*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*
It is such a treat to find books that are this detailed and nuanced and feel so real. The writing, the characters, the story, the world building, it all came together so perfectly and was so well done that it felt like I was reading about real people. This was one of those books that legitimately made me forget I was reading. I was just there, fully immersed in the story.
Much like in the first book, the characters were so complex and believably flawed. I feel like I can’t talk about them individually without spoilers, but gosh, they were all so well-written, and I had such mixed feelings about some of them because I liked them and wanted them to be ok, yet it also felt wrong to just let slide some of the things they’ve done. I felt terrible for so many of them though. All the main characters were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Some of the supporting characters were in tough positions too. And as things got worse and worse, I felt terrible for everyone for other reasons as well. There was just so much betrayal and heartache and shock and guilt and grief and confusion among them.
That brings me to another thing I yet again loved: The author did such a great job of showing the complexity of conflict, and because I got to see POVs on multiple sides, I didn’t even know who to root for. All sides were right in some ways. All were wrong in some ways. I didn’t want to see any lives lost, but there was no easy fix, not when so many of players on the board wanted vengeance and power and were all too happy to resort to violence to get it or keep it.
But it wasn’t just the big conflict this author portrayed well. There was conflict among family, and the author really captured how complicated feelings for family members can be. There was also conflict within characters, when they had to make decisions with no easy answers.
Another thing this book did brilliantly was that it kept building the tension higher and higher and higher as it went on. Things kept getting more and more complicated and tangled and messed up in that way where you just know bad things are gonna happen, but you don’t yet know what. It was unpredictable and gripping. At times it was dark and full of violence and chaos. And when everything did start crashing, it was intense. This is a 600+ page book, but I wasn’t bored for even a single moment.
There’s also a surprising amount of humor in these books. I wouldn’t classify them as funny books because that’s not the main point, but there are little bits of humor sprinkled throughout, and I really love them.
Last but not least, I want to yet again mention how much I love this portrayal of djinn. They’re so detailed and interesting with their powers and their hidden city and their history and their society.
Overall, this was an amazing book with a gripping plot, complex characters and relationships, so much tension, and such a great portrayal of djinn, and it completely sucked me in!
Fans of Book 1 in S.A. Chakraborty's Daevabad Trilogy. Anyone who likes djinn, detailed worlds, complex characters, and royal court politics.
More Books in the Series:
S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass—”the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir)—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.