The City Of Brass: A Novel by S. A ChakrabortyThe City Of Brass: A Novel by S. A Chakraborty

The City Of Brass: A Novel

byS. A Chakraborty

Paperback | November 14, 2017

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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Library Journal Vulture | The Verge | SYFYWire

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty perfect for fans of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and Uprooted, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.

Featuring a stepback and bonus content including a new short story and an excerpt from The Kingdom of Copper.

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 trades she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, and a mysterious gift for healing—are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to reconsider her beliefs. For Dara tells Nahri 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 more than what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In Daevabad, within gilded brass walls laced with enchantments and behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments run deep. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, her arrival threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries. 

Spurning Dara’s warning of the treachery surrounding her, she embarks on a hesitant friendship with Alizayd, an idealistic prince who dreams of revolutionizing his father’s corrupt regime. All too soon, Nahri 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 . . .

S. A. Chakraborty is an American speculative fiction writer, born and raised in New Jersey. She is a college graduate and currently lives in Queens, New York with her family. Beyond writing, she enjoys history, politics and Islamic art. She is the author of The Daevabad Trilogy. It includes her debut novel, The City of Brass, and the s...
Title:The City Of Brass: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:544 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.09 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 1.09 inPublished:November 14, 2017Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062690957

ISBN - 13:9780062690951


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very enjoyable I found it slow going at the beginning, so many names that are foreign to me, but once I got a grasp on the names of the people, tribes, and places, I found I could not put it down and read for hours at a stretch. Now ordering the Kingdom of Copper.
Date published: 2019-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unlike any other book. All I can say is WOW! This novel is unlike any other book that I have ever read! S.A. Chakraborty creates such an atmospheric story and it is like I am sitting in a cafe in Cairo or people watching in the markets in Daevabad. She pulls you in to this world. Beautiful and rich characterization. Interesting plot. I was hooked from the beginning! Cannot wait to read on in this series and I cannot recommend it enough!
Date published: 2019-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from blew me away The City of Brass can easily be called a fantasy epic - the first in a trilogy that I can’t wait to continue reading. Chakraborty has taken djinn mythology and turned it on its head, plunging the reader into a world of magic, politics, and eventually… darkness. The title refers to the central city of the djinn, Daevabad. It’s a complex metropolis full of contradictions, with wealth and poverty existing side by side. You could almost call it a character unto itself - Chakraborty’s world building skills are on full display in this book. But it’s not just the setting that impressed me, her characters are fascinating as well. Nahri is a con artist and thief with a mysterious past. She’s not the most loveable of people, but you can’t help but hope that things work out for her. And the djinn Dara? His odd behaviour left me guessing the entire time. I will admit, about halfway through I became concerned that the plot was leading into some tired YA trope territory - Nahri was starting to look like a MarySue. I’m so glad I was wrong - the plot had so many twists and turns (and a hell of a climax), that any concerns I had about tropes was thoroughly put to rest. Really, the only thing that I would possibly change is the length of time Nahri and Dara spent travelling to the city. But it’s such a minor thing that it really doesn’t affect my rating.
Date published: 2019-03-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So good I really enjoyed this book! Set in the middle east, the book is full of magic and fantasy with a little bit of a Beauty and The Beast love triangle. I'm eager to get my hands on the second book in the series because The City of Brass ended on a major cliff hanger! I need to find out what happens with Ali, "the beast" and the "girl thief who heals" The City of Brass is kind of a middle east spin to Sarah J Maas A Court of Thorns and Roses in my opinion, which is not a bad thing at all, I can't wait to read more from this author, this debut was amazing!
Date published: 2019-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I was looking for a fantasy novel that wasn't set in the west but also had interesting characters and dialogue and I found it. I can't wait for the second book!
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastically Refreshing Though it had a bit of a rocky start, The City of Brass was overall an amazing book. With intricate, well-researched worldbuilding, fascinating political intrigue, realistic sibling relationships, and a killer ending, it's one of the best books I've read in a while.
Date published: 2018-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! I have to say it did take a while for me to get immersed in the world due to all the terms used, but there is a glossary in the back which was handy. That being said, this book is absolutely spellbinding. I loved it! I'm not Muslim or Middle Eastern, but I absolutely love that this book was centered around Middle Eastern beliefs and folklore. It definitely added a fresh take to the genre.
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put it down This book started off amazing, and then there was a lull in the middle. But oh man, that ending? I didn't any of that coming! If you like magic and political intrigue I urge you to pick up this amazingly complex novel.
Date published: 2018-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely thrilling and spellbinding I was thoroughly enraptured by this story from start to finish. The characters are interesting and deep while the setting feels real but magical at the same time. A fantastic blend of humour, adventure, intrigue, and a little romance. I thought elements of this book reminded me of Mistborn, which is a classic in its own right. Would recommend this to all lovers of fantasy and adventure.
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review Number of pages: 533 Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1 Rating (out of five stars): 4.75 I normally don’t have much success with books recommended by authors whose books I’ve liked, but am I ever glad I gave City of Brass a try. If all adult fantasy books are like this, sign me up! I started City of Brass in November while at university, and while reading time was scarce, whenever I had a chance to pick it up, time seemed to melt away. Hours passed in what seemed like minutes, and I longed to be able to not put it down. I think this was due to the writing. It was lyrical, but it wasn’t bogged down by unnecessary metaphors. Once it entranced you, no words were wasted. City of Brass also featured the perfect balance between the serious and the dry humour I love. It’s genuinely hard to not burst into laughter while reading, but it understood when it was the wrong time to laugh. I loved the characters. Even the ones like Ali, whose chapters were fairly boring in the beginning, grew on me. Nahri was definitely my favourite character, though. She was so smart and resourceful, and she wasn’t going to take anyone’s crap. The world-building was really solid. The world described in City of Brass is complex, yet it was easy to understand. Even if you were confused, a lot of the terminology was explained in the back of the book. The last hundred pages or so had my mouth hanging open in shock. Though the plot was starting to lag near the end, the epilogue left me needing the second book. I think City of Brass is the perfect bridge between YA and Adult Fantasy. It was more complex, yet it had the familiar feel of a YA fantasy, and it definitely got me interested in trying out more adult books. Overall, City of Brass, though slow at times, was a fantastic debut fantasy perfect for YA readers looking to give adult books a try. It has therefore earned 4.75 stars out of 5.
Date published: 2018-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from PLEASE PLEASE GO AND READ THIS NOW *I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book from HarperCollins* THE WRITING: I don’t usually talk about the writing in a book unless it stands out to me, and in this case I was just in awe at how beautifully this book is written. It’s descriptive and poetic, but not overly flowery, making it a quick and easy read. The banter between the characters was just awesome and made me squeal and laugh and grin like a crazy person while on public transport. The action scenes were intense and fast and terrifying. I loved the way things were gradually explained as the world was expanded. It was a bit confusing at first, but it was a good kind of confusion. It made me really feel like I was Nahri, experiencing and learning everything for the first time. The two different POVs – Nahri’s and Ali’s – were just ahhh! I especially loved seeing different parts of Daevabad through different perspectives. And also seeing Nahri and Ali interact through their individual POVs was just perfect! THE WORLD: I don’t even know where to start. The world Shannon created is vivid and colourful and beautifully diverse. I was mesmerized the entire time as little bits about the djinn and their history was revealed. I’m a sucker for a good background story and this book does an awesome job describing it! What I especially loved about this book is that nothing was black and white. I find that with a lot of books I’ve read in the past, it’s very obvious who is good and who is bad. But The City of Brass is so unique. While Nahri is on the run and while she adjusts to living in Daevabad, we get to hear both sides of the story about the rebellion that ended the reign of the Nahids in Daevabad and began the reign of the Qahtanis. And as the reader, I was never really sure which side was good. Both sides did horrible things to each other for different reasons, and I love that because it’s based in reality. Cause no one just does something because they’re “bad” – there’s always a reason they use to justify their actions. And we see that done really well here. Even at the end, I was like…”I don’t know who to root for”, but it kind of made me realize that it’s really not that simple. And this complexity makes me love this book a billion times more! REPRESENTATION: Oooh…let’s talk about this. I think I was about almost half way through this book when I sat back and thought: THERE ARE NO WHITE PEOPLE. No offence to anyone who’s white, but it just hit me and I realized how accustomed I’ve become to reading books with at least a couple white characters. But there aren’t any here. And I kind of really, really loved it! As a POC and a muslim, I related to so many aspects of this book! The fact that there are people with a similar skin tone as me – YES. I was geeking out at all the traditional clothing that the different djinn tribes wear. THE FOOD WAS JUST AMAZING AND I WANTED TO EAT ALL OF IT. But what made me especially happy was the Muslim representation. As a Muslim, it’s very rare to find fantasy books with anyone who is similar to me. And it’s kind of frustrating cause it makes me feel like Muslims can’t exist in those worlds. But I absolutely fell in love with The City of Brass because of its Muslim representation. When a character would hear the call for prayer and realize it’s time for Maghrib, I was like YES LETS GO PRAY TOGETHER BROTHER (lol totally haram, I meant sister, unless he is actually my brother). When a certain character was uncomfortable being alone with someone of the opposite sex, I was like YUP IT IS ME! Whenever Nahri adjusted her veil, I was like WAIT IS MY HAIR SHOWING, and then realized I was in my room and no one could see me. As you can see I was really having the best time of my life. And to be totally honest, whenever I read books with characters who are religious, it makes me want to become a more religious and practicing Muslim and its a great feeling cause it’s RELATABLE. CHARACTERS: I loved Nahri’s character so much! You have the common tropes like “the chosen one” and “girl discovers she has magical powers”, but it was done so well! I really hate it when a character realizes they have a destiny or are special and then suddenly they become this awesome person who can do everything and they never fail. Nahri wasn’t like that, and seeing her struggle with what she wanted vs. what others wanted of her, and also seeing her struggling to come to terms with her new life just felt very real. I also loved how she was willing to stick up for herself and say what was on her mind – the banter between her and Dara and her and Ali was THE BEST! She always said the wrong stuff, which I found hilarious, and her I’m-so-done-with-this attitude is just me 50% of the time lol She wasn’t the kind of character who would sit back and let others makes decisions for her. But at the same time, we could see her vulnerability and uncertainty. And her background and way of thinking was so unique and fun to read about, especially once she arrived in Daevabad. To say I’m excited for the next book would be an understatement… Her relationship with Dara was literally sparking with CHEMISTRY. And I was squealing more than once. I love banter. It’s absolutely my favourite thing to read and write, and when it’s done well it makes me want to squeal and run around like a chicken with my head cut off. Speaking of Dara and also Alizayd… What I love about these characters is how detailed and conflicted and complicated they are. And I’m honestly in awe because it adds this sense of authenticity. You get to really feel for the characters and the decisions they make because they are decisions that you would make in their situation. None of the characters are perfect, and they’re constantly battling their demons and trying to decide whether they should do what they think is right or what others want. And it’s also frustrating…especially seeing them struggle with who they should stay loyal too and it made me want to cry inside and hug my children and tell them it’s going to be alright. Dara was a mystery to me. I loved his character from the beginning. He’s mysterious and powerful and you don’t really know much about him. It’s pretty much his word against a bunch of other djinn and that causes some interesting conflict. Also, he has brilliant emerald eyes and I think anyone would just about drown in them. I am freaking out right now thinking about what could happen in the next book, but I won’t say anything else. He is complex and interesting and scary and you need to read it to understand. Let’s talk about my precious child, Alizayd al Qahtani. First of all…Ali is also my middle name. So when I was flipping through the arc and came across his POV, I may have screamed with excitement cause MY NAME IS IN A BOOK (well, close enough). Besides that, Ali is the character that I related to the most. While there are a variety of djinn who are at various levels of religiosity, Ali is quite into his faith. Seeing him praying, avoiding alcohol and the company of women, and trying his best to be a good djinn was just asdjksadjskf. Literally. I know many people can’t relate, but it hit a spot where I was just like “yes, this is what I’ve always wanted in a book”. I felt for his character. When other people commented on his religiosity, not understanding why he refused to drink, or why he was so shy around women, I just kept thinking “this is me, this is my life, and it’s in a book” – except, replace women with men, cause I avoid them like the plague. Besides that…Alizayd’s relationship with his brother, who he affectionally calls Dhiru *literally cries tears of happiness and pain* was just... There is literally a lack of sibling affection in books, and seeing how much Muntadhir cared for his brother, made my heart hurt from feels. Alizayd’s story is a very complex one. And I’m a huge fan of complex plot lines that all come together at the end and make you go WOWOWOW WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING AND HOW WAS THIS DONE SO WELL AND PUT TOGETHER. Pretty much, I need Shannon to teach me her ways because she did it so well. As I said before, all the characters are very three-dimensional. And Alizayd was probably the most out of all of them. We do get to see a lot of his POV, and we get to learn about his naivety and his innocence, but also his determination and resoluteness and his sense for justice. He’s my favourite character in this book, hands down, and probably one of my favourites so far this year. I just love him so much, and he deserves so much more, and I will admit I am scared and worried for book two, and I KIND OF NEED IT NOW. I don’t want to say too much more, except the last 100 pages will be mind-blowing and crazy. So prepare yourself. And yes, when you finish reading this book, you’ll want to reread from the beginning all over again, and you’ll cry cause who knows when the second book is coming out!
Date published: 2017-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from PICK THIS UP! *I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. Any opinions expressed are completely my own* #indigoemployee Chakraborty presents readers with amazing world building that draws upon Middle Eastern settings, beliefs, and folklore. As a result, she gives (fantasy) insight into a culture often less discussed in literature. The City of Brass is centered upon three main characters: Nahri is a clever young woman with a keen sense of survival who can heal herself immediately upon injury. She is the main protagonist who is swept into a magical world that she knew nothing about. Ali is a strict and uncertain young man, the youngest son of king Ghassan. He is passionate towards helping the Shafit (a magical mixed blood race) and is an avid scholar and warrior. Dara is a former slave who finds himself helping Nahri in her time of need. They form an inseparable bond that is often troubled due to Dara's knack of withholding significant information. He is haunted by a troubled past and has a very short temper. This novel alternates between the point of view of Nahri and that of Ali, one character who has known magic his entire life and another who has recently had it thrust upon her unexpectedly. The City of Brass is an amazing debut. The cover art is beautiful and will definitely grab readers attention. Overall, I believe that it would be a good transition novel for any mature teen readers who enjoy semi-historical fantasy. Recommended for fans of Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment, and highly recommend that everyone pre-order before the release this fall!
Date published: 2017-07-27

Editorial Reviews

“Even a few pages will enmesh you in its magic.”