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Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Review: The City of Brass
The City of Brass
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
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 bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she 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 be careful what you wish for . . .
Okaaaaay so everyone loves this book and I've been told multiple times how amazing it is, and I finally got a chance to read it after being super busy. However, I'm kind of still not sure how I feel about it. My main issue with the book is that I spent three quarters or so of it kind of bored. Don't get me wrong, I thought the world building was brilliant, but I don't think we needed to spend quite so much time on it, because for me, it really affected the pace and I found myself kind of mildly bored and waiting for things to happen. I also got a little bit confused a few times too which made it difficult for me, the ending was mind blowing though!
I love anything to do with Egypt or folklore in general, and this book sounded badass, djinn....a con artist MC.....this had been on my radar since last year! I thought the book was richly written, and like I said, the world building was brilliant. But it took me a while to get in to the book, and I spent most of the time reading waiting for things to finally happen, which they did towards the end of the book. By that point I felt like it came maybe a little too late, there was just too much for most of the book where nothing was really happening, our MC doesn't even hit the city until probably half way through. Like the beginning seemed promising and I thought it was going to be fast paced...but it slowed right down and while I loved the writing and the world building...the pace was an issue.
Don't get me wrong, when everything kicks off at the end it was exactly what I'd been hoping for. Epic battle scenes, with rich writing and detail and information thrown in...but it took so long to get there that I couldn't quite appreciate it. I feel like it would have been better if some of the information had been thrown in here and there rather than all shoved in to the front half of the book. I very nearly gave up on this book because of the slow pace, and the confusion I felt when it came to the rules and inner workings of Daevabad.
I find myself saying this phrase again but....don't get me wrong, I love it when a book has a meaty amount of political intrigue to sink my teeth in to, it pulls me in and gets me hooked on the book and even puts me on edge at points depending on the book. But when it came to this book, yes, the political intrigue drew me in to an extent, and at points I was feeling quite tense...but I was also very confused for a chunk of the book and even after reading the information at the end of the book I still don't feel like I have everything straightened out.
There was just too much information and I couldn't sort through it all, it was overwhelming and I felt like a lot of it was all going over my head. I just couldn't wrap my head around most of it. I have to say, I feel incredibly dumb because I still don't know what the difference between some of the factions are and what their problem is exactly and who was working with who against who and why, it made me feel quite fed up to be honest which was disappointing to me. In short....and I never thought I'd be saying this, the world building, while brilliant, was just so damn complex it swiftly crossed over in to confusing and I just couldn't straighten out who was what....Djinn? Daeva? I have no clue.
As for the characters, I found myself oscillating between liking them and disliking them. Nahri I initially started out liking, she's the kind of MC I love and cheer for, she had attitude, she was a con artist who survived on her wits and was kind of a badass because she was so independent. She did what needed to be done and she was smart, plus she could heal people. My issue with her was that she swiftly went down hill, she irked me more than once and I wanted to smack her a time or two but by the end of the book I felt like she became like every other MC I've ever been disappointed with, you know the ones? The ones that make stupid decisions for no good reason and become a little bit useless and irritating, and it was such a disappointment for me because she was so promising in the beginning.
Nahri is one of our view points, the other is Ali, and I was never entirely sure I liked him. Mostly because I was confused about who was on who's side and why and who the bad guys where supposed to be. I liked him in the beginning....but then I disliked him a bit because he was a wee bit stupid and gullible at points, and then I started to like him again in time for him to jump on Nahri's "Stupid decisions" bandwagon and then that was it for me. I was just so frustrated and done. Plus there where hints of a love triangle and I'm really not here for that.
Dara was another source of mixed feelings for me, he was mysterious and I was intrigued by him and his past and as we got tidbits of what had happened to him and what he'd done I really felt for him, but he reached a point when I was kind of done with him because he became so arrogant and was kind of a d***. Like I get his view point, I really do, but at this point Ali was pretty much the only character I cared about and then Dara came in and started acting like an arrogant prat and I just couldn't get over it. By the end of the book I really didn't like him, and I didn't particularly like Nahri for going along with him. I didn't particularly care for their romance either.
I loved the legend and myth that went in to the book, and the writing was vivid, towards the end of the book I did get pulled in by all the plot twists that kept changing my perception of things and the action and the treachery and plotting, and I was kind of devastated by the end of the book...and then the prologue? The prologue was epic. Unfortunately it's a bit of a slog to get there, as you have to wade through over 300 or more pages of info dumping that goes from being manageably complex to swiftly making you confused AF, which kind of overshadowed the whole reading experience for me. I don't know...maybe I'm just dumb, but like I said...I'm still not entirely sure what was going on with the different tribes and so on. Alongside the info dumping the only other thing really happening is the flirting between Dara and Nahri and I was too busy being confused to really focus on it, or care much for it.
I don't think I've ever been sadder to give a bad review to a book to be honest, because I was just so excited for it and eager to read it and it ended up being such a struggle for me.