Complex and mesmerizing, The City of Brass is an intricate tale full of betrayal and devastating histories. Chakraborty’s smooth and concise writing excels most with the worldbuilding, which draws on Middle Eastern locations, beliefs, and folklore. The world is wonderfully intricate with political factions, wars, social castes, and magic that blend together to create a rich and believable setting that is rooted in reality with a proper dash of fantasy. At times, this intricacy is a bit overwhelming and hard to follow, which slows the momentum, but it all adds more than it detracts.
The book is told in dual third person narratives: Nahri and Ali. I personally preferred Nahri’s story and character in almost every way imaginable. She’s witty, flawed, and eager to finally find her place in the world—all of which are admirable qualities. Meanwhile, I found Ali to be rather annoying and too naïve to really connect with, and by the end, I still wasn’t invested in his story.
I was also expecting more romance than there is, so that was rather disappointing. However, the little sparks that are present are absolutely delightful and I can’t wait to see how the relationships evolve in the next installment.
Overall, The City of Brass is an impressive debut by an author to watch and is a welcome addition to the fantasy genre. This is a perfect example of an adult novel with YA appeal, and readers will love the sharp prose and diverse elements.
The City of Brass is available November 14, 2017 from Harper Voyager