Book Reviews

The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Page One Books did it again! I’m fairly certain that The City of Brass was one of my book subscription surprises! They also sent me A Winter’s Promise (the first of The Mirror Visitor series), which was another great book series. I will warn you that The Daevabad Trilogy is DENSE. Proceed only if you have enough time to read them all (because you will definitely want to). To put it in perspective, each book in the trilogy is rated more than 4 stars on Goodreads.

The City of Brass

the city of brass daevabad trilogy

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 summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new 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 hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. 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 be careful what you wish for…

The Kingdom of Copper

the kingdom of copper daevabad trilogy

S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

The Empire of Gold

The final chapter in the Daevabad Trilogy, in which a con-woman and an idealistic djinn prince join forces to save a magical kingdom from a devastating civil war.

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

My Thoughts

I went into 2022 with the hope that I would find some new book series to love and shout from the rooftops. Book series keep you reading, and that’s a bit of what I felt I needed going into this year. The Daevabad Trilogy absolutely delivered.

Each book was dense. I know I said that at the beginning, but I really feel the need to repeat it.

THAT is what I meant by dense. Also, the pages are full. It’s none of this nonsense with thick margins and big font. Again, just preparing you. One other potential drawback of the series was some of the terminology was very similar. However, there was a convenient glossary located in each book!

However dense the series is, it’s absolutely worth it. S.A. Chakraborty is so descriptive in her writing. I mean, she successfully built an entire world that is “secret” from our world, tying together a fictional place with real locations. That takes real skill. It’s especially impressive when you learn that this was Chakraborty’s debut.

Now, with fantastic descriptions and world building does come a lot of copy. There were bits that were less than necessary to the storyline, but I will say that I never got bored while reading it. In fact, when I got toward the end of each book, I’d find myself audibly rooting for characters or getting emotional when certain things happen. (You’ll rarely find spoilers on Down the Book Jar.)

Sometimes, the end of trilogies like The Daevabad Trilogy can be frustrating if things don’t go the way you wanted them to. You’ve spent almost 2000 pages with these characters in this world created by this author, so you want it to end well. It absolutely did. There was a nice, tidy little bow on the series.

Will I go back and read The Daevabad Trilogy from start to finish annually like I do with some of my other favorite series? Probably not. However, I will recommend it up and down the book world. I can’t say enough good things about it. Well done, Chakraborty.

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