The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th 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. But when Nahri accidentally s...

Title:The City of Brass
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The City of Brass Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    It’s time to polish that

    lamp gathering webs in the attic, put a fine edge on your bladed weaponry, remind yourself of ancient tribal insults and outrages, dust off that list of wishes that is around here somewhere and vacuum your magic carpet. You are about to be transported.

    “The Magic Carpet” (detail), 1880, by Apollinary Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov © State Art Museum, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia/Bridgeman Art Library

    Nahri, our Aladdin here, is a twenty-year-old thief and con artist, working

    It’s time to polish that

    lamp gathering webs in the attic, put a fine edge on your bladed weaponry, remind yourself of ancient tribal insults and outrages, dust off that list of wishes that is around here somewhere and vacuum your magic carpet. You are about to be transported.

    “The Magic Carpet” (detail), 1880, by Apollinary Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov © State Art Museum, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia/Bridgeman Art Library

    Nahri, our Aladdin here, is a twenty-year-old thief and con artist, working marks in 18th Century French-occupied Cairo. She has a gift for discerning medical maladies and another for treating them. She is adept at languages and at parting the unwary from their money. When she is called in to help deal with a 12-year-old girl who is possessed, she rolls her eyes and opts to have a bit of fun trotting out an old spell that has never worked before. The difference here is that she tries it in a language she seems to have known forever, but which no one else has ever heard. Turns out the girl really was possessed, by a particularly nasty entity, and turns out that Nahri’s little experiment summoned a very scary djinn. In a flash, the evil possessor spirit and a large number of its dead minions are on her like decay on a corpse. Thankfully, the djinn is there to save the day, with extreme prejudice. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

    Image from deviantart.net

    The frustrated pursuers have made Cairo a no-go zone for Nahri, so she and the djinn, Dara (which is a small portion of his entire name) head for the place where people of his sort reside, the world capital of the magical races, Daevabad, the Brass City of the title.

    From Bensozia - Illustration by Edmund Dulac for

    To call Dara a hottie would be a bit of an understatement. Handsome? For sure. Incredibly powerful? Fierce in battle? Be afraid, be very afraid. Able to leap tall minarets in a single flying carpet? You betcha. As if that were not enough, he is literally a creature of fire, and emits actual smoke. You never had a friend like him.

    Cairo may present imminent threats of death, but Daevabad is no prize either. Ancient tribal hatreds are kept at bay by a strong, and ruthless ruler. King Ghassan ibn Khader al Qahtani must contend not only with inter-tribal tensions, he must cope with a growing insurgency. (Think sundry Middle East rulers with tribally diverse populations.) There are many who feel that laws favoring purebloods are unjust, and want those of mixed Djinn-human blood,

    , (think mudbloods) to be treated fairly. One of those happens to be the king’s number two son. Ali is a very devout young (18) man. As second in line, he is destined to help his older brother, Muntadhir, rule, as, basically, the head of security. He is extremely adept at sword-fighting and has gained a good reputation among the other student-warriors at the Citadel, a military training school (not in South Carolina) where he has been living and training for some years. Dad would not be pleased were he to learn that junior was giving money to an organization that purports to offer civilian-only aid to shafit, but is also rumored to be involved in a more military form of activity. (Think Hamas)

    Revolutionary tensions are on the rise, palace intrigues as well, as trust is something one could only wish for. One key question is where Nahri really came from, who is she, really? It matters. And what happened to the ancient tribe that was chosen by Suleiman himself to rule, way back when.

    There are magic rings, flaming swords, strange beings of diverse sorts, plots, battles, large scale and small, plenty of awful ways to die, without that being done too graphically. And there is even a bit of interpersonal attraction. Did I mention Dara being smokin’? There is also some romantic tension between Nahri and Ali. Add in a nifty core bit of history centered on Suleiman.

    One of the great strengths of

    is the lode of historical knowledge the author brings to bear.

    - image from mere-vision.com

    Chakraborty, our Sheherezade here, fills us in on much of the history of how the djinn came to build their human-parallel world, offering not just what is, but how what

    arose from what

    .

    There are a lot of names to remember, words to learn, tribes to keep straight, and allegiances to keep track of. I found myself wishing there was a list somewhere that helped keep it all straight, and “Poof!” there it appeared at the back of the book, a glossary, rich with useful information. It could have been a bit larger though. I would have liked for it to include a list of the djinn tribes, with information about each, their geographical bases, proclivities, languages, you know, stuff. The information can be found in the book itself, but it would have been nice to have had a handy short reference.

    image from upstaged entertainment

    is both very smart and very entertaining. The richness of the world we see here gives added heft to a wonderful story. The world Chakraborty has created hums with humanity, well, whatever the djinn equivalent might be for

    (djinnity?). You will smell the incense, want to keep a damp cloth at hand to wipe the dust and sand from your face, and a cool drink nearby to help with the heat. It probably wouldn’t hurt to post a lookout in case someone decides to try spiking your drink or inserting a long blade into your back. This is a wonderful, engaging, and fun read. It will not take you a thousand and one nights to read, but you might prefer that it did. The only wish you will need when you finish reading

    is for Volume 2 of this trilogy,

    , to appear, NOW!!!

    Review posted – July 28, 2017

    Publication date – November 14, 2017

    =============================

    Links to the author’s

    and

    pages

    Interview -

    - a panel discussion including the Chakraboty and two other Islamic women writers – hosted by Hussein Rashid

    - from

    , on Gutenberg

    November 9, 2017 -

    is among the nominees for Amazon's book of the year - Science Fiction and Fantasy

  • Roshani Chokshi

    I just finished reading this by the dying light of my cellphone while small, devious looking insects clamored towards the light and attacked my face. I HAVE NO REGRETS. That is how spellbinding this book is...I could not put it down. I haven't had that kind of visceral "No one touch this book, it is actually a clever extension of my hand, and I will BITE you if you come between me and these characters" reaction in awhile. Chakraborty has some truly dazzling workdbuilding skills, but beyond that,

    I just finished reading this by the dying light of my cellphone while small, devious looking insects clamored towards the light and attacked my face. I HAVE NO REGRETS. That is how spellbinding this book is...I could not put it down. I haven't had that kind of visceral "No one touch this book, it is actually a clever extension of my hand, and I will BITE you if you come between me and these characters" reaction in awhile. Chakraborty has some truly dazzling workdbuilding skills, but beyond that, she crafts remarkable characters who are achingly real and complex. I loved their interactions. The writing was just nonstop intoxicating atmosphere, and the plot was riveting. This is the UPROOTED, EMBER IN THE ASHES, WRATH AND THE DAWN mashup of my FREAKING DREAMS. I am going to be throwing this book at people when it releases in November!!!!

  • Melanie

    was unlike any Fantasy novel I’ve read before, and I completely adored it. This debut novel is easily one of the best books I’ve read in 2017, and I will sing its praises even after its release on November 14th, 2017. Please guys, don’t sleep on this story, because it has not received the hype it deserves.

    This is the first book in an own voices Muslim Fantasy series, that walks the line between Young Adult and Adu

    was unlike any Fantasy novel I’ve read before, and I completely adored it. This debut novel is easily one of the best books I’ve read in 2017, and I will sing its praises even after its release on November 14th, 2017. Please guys, don’t sleep on this story, because it has not received the hype it deserves.

    This is the first book in an own voices Muslim Fantasy series, that walks the line between Young Adult and Adult, and switches between two very different points of view. One point of view is a girl in her early twenties, who remembers nothing of her childhood, and is living near Cairo, Egypt. Her name is Nahri and she is a street healer by day, and a con-woman and thief by night. Nahri has a natural affinity for healing people, and can magically see what the problem is. Sometimes she can wish it away, other times it is not so easy. Many people realize Nahri’s talents and believe her magic to also work spiritually, which is why she gets hired a lot to cleanse and heal people at Zar Ceremonies, where she leads dances and prayers to be rid of demons/ifrits, which she doesn't believe in.

    Our story truly starts at a Zar Ceremony where Nahri is doing the steps she normally does while really just putting on a show to get paid at the end of the night, except this time she actually does feel something after an old song is sung. After a turn of events, Nahri ends up in a cemetery where she begins to pray and accidentally summons a

    daeva warrior.

    And Dara isn’t just any daeva warrior. He is the best warrior to have ever lived, and he has a very tormented past, because, let’s be real, what brooding male protagonist doesn’t? Dara soon realizes that Nahri isn’t completely human, and that ifrits will soon be after both of them. He then tells her about a city that is hidden behind brass walls, that will completely keep them safe from said ifrits.

    We get to see our second point of view, which is from a young djinn prince named Ali, who lives in the magical hidden city of Daevabad. In Daevabad Ali’s brother, Muntadhir, is the promised king, even though their father, Ghassan, currently rules, and Ali is training to become what his brother needs him to be once he takes the throne. I loved Ali’s selflessness and his unconditional love for his family, because in this world, Ali will never marry or have children, but will be groomed to serve and protect Muntadhir with his life. Ali is completely okay with what is promised of his life, and he completely dedicates his life to God. Yet, with devoting his life to God, he starts to see the unfair treatment among the citizens.

    People in this world can use magic, including humans, even though there are different ways, kinds, and extremes. This is a historical novel set in our time in the early 1800s, which barely touches upon the Ottoman Empire. Yet, we do get to briefly see how some of the Turkish people treated the Egyptians, and we even get to see some French Soldiers. I’m getting off topic, but basically what I’m trying to say is that even though this is for sure a fantasy novel, it ties in with our real world, and this makes humans a key part of this story.

    - Humans.

    - Marid (water elementals).

    - Peri, Rukh, Shedu (all flying creatures).

    - Daevas, Djinns, Ifrit.

    With all these beings, come different powers and abilities. I loved this fantastical element and it truly made this story feel so whimsical. Also, Dijnns and daevas are the same, but “daeva” is an ancient term that means fire elementals, and after a war was over, everyone started calling themselves the human word for “daeva” which is “djinn”. But many people hold on to their daeva roots, since they have very different roles in Daevabad. Also, there are six tribes. But our dear Nahri though, is something completely different, very rare, and very sought after.

    But ultimately this is a story about oppression, and what it means to believe that your blood is more pure than someone else. The mixed bloods in this world, shafits, are treated horribly and without a second thought. They are killed for crimes they didn’t commit, just to make the pure bloods feel safer. They aren’t allowed even close to the same luxuries pure bloods are, but they aren’t even allowed significant food or any medical treatment. Their children are stolen and sold away, most the time time as working slaves or pleasure slaves. This story can feel so very real at times and, in my opinion, S.A. Chakraborty writes this systemic oppression beautifully to mirror our world today.

    Yeah, this is a pretty powerful book for many reasons. The only negative thing I can really say about it is that I felt somewhat like I was being queerbaited. Like, I was very unsure of Ali’s sexuality, because a few of his observations made me feel like he wasn’t straight by any means. I thought this was going to be addressed, but it just lead to a very anticlimactic and saddening death of a very minor side character, who had the promise for so much more. And then, once I got to the epilogue I was surprised to see something else that I would also borderline call queerbaiting, but hopefully she will address that in the next book in this series. Plus, maybe it’s just me reading things through my queer-tinted-glasses, and/or maybe we will get some awesome bisexual representation in book two!

    Besides that, this is such a beautiful Middle Eastern story, that ties in so much of the culture’s folklore in an absolutely beautiful and seamless way. I completely recommend with my whole heart. I loved it and I couldn’t put it down. And the cover? Goosebumps.

    This is the diverse fantasy novel I’ve been searching for. The fantasy world needs more diverse stories like this, and the world needs to see the diverse stories can be easily consumed and loved and, most importantly, worth buying. Everyone in this story is beautifully brown, we get to see some of these characters interact in mosques, we get to see our main character wearing a headscarf. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever read a fantasy novel with these minor elements that are real life for so many readers. And this story is so amazing and so very beautifully written, too. I cannot wait to get my hands on

    in 2018!

    I loved

    and it is one of the best author debuts I’ve ever read in my entire life. But I will say, the ending of this book ripped my heart out three times, so be prepared for that. This story was amazing, the characters are beyond words, the prose is exceptional, and the messages and representation are so very important. This book is heartfelt and powerful. Please give this a try come November 14th, 2017.

    for graphic violence, human trafficking, rape, slavery, and war.

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  • Nouf *LostinFantasy*

    Wow! This book completely had be

    : A Middle Eastern influenced epic Fantasy that starts with

    , a cunning thief in Cairo, with hidden healing abilities who (while pretending to heal a possessed girl) accidentally awakens the evil spirit in the girl, and also calls upon a mysterious djinn warrior - who then reluctantly (but also insistently) protects her from terrifying creatures like Ifrits and ghouls, and takes her to the hidden and magnificent City

    Wow! This book completely had be

    : A Middle Eastern influenced epic Fantasy that starts with

    , a cunning thief in Cairo, with hidden healing abilities who (while pretending to heal a possessed girl) accidentally awakens the evil spirit in the girl, and also calls upon a mysterious djinn warrior - who then reluctantly (but also insistently) protects her from terrifying creatures like Ifrits and ghouls, and takes her to the hidden and magnificent City of Brass, Daevabad.

    Our second point of view is through

    , the passionate and kind hearted second prince of a Daevabad - a city with 6 diverse tribes of djinn barely holding on to peace after a centuries’ old war. His secret sympathies for the ill-treated mixed blood Shafit (half human/half djinn) put him in a conflicting position with his father, brother and other tribes.

    Actually, there is no way to even scratch the surface with a summary on this book! The reimagined history and vast world-building, the deeply complex conflicts where no one is completely right or wrong, deep and compelling characters characters, incredible twists and revelations that will make your heart pound - this book has it all and more!

    I absolutely loved the characters!

    and

    (total cinnamon roll, this one) were main characters that made me completely root for and feel for them. And then there’s

    ... the moody and haunted ‘Daeva’ warrior with a seriously complicated past - I can’t even begin to describe him. I think the book itself needs more pages (where is the sequel?? I need it!) for me to wrap my head around this one! Wow. But they were all so amazingly developed, and I loved the dynamics between them so much!

    And I really liked that there was romance (no triangle) - it’s not the main focus but it’s the kind that makes things more interesting, and I’m really really curious about what’ll happen with that in the next book!

    The supporting characters are also so well written and complex too! Even the tyrant king so that sometimes you forget he’s not a good guy! The very complicated but deeply loving sibling relationship between Ali and his brother (the crown prince)

    really tugged on my heart.

    Actually everyone and everything in this book took turns squeezing my poor heart and even crushing it a few times!

    And also, as an Arab woman and muslim, it felt amazing to read a book like this - which is so well researched and written (recognizing correct and well used terminology was a delight!).

    And I really appreciated the positive portrayal of Islam through the character of Ali - whose faith urges him to be more compassionate and fair. But even he is a flawed character, torn and conflicted.

    It is a world where everyone has their own views, beliefs, and way of looking at events -

    , everything is multilayered, and the book is never biased with the conflicts it presents. That just creates and builds a really compelling story.

    I really appreciated the

    It’s set in one city that encompasses a variety of cultures inspired by African, Arabian, Chinese, Persian and South Asian! It’s in the characters’ appearances, languages, but also in

    Most (the main ones like the types of djinn - with every facet of folklore explored!) I’ve grown up hearing stories about, but then there were also new creatures from Persian, Egyptian, and Greek (I think?) mythology! It was so fascinating and a lot of fun!

    Oh, and there are

    - what more can I want?

    , this book had me completely enthralled! If you like rich worldbuilding, gray and multilayered characters, epic and complex story telling that will make you question everything in it and blow your mind, scenes that will make your heart pound, and unique and marvelous settings - you don’t want to miss this book! I didn’t want it to end! And now I’m desperate for the sequel and have no clue what to do with this massive book hangover!

    Also, if you enjoyed The Grisha Trilogy, Throne of Glass series, An Ember in the Ashes, The Wrath and the Dawn — this book has everything you loved in those, but it’s also refreshingly unique at the same time!

  • Ben Alderson

    Got loads of thoughts on this book so wait for the video!

    I loved the start... the entire middle was slow and boring to me...

    but the end was ok!

    I am not SURE if i am going to read book two.. we shall see

  • Sarah

    Soo.... This book. If you've been following my updates you probably already know I wasn't a huge fan. There are a lot of things The City of Brass does right, and one very important thing it doesn't. I'm also going to cover this review with a disclaimer in saying that I think plenty of readers will enjoy this book. It might just be me.

    I really loved Nahri's character from the beginning. She's a thief and a con artist. She has a smart mouth and doesn't really take crap from anyone. If you give her

    Soo.... This book. If you've been following my updates you probably already know I wasn't a huge fan. There are a lot of things The City of Brass does right, and one very important thing it doesn't. I'm also going to cover this review with a disclaimer in saying that I think plenty of readers will enjoy this book. It might just be me.

    I really loved Nahri's character from the beginning. She's a thief and a con artist. She has a smart mouth and doesn't really take crap from anyone. If you give her a hard time, she'll probably rob you blind. She is one of two main characters in this book.

    The second main character was Prince Alizayd. He is a Qahtani prince of the djinn. It took me a long, long time to enjoy his character. It was at least fifty percent over (in a 500+ page book) by the time his story line became enjoyable, and I think most of the reason for that was because he finally meets with Nahri. By the end though, I was quite fond of him. He experiences the most character development out of any of them.

    The setting is imaginative and beautifully told. The lore and history are intricate and detailed and filled with Arabic mythology. I imagine Chakraborty had a book length prologue to accompany all of it and keep it all straight.

    The plot is action filled, which is why it is so very difficult for me to say that overall- I was bored. There is no over arching plot arc. Nahri narrowly escapes death. Nahri learns where she comes from. Nahri travels to Daevabad. Nahri moves into the palace. Nahri learns to heal.... There was no end goal here. No definitive destination the plot was moving toward. In a mystery plot, the end goal is solving the mystery. In a romance, it's a HEA ending. In a fantasy, it's completing a quest, or defeating the enemy or saving the kingdom. Here- I'm sure there is one eventually, but you don't know what it is.

    In the end, if I had to pick one of the above, I guess I'd go with romance. The case for this is thin because honestly, the two love interests seemed to just randomly be in love with each other after a couple months riding in the desert. I had no idea either character was even interested in the other romantically until it happened and then BAM. They are confessing they're undying love for each other. But I can't make a case for any other end goal so I guess that's it?

    There were times the dialogue felt stiff and cliched, predictable even. The history in the book is so complex it becomes confusing. I can't tell you why the Geziri (I've probably spelled this wrong) and the Daeva tribes dislike each other. I can't tell you why the Qahtani's rebelled against the revered Nahid. (I mean I have a vague understanding, but it is very vague.)

    In the end I think this book could have used some significant trimming, some clarification, and significantly less ambiguous plot structure. The characters and world building were great, but just not enough to carry the entire novel.

    Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Voyager for providing an eARC for me to review.

  • Jananee (headinherbooks)

    *screeches until the end of time*

    HANDS DOWN ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE READ THIS YEAR

  • Sabrina

    Checkout my full review on my blog!

    What a beautiful and lyrical book this was. I was swept away to the streets of 18th century Cairo and I loved every minute of it. This book deserves the hype and more. The world building was so rich and beautiful. You can see and imagine yourself that you are with Nahri as she navigates through her journey. I'm speechless of how intricate and complicated this world is yet I was able to easily understand the conflicts and

    Checkout my full review on my blog!

    What a beautiful and lyrical book this was. I was swept away to the streets of 18th century Cairo and I loved every minute of it. This book deserves the hype and more. The world building was so rich and beautiful. You can see and imagine yourself that you are with Nahri as she navigates through her journey. I'm speechless of how intricate and complicated this world is yet I was able to easily understand the conflicts and the politics.

    You will love the characters, the setting, the world building, the plot, almost everything, if not everything. I'm still shaken by that ending. I still can't believe it. I need book 2 now.

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Final review, first posted on

    :

    Nahri, a young woman living alone in 18th century Cairo, gets by doing minor cons, fake healing rituals and a little theft. She knows nothing about her parents or heritage but, in addition to being able to diagnose disease in others with a glance and occasionally truly heal them, her own body automatically heals of injuries almost instantly and she has the magical ability to understand ― and speak ― any language.

    Nahri’s life gets upended when she

    Final review, first posted on

    :

    Nahri, a young woman living alone in 18th century Cairo, gets by doing minor cons, fake healing rituals and a little theft. She knows nothing about her parents or heritage but, in addition to being able to diagnose disease in others with a glance and occasionally truly heal them, her own body automatically heals of injuries almost instantly and she has the magical ability to understand ― and speak ― any language.

    Nahri’s life gets upended when she accidentally summons Darayavahoush, a fiery, handsome djinn warrior, to her side while performing a sham healing ceremony. After he gets over his murderous rage at being involuntarily summoned, Dara saves Nahri from murderous ifrit and ghouls who have become aware of Nahri and her abilities. Dara quickly enchants a magic carpet and, dragging along the reluctant Nahri, he flees with her toward Daevabad, the legendary city of brass inhabited by magical djinn (or, more properly, daeva). But there are warring political factions in Daevabad among the six different djinn tribes, and appalling mistreatment of the mixed-blood, partly human underclass of shafits. Nahri and Dara each have trouble that may await them there in Daevabad, for different reasons.

    The chapters of

    (2017), S.A. Chakraborty’s debut fantasy novel based on Middle Eastern mythology, alternate between two characters’ points of view: Nahri, the feisty young con artist with a mysterious magical heritage, and Prince Alizayd al Qahtani, the second son of the ruler of Daevabad. Ali is a rather tightly wound but honorable young warrior with a mixed heritage himself, has sympathy for those who are mistreated. But in trying to secretly (and illegally) fund needed educational and medical services for the oppressed shafits, he may be stirring up even more trouble.

    Chakraborty, who spent years studying Middle Eastern history and developing the magical world in which this story is set, has created a vibrant and exotic setting in

    . (There’s a helpful glossary at the end of the book that defines some of the Middle Eastern terminology and magical beings). Some of the setting details are memorable, like the palace in Daevabad that mourns its missing founding family, the Nahids. The gardens are an untamed wilderness, stairs go missing, water in fountains frequently turns to blood. When Nahri, a lost member of the Nahid family, arrives in the city, the palace magically begins to spiff itself up. In this exotic setting, Chakraborty examines some timeless human issues, like prejudice, torn loyalties, and the effect of violence on a person’s heart.

    has a fast-paced beginning that sucks the reader right in, as Nahri and Dara flee through the desert toward Daevabad, pursued by deadly enemies, and develop a relationship based on equal parts irritation and attraction. Once they reach Daevabad, the great city of brass, the plot slows down and gets a little muddled. There are too many competing factions and conflicts: between pureblood djinn and shafits, between the different djinn tribes and other magical elementals, and between those who support the currently ruling Qahtani family and those who are intent on bringing back Nahid rule, using Nahri.

    Additionally, there are conflicts within the hearts of each of the main characters. Dara isn’t really certain he wants to take Nahri to Daevabad, where capture or death may be his fate, and where his violent past, which still haunts him, may catch up to him. Nahri isn’t at all convinced she wants to go there either; she rather liked her life as it was, and she doesn’t intend to be anyone’s pawn. And Prince Ali is caught between warring factions and loyalties, trying to balance both.

    It’s a conflict-driven plot, with both physical violence and subtler conspiring and conniving. While some of the more tangential factions and contentions are hazy in their nature and motivations, overall

    is a compelling read. Chakraborty won back my enthusiasm with a rousing game-changer of an ending. I didn’t even care that it was a cliffhanger! Now I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in THE DAEVABAD TRILOGY,

    , expected to be published in 2018.

    , while it isn’t being marketed as a young adult fantasy, has crossover qualities. It has two younger main characters and, despite the web of conflicts, it’s written in a fairly straightforward style. It’s likely to appeal to older teenagers as well as many adults.

    Totally tangential issue: I've seen this book praised for being #ownvoices. While it's true that S.A. Chakraborty is Muslim, she's a convert to that faith. She's originally from New Jersey and of Irish Catholic heritage. Personally I don't think it matters; she's clearly immersed herself in this culture and done a lot of study, and if she wants to call herself S.A. rather than Shannon and write about Middle Eastern mythology even if it's not her heritage or race, I don't have any issue with it as long as she (and other authors) do that thoughtfully and after doing a due amount of homework. We should judge this book on its own merits, not because of who the author is or isn't.

    Content notes: A fair amount of violence that might be disturbing to some readers, discussion of sexual and other types of slavery, scattered F-bombs. Personally I wouldn't recommend it for the younger teens or preteens.

  • Book of the Month

    Magical Mayhem in the Middle East

    By Judge Liberty Hardy

    Come along for a tale of magic, mystery, and adventure in this wildly enchanting debut! A dizzyingly exciting Middle Eastern-inspired novel, filled with mythology, treachery, and schemes around every corner, The City of Brass is a beautifully-told fantasy book that is perfect for fans of cons and conjurers, demons and desert worlds …

    Nahri is a young con woman who knows all the tricks to staying alive and ahead of the law on the streets of 18

    Magical Mayhem in the Middle East

    By Judge Liberty Hardy

    Come along for a tale of magic, mystery, and adventure in this wildly enchanting debut! A dizzyingly exciting Middle Eastern-inspired novel, filled with mythology, treachery, and schemes around every corner, The City of Brass is a beautifully-told fantasy book that is perfect for fans of cons and conjurers, demons and desert worlds …

    Nahri is a young con woman who knows all the tricks to staying alive and ahead of the law on the streets of 18th-century Cairo. What she doesn’t know is where she came from, or why she can speak a language that no one else seems to understand.

    But everything changes for Nahri during one of her cons when she accidentally summons demons—and Dara, a darkly mysterious djinn—while messing around with the language. Dara saves Nahri from the demons and tells her the tale of the legendary city of Daevabad—the City of Brass.

    With still-angry demons looking for her in Cairo, Nahri decides it’s best to follow Dara to Daevabad, where she becomes embroiled in schemes of political corruption when she befriends Alizayd, a young prince hoping to overhaul his father’s rotten government. Will Nahri’s undeniable attachment to the city help her to realize her true powers, or will the conflict and chaos consume her?

    S.A. Chakraborty’s richly detailed narrative and painstakingly-imagined world building is the perfect escape from the real world, something we could all use these days.


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