Review: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

April 23, 2018
The City of Brass, (The Daevabad Trilogy #1), S.A. Chakraborty, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Harper Audio on November 14, 2017
Format Read: Audiobook (Timestamp 19:36 mins)
Genre: Fantasy/ Historical Fiction/ Young Adult
Series: Book One of The Daevabad Trilogy
Source: Hoopla
The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)
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 trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to question all she believes. For the warrior tells her 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 not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In Daevabad, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. A young prince dreams of rebellion. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she 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 . . .


 Content Warning: Descriptive Violence, Torture, Gore


Epic story telling full of intrigue, magic, twists and humor. This was the first audio book I've listened to in years. I've discovered that unlike other more adept listeners I'm only able to get into Audio Books at normal speed. This was a big book, but the writing and action made me want to keep going the whole way through. Nahri is a wonderful protagonist who is struggling to figure out who she is and who she could be. At the beginning of Nahri's journey she is surviving in 18th century Cairo by using her magical abilities, cleverness and sleight of hand to make a living. She accidentally conjures a djinn named Dara. He slowly who reveals where she comes from and gives her clues to who she is, and serves as her protector.
Nahri sets off with Dara after efrit (demons) attack them and to the magical city of Daevabad. In this city we are introduced to Prince Alizayed who is  the second son of the King. The book alternates between his and Nahri's point of views. Ali is torn between helping the shafit (people who are human and djinn) who suffer under poverty and mistreatment at the hands of the pure blooded. Daevabad is full of alliances, betrayals and secrets. Ali has to learn to navigate the politics of the city. Nahri has to adjust to new responsibilities and hard choices she has to make once she arrives. She quickly learns that she has to create her own alliances and trust no one in the process.

The world building in this book is phenomenal.  The Daevabad tribes and forms of magic that exist in led to engaging action and twists I didn't see coming. There are different species besides djinn and human, they follow different rules and exist in different lands. The religion described in the book has heavy Muslim influences, and the history described was well researched. The romance included was not insta-love but instead multifaceted and well thought out. There is a lot to digest but  I was never overwhelmed by the plot points and characters that are introduced. The ending was a cliff hanger, so I can't wait to continue the series. This was a fantastic start to a wonderful world full of characters you will root for and despise.

Recommended for readers who
-enjoy middle eastern influenced historical fiction
-relish in fantastic world building
-appreciate humor mixed in with serious topics and atmospheres


S. A. Chakraborty is a speculative fiction writer from New York City. Her debut, THE CITY OF BRASS, is the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy set in the 18th century Middle East and will be published in November 2017 by Harper Voyager. When not buried in books about Mughal portraiture and Omani history, S. A. enjoys hiking, knitting, and cooking unnecessarily complicated meals for her family.

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