The City of Brass

, #1

Hardcover, 532 pages

English language

Published Nov. 14, 2017 by Harper Voyager.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

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 …

2 editions

reviewed The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)

The City of Brass

4 stars

City of Brass is the first book in SA Chakraborty's Daevabad medieval Muslim fantasy trilogy. The premise is that an Egyptian thief with mysterious healing powers accidentally summons a warrior djinn; it turns out she is the last of a race of Nahid djinn and is whisked away to a hidden city of Daevabad where she is immediately embroiled in politics.

What I enjoyed the most out of this book was the multilayered and dynamic political and personal tensions. The current Geziri rulers destroyed the previous Nahid/Daeva rulers, now living as ~second class citizens in Daevabad. The historical (and present) conflict between them revolves around Shafit half-djinn who are both required to live in Daevabad and also forced to live in squalor. For me, this is fantasy politics at its best where everybody's grievances and actions are understandable and often there's no good answers.

The two alternating perspectives of this …

Almost great

4 stars

Content warning big spoilers!


  • Imaginary places
  • Jinn
  • Fiction