The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)

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 City of Brass was a mixed bag for me. I loved the beginning with Nahri and the market. Nahri was sassy and independent, and I loved her business acumen. Once the POV changed to Ali’s I enjoyed it even more. It was a little slow, but it kept me interested. I started to struggle at a certain point (highlight to view spoiler) when they got to the city (end spoiler), with both POVs. For a huge chunk of the book, over one hundred pages or so, it was slow and a bit boring. I nearly put it down but I liked the concept and the characters and I wanted to see if the ending redeemed it at all. I am so glad I finished it! The ending was epic! Action-packed, shocking, gripping! It could do with that saggy chunk being edited – that would massively improve the book. If, like me, you’re struggling with the slow part, persevere to the end, I promise it’s worth it.

I had some other problems with this book. One of which was the writing. At times it was a bit too heavy on the telling, as opposed to showing. There was repetitive explaining, as if the author was afraid the reader would have forgotten something, and this didn’t fit well with the deep POV style used. I also felt that a book set in an exotic and magical city should have felt really vivid to read and it didn’t. I was really disappointed. Yet another issue with the writing was lack of clarity in certain plot points. Some things were confusing and seemed to come out of nowhere.

The characters were really good. I loved Nahri, I loved Ali even more. Ali’s POV was so entertaining to read and his storyline was the best in the book. Dara fell down for me though. He seemed too much like other characters in similar roles in other books.

The world in this book is exceptional. The author must’ve put so much planning into it. There is years worth of history and well-developed tribes and beings. None of the worldbuilding is info-dumpy or boring. It’s well woven into the story. The problem was with the writing in terms of me not being really captured by it.

I would like to continue with this series, but I am daunted by it. That boring section makes me dread the next book, even though the ending was fab and I really want to see what happens next.

2.5 / 5 stars