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The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 545 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Two things really leap out at me. First, the world-building is superb. The author is very good at showing, not telling, and there is a lot of mystery hinted as there is a great deal the characters themselves do not know about how the world works. It seems marids are as mysterious to djinn as djinn initially are to the reader. I am really looking forward to learning more in the next book. The Arabian Nights sort of setting is relatively uncommon in fantasy literature, and it's nice to see more writing in that area (a tip of the hat here to Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon).
Second, the characters are fascinating and sympathetic. This is particularly noteworthy as many of the characters are at odds with one another, yet I sympathized with each of them, even when they were in direct conflict! These are complicated, deeply human (in the emotional sense - they are nominally a variety of fantasy races) characters with strengths and weaknesses. They make mistakes, and their current states reflect that, but in each case you can understand why they did what they did. There is one scene where two of the main characters are doing their level best to kill one another. I loved both characters, and couldn't really say that either was in the wrong. That's a difficult task for a novelist to pull off, and a great achievement for a debut novel.
The world building is incredibly rich - in both setting and the politics of the world of djinn and daevas.
Nahri is a clever con artist, with strange healing powers, who soon realizes she may not be completely human. She sets out on a journey with Dara, a daeva (don't call him a djinn) with a grumpy personality and a dark past. Alizayd is the prince of Daevabad - a righteous boy who wants to do well, but doesn't always succeed in court politics.
As the main characters intersect, the web of court politics begins to tighten. Everyone has an agenda, and, impressively, I found myself sympathizing with most of them. I was truly conflicted as to who I wanted to triumph - most of the characters had a point. These secondary characters sparkle. There are interesting sibling dynamics, scheming rulers, romantic entanglements, and revolutionaries.
The writing is also great - Chakraborty excels at writing impactful lines to end scenes and chapters.
This novel is so intricate, so compelling, and with such a complex world, it's astonishing. It would be a triumph for any writer, but even more so a triumph for a debut author. I cannot wait for the next installment.
Most recent customer reviews
I highly recommend it.
I am now left wanting more and I hope the author delivers soon.