Review: The City of Brass

HOLY COW WHY HAS NO ONE SHOVED THIS BOOK IN MY HANDS BEFORE NOW!?

I won an ARC of Empire of Gold, which is book three of the Daevabad trilogy so obviously I have to read the other books. I have been wanting to read City of Brass for so long and just never got around to it and DANGIT I hate myself for waiting so long!!

So here is my review of The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

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…

First off, I love historical fiction fantasies. I love seeing how fantasy can fit into our past and shape the way we see history. We set our story in Cairo in the 1700’s and off the bat I was ready to go. I knew this was going to be insane and I was right!

The plot was so good. Like I’m speechless with how good the plot is and again, no one said anything? No one bothered to hit me on the head with the book and say, “read it!”?! I’m a bit disappointed. We have magic upon magic, a city filled with Daeva’s and djinn, a poor girl mixed in the middle of a mess she knows nothing about. And don’t forget the protective warrior with her.

The characters were perfection. Nahri is the kind of girl who can take care of herself until she’s thrown into this new world and has to rely on her warrior hero Dara to take care of her. Ali is like a german shepherd: tough, follows the rules, and yet is still a big softy underneath. And Dara? Well, he’s a psycho warrior, kind of like a pitbull, where he’s sweet unless you mess with him. Then he’ll mess you up. And there’s so many other fantastic characters in this story with completely different personalities. It’s great.

I found myself getting heavily invested into this story. The world building was intricate but not overwhelming and the writing made the magic come to life. By the time I finished this book I wanted to start Kingdom of Copper immediately, but I can’t and it’s killing me.

City of Brass has become one of those fantasies that I can’t stop thinking about and at this point, I’m becoming obsessive. Soon I’m gonna be hunting down fan art and bookish items for this series and all my money is gonna fly away. We’re entering the level of Throne of Glass obsession right here, so be warned.

I’m going to dive into some spoilers, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip down to the end!

SPOILERS START HERE:

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Okay so the ending. WHY!? First off, love the whole scene with Ali under the lake. Hearing the marid talk to him as he’s being eaten alive by this magical lake was intense and it didn’t help with the battle going on overhead. The battle on the ship was heartbreaking, especially Muntadir crying over Jamshid. And then when Ali literally rose from the dead to “kill” Dara – I WAS SCREAMING.

One thing I noticed and want to discuss is the relationship between Muntadhir and Jamshid. First off, they’re totally together and in love and I feel like Muntadhir is hiding his relationship because he knows he has to marry and have children. But then again, I’m not sure if this book discusses the Daeva’s feelings towards homosexuality and if it’s something they approve, disapprove, or are neutral on? I can’t remember. I just want everyone to be happy and if that means shipping Muntadhir and Jamshid, I’m all for it.

But as of right now, we have Muntadhir and Nahri betrothed and I’m so upset!! I don’t know what exactly happened to Dara yet and I really just want him to come back. Everything is just going to shit with them right now and it makes me so sad. I want Dara and Nahri to be able to be together even though I have a feeling that is not going to happen, at least not easily.

Plus now Ali has been banished!? What the heck!? I’m getting really invested into this world and it’s taking over all my thoughts now! I just want to know what happens next!!

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SPOILERS END HERE:

Overall, I loved this story. It mixes all my favorite genres into this one epic book that I can’t stop thinking about. I’m still recovering form the ending and I’m desperate to know what’s next. This is a strong starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for me!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

 

What’s the Deal with Spoilers?

Spoilers. A divided subject in the book community. On the one hand, they take away from the joy and excitement that a person may have for a mystery box, ruin the surprise in a book, or ruin the fun of finding out who the killer is. On the other hand, limiting someone’s freedom of speech is not okay, and telling people they can’t post spoilers is not something that can always be dictated by others. I’ve seen some interesting arguments regarding spoilers, but I think it’s important to look at them and determine what is a spoiler and what should classify as one.

A spoiler, in my own words, is information about a topic or item that is not obvious public information and effectively ruins the surprise of arriving at that moment. For example, someone posting about how sad they were a character died, when it is not common knowledge this character dies because the book has just been released. Typically spoiling occurs when an item or information is brand new and not many people have had the chance to view it yet. But this is where it can get a little less clear. When does a spoiler end?

Different people have different opinions on when something is no longer a spoiler. Some people say a month, others say six months, some say a year, and some say never. This divide on when information is no longer a spoiler is tricky, and one of the biggest issue in the book community.

In most of the book groups I’m currently in on Facebook, moderators put a one month spoiler ban on new releases, meaning no reactions/reviews/memes/nothing can include information about the current book. After a month, the spoiler ban is lifted or modified. For some groups, spoilers can be shared freely now. In others, there is a warning that is required for others who may not have had a chance to finish what they are reading, informing them that the information shared is a spoiler.

One of my biggest pet peeves with spoilers is what I call the “I don’t give a fuck” or “idgaf” period. This is the period of time immediately after the release of a book where most people are currently reading it or have not read it yet, and others who have read it early or quickly suddenly spoil large moments with no regards for anyone else. This “idgaf” period is typically in the first two weeks range of a book releasing where most people haven’t even had a chance to receive the book yet. Seeing spoilers on a book or book box during this time is honestly irritating for me and many other people.

After a certain amount of time though, when does information stop being a spoiler? For me, I would say three months. That gives people a good amount of time to receive their book or subscription, crack it open, and see what’s going on. In three months, the people who are anticipating reading or seeing it will have a chance to actually do that, especially since not everyone has the free time to read whatever they want, whenever they want.

So if it’s common knowledge not to spoil information immediately after release, why do people do it? Well – I don’t know. It could be because they are excited to share their opinions, they don’t care that others have not read it yet, or they could be oblivious and not realize it’s a spoiler. Whatever the reason, these moments suck for many of the readers who haven’t had a chance to experience the moment for themselves, and taking away that moment is a crappy thing to do.

Now, here’s where the problem comes in: if there is no set timeline on when a spoiler is no longer a spoiler then confusion is bound to happen and so is aggression. This comes about in aggressive comments by people who are upset or personal messages sent that someone is upset they were spoiled. Now if a certain amount of time has passed, these remarks are no longer valid and the person who is upset is unnecessarily aggressive – and this is where the problem lies.

The spoiler band wagon can be overly aggressive, especially when a good amount of time has passed from the release and should no longer be a spoiler. If the book community sets a timeline, then we can avoid confusion and hostility about spoilers and promote a more positive reading experience for everyone.

Now lets talk etiquette. 

When coming across a spoiler, especially in the “idgaf” period, it’s important to let the person know that what they’re doing is wrong, but in a non-aggressive way. Yelling at people, calling them names, or being utterly rude is not the way to go about the situation. Not only does that make the other person defensive, but it can create a mob mentality and others will join in. Being upset about a spoiler is okay though, but being abrasive or rude is not.

When it’s after the “idgaf” period, we enter the “beware” period. This period is the remaining two and a half months after a release when a person may encounter spoilers and can still justify being upset. In this period, it is still other people’s responsibility to be courteous to others about spoilers, whether by not sharing them or giving a warning. At the same time, the closer to the two and three month mark, the responsibility should shift onto the reader who wants to avoid them. If that means avoiding certain pages or groups who might share spoilers, then avoid them.

If it’s after the three month grace period then the spoiler worry is no longer on the sharer. People are allowed to post reactions, memes, jokes, photos, and more regarding to the books that are out and it is not their job to warn others or avoid spoiling others anymore. While some may still be upset at being spoiled, it is no longer their right to complain about them – except in certain situations.

  1. Someone is aware you are currently reading a book and spoils a big moment for you either on purpose or on accident
  2. Someone posts a spoiler for a series in a group that is focused on one topic (ex. a spoiler for The Wicked King in the ACOTAR group).
  3. Someone spoiling a book in a group chat/comments where a person is asking for opinions/thoughts on if they should read said book

Those are the only situations I would warrant upset regarding spoilers after this grace period. Besides that – it’s fair game.

Now, this is all my opinion. There are people who warrant longer or shorter grace periods, depending on their reading habits and consideration of other people. This is where the consistency should come in. The book community should come together and decide what is the “idgaf” period, the “beware” period, and the “free game” period. Without these time constraints, it is difficult to justify and end this debate.

Overall, spoilers suck and being malicious in sharing them immediately after release is a crappy thing to do. But being rude to other people, even when upset, is also a crappy thing to do. And getting spoiled after a certain amount of time no longer is the person posting’s worry, but the readers.

I think it’s important to open up the debate, so let me know what your opinions on spoilers are and the timeline and etiquette you think is far!