The City of BrassBook - 2017
"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 eighteenth-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"--
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To survive in 18th century Cairo, Nahri a young con artist, survives by performing minor cons, healings and a little theft. She knows nothing of her heritage or family, only that she can heal remarkably fast and understand any language. Nahri's life is upended when she accidentally summons Dara, a handsome djinn warrior in one of her healing cons who in turn, saves her from murderous Ifrit and demon spirits who have become aware of Nahri and her healing abilities. They flee towards Daevabad, Dara's homeland the legendary City of Brass, where Nahri must claim her magical birthright in order to prevent a war that threatens to destroy the entire djinn kingdom.
Meanwhile in Daevabad, Ali, the second son of the ruler of Daevabad has his own struggles. A deft warrior and devout follower of the faith, he sympathizes with the Shafits - a mixed race who are part djinn, part human who are restricted to living in the city, and suffer ill treatment at the hands of his father. When a mission to help the Shafit goes awry, Ali is placed in a situation that will test his loyalties between the crown and the Shafit cause.
Debut author Chakraborty writes an engrossing, fast-paced novel filled with richly detailed images and vivid prose. Written in a dual narrative, Chakraborty weaves a fascinating tale of speculative fiction that offers to the curious reader a glimpse into Middle Eastern mythology and djinn lore. The first novel in a trilogy, perfect for those who enjoy historical fiction with a blend of fantasy, as well as for readers who have previously enjoyed Helene Weckers’ novel "Golem and the Jinni".
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