Review: The City of Brass

[Goodreads]: 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 . . .

I gave it 4.5 stars!

I first read The City of Brass a year ago, and although I really enjoyed it, I had some issues with it. I disliked the slow pace of the first half (especially compared to the fast-paced second half) and the unclear/lack of conflict throughout. It felt aimless, it just didn’t feel like everything happening was building up to something.

My experience rereading was different, though. I read at a slower pace and caught details that I missed and I enjoyed it so much more. My initial issues with this book didn’t bother me this time since I was already aware of them, but I can’t say I disagree with my first thoughts, though.

Let’s talk about the characters, then!

Nahri is a con artist and aspiring healer from the streets of Cairo until one day she accidentally summons a daeva warrior. I loved her from the first moment. She’s extremely clever and curious, and so resourceful! She’s realistic, relatable, inspiring and flawed – everything a character should be!

Ali is the second son of the ruler of Daevabad, trained to be his brother’s warrior and shield all his life, with a truly good heart. It took me a while to like Ali, though. He’s a religious fanatic and prejudiced… but he tries really hard to do what’s right no matter the consequences – even if he is a bit naive and ends up getting deceived…

Dara is the daeva warrior that Nahri summons – and as it turns out she’s probably the only chance he has at going home, redeeming himself and finding love even? He’s always been in a bad situation, though. Forced to follow orders and his duty vs. what he wanted? He’s fierce and fearless and utterly loyal. He has a dark past and… I loved him anyway?

I wasn’t particularly fond of the other characters, but I’ll say that Ghassan is a such a typical character and I’m so disappointed in that. He’s cunning, ruthless, the all-powerful tyrannical monarch basically. Think the Sultan in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy, or The King of Adarlan from the Throne of Glass series. He’s exactly like them.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the story and the characters, but it definitely has some issues with pacing and conflict. Still, I definitely recommend it!

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