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Publisher's Summary

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty - an imaginative alchemy 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.

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 and a reliable way to survive.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she's forced to question all she believes. For the warrior tells her 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 not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass - a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In Daevabad, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. A young prince dreams of rebellion. 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 to be careful what you wish for....

S. A. Chakraborty is a speculative fiction writer from New York City. The City of Brass is her first novel. www.sachakraborty.com

©2017 Shannon Chakraborty (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

The right side is often a matter of perspective

Set in 18th century Cairo and the magical lands beyond, this novel is based in folklore, myth, and history of the Middle East. That said, with it's political tensions over wars past and present, conversations surrounding "purity" within the races, and religious underpinnings, one can easily relate this story about a con artist with magical healing powers and the world of the djinn to much of what's going on in the world to this day.

The characters are diverse from their socioeconomic statuses and "bloodlines" to their religious convictions and sexual preferences. The romance will make your heart ache and leave you wanting more. The pace is quick with beautiful writing and characters both developed and developing that give the story a great deal of depth. I listed to this on audio, and it was a great listen on a long flight!

It is a trilogy, so keep in mind that you'll likely have to wait until late 2018 before you get a next installment. The ending was pretty predictable even in the cliffhanger. That said, it doesn't make you want to read the next installment any less! If you enjoy Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J Maas, or Sabaa Tahir you'll really enjoy this novel.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • JF
  • 12-19-17

Just buy it. Seriously.

This book is amazing. The world built by the author is entrancing, the romance is realistic and filled a slow burn that burns deep. Best of all the female protagonist is strong and brave despite fear. She’s not perfect, she’s not blank...Nahri is her own person from page 1 to end.

My unexpected favorite feature about this book is the weaving of the city/court politics and realistic flaws for every character. You will get frustrated with your heroine and sympathize with antagonists....and that is what makes this book great. The payoff is filled with emotion and opens wide open for the next book.

I cannot wait for more.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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BEST BOOK I'VE READ THIS YEAR<br />

I've read over twenty books so far this year.
This book is an excellent read. It takes a while to get into with all the Arabic(and other language) words that are explained, but after that it is exciting. I couldn't stop listening to it.

The character development is smart and effevtive. The main characters come to life thru this audio performance.

I DON'T even remember how I came across this book, but I'm sure glad I did. I can't wait for more from this author and narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful book highly recommended

This book has a fascinating narrative with beautiful characterizations. Everyone is understandable and somewhat sympathetic. The presentation of the Arab world through various magical abilities is unusual and compelling. I loved this book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent start, but loses its way.

The first half of this book is really excellent. The characters are interesting, the setting is really fresh and imaginative, and the pacing is great. Then when the protagonist and her guide reach the city they're going to, the plot gets kind of derailed. About ten chapters of episodic character building later, the climax of the book doesn't feel as well set up as it should, and so its resolution isn't very satisfying. I'm definitely excited to see more from Chakraborty, but I feel like s/he would benefit from a more hands-on editor to help with the structural issues.

Overall I'd still recommend it for a listen. Despite it's faults, it's still very engaging and worth checking out. The narrator does an excellent job, too, which helps keep all of the characters straight.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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No Pay Off

This book has some super elements. The 2nd half however culminates in an incoherent mess. When it came to the epilogue I didn’t want anymore so I skipped. So much potential here but it never came together.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Excellent concept, lackluster execution

This is an exciting, adventurous tale that should be more exciting than the resulting story is. it may be that the print edition is more effective in presenting the story, but the audiobook, I think, draws out the flaws in the storytelling more obviously and makes it harder to buy in to what should be a very enticing fantasy world.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A wonderful fantasy novel with a twist

A wonderful combination of fantasy, love, culture, adventure, politics, social issues, and lore. The middle eastern setting was new to me but it was the writing that kept me on my toes. Overall, I can't wait to read a second book from this author. They have me hooked.

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Excellent

Any additional comments?

I loved both main characters, and the wold building is great. I love how every character has a different relationship with their tribal identity.

The only problem is that towards the end, Nahri becomes very passive and stops being relevant to the plot except as something for others to fight over. She really needed to interact with the human faction in Daevabad. They are a HUGE part of the story. I kept waiting for it to happen, and it just didn't. She never tries to sneak out and see the city. Ali never takes her to the orphanage to heal that little boy. She doesn't take a stand on anything. She just kind of hangs around the palace and complains.

The result is that Ali becomes a much stronger story line. At the end of the book, I can see lots of things for him to do and accomplish. I see nothing for Nahri. She is even more trapped and helpless than she was before. I have no clue how she is going to effect the plot at all in the next book. Realistically, she did very little at the end of this book. That's why the ending felt disappointing.

Also structurally, it makes a lot more sense to have a romance between Nahri and Ali. They are the two main characters, but they hardly interact. Their friendship at the end is nice, but as I said, Ali is the one moving the plot forward and doing all the important things. Nahri doesn't have a strong enough reason to try and help him, especially since he didn't introduce her to the human underclass.

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  • Mikey
  • The Lucky Country
  • 01-06-18

weird mixed bag that left me confused

what is this story. some bits are fantastic. some are weak. the author narrowly misses turning it into a teen monster romance... but fails to make it into anything else.
not sure if there is meant to be a sequel because there was a lot left hanging or incomplete. the main protagonist never finds her power or overcomes any real challenge. .. rather she seems to meekly get played by everyone around her while muttering to herself why shes a victim.
like i said some parts were great but many were not. its kind of like a mish-mash of ideas, concepts and characters that never gains any real coherence or direction.
if theres a sequel planned i may be tempted to find out what the hell is supposed to be happening... but not sure if i cared enough to spend a credit on it.
bought it in the premise that it was like "the golem and the jini"... but sadly it was nothing of the sort.

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  • Robert
  • 11-17-17

Not full of Eastern Promise

I was attracted to this audio book by the Middle Eastern theme. Djinns and magic in eighteenth century Egypt. Shades of Scheharezade. However the dialogue was written and narrated in almost modern American. The story felt that it could have been anywhere. I am sorry to say that the reader also spoke in modern American English with no trace of accents to give colour to the characters.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jummai
  • 11-16-17

Enthralled!

I knew it would be of a standard but wasn't expecting this; I have no critique.
Also the narration was just perfect.