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Quick take

S.A. Chakraborty’s richly detailed narrative and painstakingly imagined world building is the perfect escape from the real world, something we could all use these days.

Why I love it

Come along for a tale of magic, mystery, and adventure in this wildly enchanting debut! A dizzyingly exciting Middle Eastern-inspired novel, filled with mythology, treachery, and schemes around every corner, The City of Brass is a beautifully told fantasy book that is perfect for fans of cons and conjurers, demons, and desert worlds.

Nahri is a young con woman who knows all the tricks to staying alive and ahead of the law on the streets of 18th-century Cairo. What she doesn’t know is where she came from, or why she can speak a language that no one else seems to understand.

But everything changes for Nahri during one of her cons when she accidentally summons demons—and Dara, a darkly mysterious djinn—while messing around with the language. Dara saves Nahri from the demons and tells her the tale of the legendary city of Daevabad—the City of Brass.

With still-angry demons looking for her in Cairo, Nahri decides it’s best to follow Dara to Daevabad, where she becomes embroiled in schemes of political corruption when she befriends Alizayd, a young prince hoping to overhaul his father’s rotten government. Will Nahri’s undeniable attachment to the city help her to realize her true powers, or will the conflict and chaos consume her?

S.A. Chakraborty’s richly detailed narrative and painstakingly imagined world building is the perfect escape from the real world, something we could all use these days.

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Synopsis

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 . . .

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