The City of Brass

Shannon Chakraborty
The City of Brass Cover

The City of Brass


The first three chapters were five stars, to the point of immediately recommending my friends read this. Then the novel bogged down a little, though it finally finished strong. I liked it, and will read the second in the series.

Reviews on this seem pretty strongly divided, kind of like this magical world the author has described. It is very complete, with a lot of history between magical peoples (the Daeva, or djinn, primary among them). Speaking of those peoples, there is a glossary at the back to help with defining them. I like the main character, a strong and intelligent young woman. The story dives right into action with a running battle against ghouls in Cairo, and her protector Dava, the djinn she accidentally summoned, is there to help.

Those ghouls were well described. Then the desert, the other magical beings she encounters, and her interactions with Dava. What threw me for a little loop was the shift in focus to Ali, and the descriptions of his life, his surroundings, and his interactions with humans in the City of Brass. Yes, eventually these two characters meet, but first more descriptions. The author had a lot of world to portray, and a good fifth of this book is describing it - people and places.

The story does keep coming back to action, right up to the end, and I will check out the second in the series. This is the author's first book, and was nominated for two awards. It is also the 24th book I have read this year by a new (to me) female science fiction/fantasy/horror writer. I would put this in the top five in that group, and better than another with a very similar focus - Alif the Unseen (G. Willow Wilson).