Adventure in One of the Most Famous Locales in Fantasy: The City of Brass by S. A Chakraborty
The fabled City of Brass, magical home to djinni and efreet, is the setting for but a single tale from The Arabian Nights, but it has nonetheless loomed large in readers hearts and minds through the centuries. For D&D players of course it has a special significance, as it features prominently in the history of the game (including on the famous cover of Gary Gygax’s Dungeon Masters Guide). But no modern writer has laid claim to it as passionately and as effectively as S. A Chakraborty, with her bestselling debut novel The City of Brass, named one of the Best Books of 2017 by Library Journal, Vulture, The Verge, and SYFYWire.
Some of you may recall Brandon Crilly’s enthusiastic review of The City of Brass at Black Gate. Here’s the highlights.
Chakraborty creates a world that’s nuanced and detailed. It has exactly the vivid freshness we continue to need in the fantasy genre, as a balance for the variations on the same Eurocentric worldviews that are still widely common…. But the novel is much more than its world – at the end of the day, my interest is always characters. Our two main protagonists, Cairo street urchin Nahri and immortal warrior Dara, are great counterparts; they’re equally passionate and protective, but in different ways, and both are seeking to find their place in the world… The City of Brass is excellent. It’s rare that I find a fantasy novel that’s so vividly detailed.
Last week the sequel The Kingdom of Copper, the second novel in what’s now being called The Daevabad Trilogy, arrived in hardcover from Harper Voyager. Here’s the description.
[Click the images for Brass–sized versions.]
S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass — “the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir) — conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad — and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family — and one misstep will doom her tribe..
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid — the unpredictable water spirits — have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates… and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
I was fortunate enough to hear Chakraborty read from The Kingdom of Copper at the 2018 World Fantasy Convention. She was enchanting, and the tale was enthralling. Here’s a few pics of the event.
S. A. Chakraborty reads The Kingdom of Copper at the 2018 World Fantasy Convention
And for the completests in the crowd, here are back cover scans for both books.
The Kingdom of Copper was published by Harper Voyager on January 22, 2019. It is 640 pages, priced at $26.99 in hardcover and $12.99 in digital formats. The cover art is by Aza1976/Shutterstock. No details yet on the planned third book in the trilogy.
See all our recent coverage of the best new Series Fantasy here.