On the streets of Cairo, Nahri knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. But when she accidentally summons a 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.
The City of Brass is a unique, layered, richly detailed fantasy. The characters provide ample moments of humor in the midst of heart-pounding adventure. The political complications throughout the novel -- from the variety of djinn races, to the fascinating mythological creatures, to cultural and historical clashes -- only heighten the emotional intensity between Nahri and her djinn warrior Dara. Avid readers of historical fantasy from Juliet Marillier, Katherine Arden, and Naomi Novik will enjoy this Middle Eastern debut, inspired by one of the stories from 1001 Nights.
Reviewed by lc, 02/18. Other reviews by lc.