The City of Brass

S. A. Chakraborty

Just finished.

I would like to put a spoiler warning out there for anyone who may not have read this yet or are currently reading it and have not finished. Just in case I do reveal anything of the story specifically.

Hmm… I’m not overly sure where to start with this book. That makes it sound bad, no, it wasn’t bad but I have a few things that I’d like to question.

Alright, I’ll start with the obvious. The city of brass is a very well written, well constructed world, and story with characters that are all deceitful and/or painfully naive. I was first intrigued by this book because, honestly, I had enjoyed Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. Another excellently well written and established world about deavas and magic and family and blood.

It started quick. Young poor thief girl, street smart and meant to be five steps ahead of everyone. She wanted to travel and didn’t care for the people that she outwardly swindled. Ignores the warnings of her one and only person that she might call a friend. And ends up summoning a warrior deava and basically ruining any chance she had of a future in her world.

It then has a second start. Again quick off the mark something off handed is happening only this time you’re introduced to a young djinn. A Prince to be more precise. A rather naively self righteous devout in everything that makes him and his family not seem evil. He is also funding a group of shafit (half deava, half human) terrorists? Is that basically what they are? The shafit are not having a great chance at life or anything really. And the prince in his wisdom is funding the group then goes with this group on a mission because he wants to know what his money is truly funding because he didn’t think that they would buy weapons?

Can you tell I was not particularly fond of this character? Yes, it got worse for me. I actually was enjoying this book up until she reached this city. That was when things sort of started to get a little sketchy for me.

If I had to describe what happened next in one sentence I’d say.

Think the Simpsons, she is a Ralph in the guise of Bart, while he is a naive Lisa going up against a vicious mix of moe and principle skinner.

She was portrayed as being this street savvy, always thinking a couple of steps ahead, pinpointing easy marks thief woman. She was supposed to be able to easily sniff out when someone like the king was trying to feed her and the situations around her bullshit. But… She lost that completely. She lost focus of all of that apparently. In the end, she became a simple character who couldn’t decide if she loved two men who were openly fighting and she knew this but did it anyway. She bounced from one loyalty to the other constantly surprised when a general did things he wasn’t proud of in a war. Not being funny but, war, there are no innocent parties in war, except for the victims who weren’t actually part of the fighting but they got caught in the cross fire which neither of these characters were.

Which leads me on to this really really annoying self righteous idiot. He’s supposed to be clever and wicked with a sword but on all accounts he only proved himself to be naive. I keep throwing that word around right now but that was the big thing that came up for me. And what made it worse was all the mistakes he made not once did he actually change! He didn’t learn! His father outright told him the underhanded method his family used to win the war that he was jabbing accusations at the other character for and he couldn’t believe them because his scholars had not wrote it down!? How can you be clever and not know that history is written by the winners!? He was even shown by his brother the horrible war corpses his family had kept hidden from the other daeva and still preached all righteousness for his family. No! Just admit that your family are just as evil and wicked as the family they overthrew all those centuries ago.

Oh god, his brother. A drunk Prince who enjoys the attention of the night ladies, but turns out he’s gay? Hates her for being a daeva but he’s in love with a daeva? And even though she healed his brother, and saved him from dying, she’s conniving because she was being forced into a marriage and decided to make demands? Hmm, just sit there and think about that for a second.

It ended with her thinking she had got a one up over the king and making him a mark even though after that display I am now convinced she couldn’t manipulate her way out of a toddlers classroom, nevermind one up him.

And he is being sent away.

There is a second and third book.

If we sit in this grey area of love and hate at the same time in the next two books I may just lose my mind.

But… It was good, plenty of magic, well written, well established world, nice little reveal at the end which hopefully plays a bigger and more helpful part to everyone’s characters in the later books. This unfortunately did not grab me and have me sitting at the edge of my seat screaming “come on!” like crescent city by Sarah J Maas. But that is a pretty hard standard apparently. That amazing book has left an itch I can’t quite scratch but I am hoping to try!

The next book I’m reading is called Mirage by Somaiya Daud. I have had it in my book collection for a while but never got round to it as everything was packed in boxes. However, I have romantic hopes for this one and hopefully I won’t be disappointed with half hearted “I don’t know if I love you”s like what I have discovered recently with some reads which makes me want to weep.

Hopefully, update will be coming soon.