Nahri uses her quick wits and small magics to eke out a living in 18th Century Cairo; when her actions in soothing a possessed young woman have unexpected results, Nahri releases both the djinn, Dara, and a number of ghouls, neither of which she is prepared to encounter. Nahri, Dara, and their companions embark on adventures that will lead them beyond Daevabad, the titular city, from Qart Sahar to Tukharistan, engaging with extraordinary and magical beings associated with the four elements, and discovering the significance of Nahri’s mysterious heritage. Lush and rich with the power of storytelling, The City of Brass is a tale to savor over several pots of cardamom tea.
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, 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 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 . . .
“The City of Brass is the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind. It’s stunning and complex and consuming and fantastic. You must read it.”
“An opulent masterpiece. Chakraborty’s debut is desire-soaked, intrigue-laced, and rife with so-delicious-you’ll-sink-your-teeth-into-it worldbuilding and equally mesmerizing characters. A must-read.”
“[The City of Brass] reads like an invitation for readers from Baghdad to Fairbanks to meet across impossibly divergent worlds through the shared language and images of the fantastical.”
“Chakraborty writes a winning heroine in Nahri — flawed but smart and engaging. And her portrayal of the cultural conflicts in the magical city of Daevabad and of Ali’s inner turmoil is compelling and complex, serving as a strong counterpoint to the thrilling action.”
“Chakraborty’s debut dazzles...The City of Brass takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster, leaving them with an open ending that will have them desperate for the follow-up. Majestic and magical.”
“Against [a] syncretic yet nonderivative and totally credible backdrop, Chakraborty has constructed a compelling yarn...culminating in a cataclysmic showdown that few readers will anticipate....Best of all, the narrative feels rounded and complete yet poised to deliver still more. Highly impressive and exceptionally promising.”
“This lyrical historical fantasy debut brings to vivid life the ancient mythological traditions of an Islamic world...Chakraborty’s grasp of Middle Eastern history, folklore, and culture inspires a swiftly moving plot, richly drawn characters, and a beautifully constructed world that will entrance fantasy aficionados.”
“The City of Brass is more than a promising debut — it beguiles all the way...Chakraborty’s research and imagination are equally strong, and she deftly sets up a rich world — and ample suspense — for the rest of this trilogy.”
“It’s hard to describe just how gorgeous and intricate this fantasy novel is.”
“The City of Brass is a mesmerizing fantasy tale of magic and intrigue that showcases the very best that the fantasy genre has to offer...a superbly written, lush fantasy story that deserves to be at the top of your to-read list.”
“With this rich and layered novel, Chakraborty builds a fantasy world as intricate and intriguing as its Middle Eastern setting. Following the various subplots is like pondering vibrant Arabic design; readers will lose themselves in the wonder and complexity.”
“Vivid descriptions percolate the lush prose, and a final twist leaves room for a sequel. Recommend this scintillating, Middle Eastern fantasy to fans of thoughtful, mystical adventures.”
“Chakraborty’s first book in her in Daevabad Trilogy introduces an enchanting world of magic and treachery that will leave you clamoring for book two.”
“Chakraborty combines the plot’s many surprises with vivid prose, and leavens the action with wry humor. There is enough material here—a feisty, independent lead searching for answers, reminiscent of Star Wars’s Rey, and a richly imagined alternate world—to support a potential series.”
“An extravagant feast of a book—spicy and bloody, dizzyingly magical, and still, somehow, utterly believable.”
“Fast-paced, strong characters, and immersive world-building—S. A. Chakraborty debut is a carpet-flying adventure of djinn-filled wonder that leaves you wishing for more.”
“S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel is an adventure that sweeps readers through the streets of Cairo and out into a spellbinding landscape of magic, warring clans, sacrifice, and betrayal. Each page reveals a new wonder. Con-woman Nahri, djinn warrior Dara, and the enchanted city that they--and we--are only just beginning to understand, are captivating. What an exciting ride!”
“The City of Brass immerses you in a magnificent and vivid world. It’s a thrilling adventure, brimming with fabulous magic, compelling characters, and wonderful intrigue. I can’t wait for book two!”
“A richly imagined, stunningly immersive book that takes you into a world of darkly alluring djinn and beguiling magic...Peopled with irresistible characters and steeped in the myths of the Middle East, The City of Brass is a dazzlingly inventive tale.”
“I particularly love a story of twisty, complex, dangerous, and character-driven family and palace politics, steeped in hidden history, cruel betrayals, and desires that can’t be admitted. The City of Brass delivers on all counts.”