If you enjoy fantasy, you will become entranced by The City of Brass. It is enthralling, filled with captivating characters in a lush setting. This has been one of my favorite fantasy reads this year – and the competition is fierce for that title.
Nahri is a talented con woman who has gotten through life relying on her resilience, intelligence, and her unusual talents. But her life is about to change, once she accidentally summons a Djinn warrior, one who is determined to keep secrets and unravel everything Nahri ever knew about herself. Their journey together will take them across deserts, into mythical cities, and the heart of the guilt and darkness of their past.
One of the things that immediately made me love The City of Brass was the immersive setting. Reading this is a sensory experience full of music, mouth watering food descriptions, and the heat of the desert. Together with the setting, Chakraborty paints a picture that combines this backdrop with detailed culture, history, and rich characters. It felt as if there was this door within me that City of Brass has a magical key to. There all this amazing history and legends are being woven before our eyes and the result becomes more than just entertainment.
Nahri and Ali are complex characters and ones I never even get a handle on until the end – if that. Nahri has to learn to embrace what has ostracized her, to challenge her conceptions of herself and the world, to delve into the darkness. Ali is so sure about his personality and life, making the moments where he doubts himself something we can identify with. Within these intricate characters are issues of inequality, race, and privilege. Chakraborty dives headfirst, portraying different aspects of the situations from many angles that allows us to see the complicated histories of repression, the necessity of moving forward, and the difficult process of healing.
The many storylines intertwine and reveal nuances about each side of the plot in a truly masterful storytelling technique. Each element is written in a way that illustrates Chakraborty’s appreciation and homage to the art of stories. I thought I knew where the story was going, until the middle when Chakraborty turns me around and laughs in my face – thwarting my expectations in a delirious and delicious way. The amount of drama, secrets, and twists, make my apprehension for the sequel dizzying. I can’t even talk about this without experiencing some serious feelings of sadness and withdrawal.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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