Book Review: The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

3.75 stars

I have a few things to bring up about the author’s theology in writing this book.

“I don’t care about your ignorance.”

The author clearly knows her stuff when it comes to ancient Middle Eastern culture and I am still in awe about how deep it went. However, she would work her magic in weaving words you know with words you don’t, removing the descriptive illusion that makes books so enveloping. This bothered me. Yes. Fine. There is a glossary and a map, but there is so much in every page that I no longer wanted to flip back to the glossary to find out what it was that she was pointing out. It might be a hat, or a dress, or a bicycle. I just glazed over it and continued. Because of this, I never truly felt an escape like I do in other books.

“I don’t care if you can read the names or not.”

In a lot of fantasy, author’s take liberties with creating fanciful names. These names go beyond my reading comprehension. And there were so many characters to keep up with, when a name was brought up again, because the spelling is not in my wheelhouse, I have nothing to even compare it to and as a result don’t remember the character at all. At the end, when characters were brought back I was like, do I know you? Are you important? Oh, right, you’re this guy’s dad? What did this guy do again? Just looking at some of these elegant names made my head spin.

Example: Darayavahoush e-Afshin (glad we could call him Dara).

“This book isn’t fantasy adventure, but more fantasy soap opera.”

By the second chapter, when all the ghouls came out, I was like YEAH! this is so cool. And then it wasn’t for a time, then a big fight with a dragon-looking thing and some crazy birds, which was COOL! and then, nothing but pampered politics for 300 pages. Even the climax was like, huh . . . I want the ghouls back.

Plus, I don’t know who the villain is, besides EVERYONE but Ali, the second narrator of the story – a chased, golden-hearted youth, that oh yeah, might have murdered my favorite character in the book.

“Incredulous is the best word ever.”

I find this in a lot of YA fiction where everyone looks incredulous. I guess, this is what everyone in Daevabad looks like, incredulous, which is half between anger and constipation. Every time I read it, a little ding sounded and the points in the book went done. I was saturated with incredulous enough in the Twilight series to never want to read it again.

“Magic will save everything.”

And it really does, because the magic is so beautiful. The world building is very well done and so consistent. Huge points on that.

All in all, I liked it, but it was hard for me to like it. If it wasn’t so fascinating and unlike anything I’d ever read, I probably wouldn’t like it as much. I did find similarities with my own series, that made me giggle. And also gave me hope that I’m doing something right. (mine copyrighted in 2013, btw.)

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