of creatures introduced, but none are genies like from Aladdin, and it’s a rather dark world. For part of the story I felt a mix of excitement and dread for Nahri and whether she was djinn herself. On one hand, she could have family, on the other, that could get her killed or trapped altogether.
Where this book can make or break it for readers, is based solely on what you’re looking for. There is action, but I’d say the world building, character development, and politics/intrigue is where I was more on edge. Even when Nahri has to trust her djinn warrior, she is constantly trying to figure out his past, motives, and then turns that mistrust on the people he tries to leave her with. It feels like this story is built for intrigue/mystery, because while you feel like you are getting closer to an answer, you are also stumbling into a million other questions. I think overall, this novel went by really fast, which considering the size is big. On top of that, I know I want the next book, I’m just catching up on other reads, and waiting on a good deal. I’m really curious why there are so many paperbacks, etc that are $16+. Anyone else? It doesn’t always correlate with size, so it makes me wonder if I need to worry about rising book prices in my future.