City Of Brass

City Of Brass


Nahri is a con artist and a thief with some unnusual skills. She can understand any language when she first hears it and she can recognise illness in others and she uses these skills to survive on the streets of Cairo.

One night she decides to perform a ceremony in her native language and in doing so she summons a creature she thought only existed in myths. This one action changes her life forever.

Our Review

City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty is a captivating read and I cannot wait to read the sequel.

City of Brass heavily reminded me of Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Djinni in terms of the subject matter but it was also unique.

S.A Chakraborty’s skilful world building enables the reader to immerse themselves in the mysterious Middle Eastern kingdom of Daevabad.

Nahri is a thief and accomplished con artist doing what she can to survive. When we first meet her, she is waiting for a ‘mark’ to arrive. The mark is a rich Turkish man who is convinced he is dying and has heard of Nahri’s healing skills.

The man and his brother arrive talking in Turkish unaware that twenty-year-old Nahri has never come across a language she is unable to immediately understand.

Nahri has the unusual ability to be able to sense sickness in others, a skill she uses to her profit. Where there is no sickness Nahri will invent one in order to get money out of her rich marks for a ‘cure’.

“His breath was clean on sickness, and there was an unmistakable brightness in his dark eyes. Despite the graying hairs in his beard, ill-hidden by henna – and the plumpness in his belly, he suffered from nothing other than an excess of wealth.

She’d be glad to help him with that.”

She convinces him that part of the cure should be to leave his house completely empty for a week. During this time, she will steal some items from his house, items he will believe have been carelessly misplaced and won’t miss to her. The money from them will help to pay her rent though.

Nahri scams people to survive but dreams of a life in Istanbul studying real medicine and leaving her unsavoury life behind her. No matter how much she earns though it never seems to be enough to escape.

Nahri is a bit of a loner in Cairo, her only friend is an elderly Jewish pharmacist named Yaqub who clearly cares about her but knows not to ask her too many questions.

“She didn’t question his background and he didn’t ask why a former pickpocket could diagnose illness better than the sultan’s personal physician. Their strong partnership rested on avoiding those two subjects.”

Yaqub worries about her and frequently tries to convince her she needs to get married or follow through on her plan to study medicine in Istanbul. He is concerned about her doing dangerous things like leading a zars.

“Like belief in magic, belief in possession was widespread in Cairo, blamed for everything from a young bride’s miscarriage to an old woman’s lifelong dementia. Zar ceremonies were held to placate the spirits and heal the afflicted woman. “

Nahri doesn’t like in possession but she recognises the ceremony can be a profitable one, so she spied on one once in order that she could earn some money. On this particular night she decides to alter the ceremony slightly by performing it in her native language, a language no one else has ever heard of.  In doing this she summons something without meaning to and changes her life forever.

Nahri becomes lost and finds herself in the middle of Cairo’s city of the dead where she encounters a deadly enemy and the being she summoned accidentally during the Zar.

The being she summons turns out to be something from legends she has grown up and he reluctantly becomes her rescuer.

And they shall control the winds and be lords of the deserts. And any traitor who strays across their land shall be doomed…There was only once creature that line ever referred to... An ancient being said to live for deceiving and terrorizing mankind. A djinn.

Afshin was a djinn.”

The djinn to tell her anything about himself including his name but he insists on incessantly questioning her about her family and her own history.

City of Brass is a split narrative tale. It is split between Nahri and Prince Alizayd al Qahtani. Ali lives in the city of Daevabad a city ripe with inequalities and petty prejudices, a city where everyone has their own agenda. A city that Nahri is about to enter.

I appreciated the unique mythologies presented in City of Brass and the sense of the foreign this book contained.

I would recommend this book, it is simply incredible.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

Read & Shared 82 Times.

I hope you enjoyed this book review, please consider sharing it with others.

Get In Touch

Please feel free to leave a comment to this book review below. Or even leave your own review if you like.
If you run a blog and/or have posted a review to this book, a Q & A or general author interview online you can always add a trackback to it here and following moderation we'll add a link to it below.