Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and Uprooted, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts.
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trades 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 and a reliable way to survive.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to question all she believes. For the warrior tells her an extraordinary 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 birds of prey are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In Daevabad, within 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 to be careful what you wish for . . .
S. A. Chakraborty is a speculative fiction writer from New York City. The City of Brass is her first novel. www.sachakraborty.com
The familiar fantasy theme of a young person learning of a hidden supernatural legacy is given new life in this promising debut novel, set in late-18th-century Egypt. Twenty-something Nahri, who has the ability to sense illness in others and to heal some ailments, supports herself as a fortune-teller and con artist in Cairo. Her routine, if precarious, existence, is shattered when a girl she is trying to help is possessed by an ifrit. Nahri only avoids being killed through the intervention of Dara, a djinn, who reveals that Nahri is from a family of magical healers. Chakraborty combines the plot’s many surprises with vivid prose (“The cemetery ran along the city’s eastern edge, a spine of crumbling bones and rotting tissue where everyone from Cairo’s founders to its addicts were buried”), and leavens the action with wry humor. There is enough material here—a feisty, independent lead searching for answers, reminiscent of Star Wars’s Rey, and a richly imagined alternate world—to support a potential series. Agent: Jennifer Azantian, Azantian Literary. (Nov.)
“An opulent masterpiece. Chakraborty’s debut is desire-soaked, intrigue-laced, and rife with so-delicious-you’ll-sink-your-teeth-into-it worldbuilding and equally mesmerizing characters. A must-read.”Roshani Chokshi
“A richly imagined, stunningly immersive book that takes you into a world of darkly alluring djinn and beguiling magic...Peopled with irresistible characters and steeped in the myths of the Middle East, The City of Brass is a dazzlingly inventive tale.”Ausma Zehanat Khan
“S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel is an adventure that sweeps readers through the streets of Cairo and out into a spellbinding landscape of magic, warring clans, sacrifice, and betrayal. Each page reveals a new wonder. Con-woman Nahri, djinn warrior Dara, and the enchanted city that theyand weare only just beginning to understand, are captivating. What an exciting ride!”Fran Wilde
“S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel is an adventure that sweeps readers through the streets of Cairo and out into a spellbinding landscape of magic, warring clans, sacrifice, and betrayal. Each page reveals a new wonder. Con-woman Nahri, djinn warrior Dara, and the enchanted city that theyand weare only just beginning to understand, are captivating. What an exciting ride!”Sarah Beth Durst
“The City of Brass is the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind. It’s stunning and complex and consuming and fantastic. You must read it.”Sabaa Tahir
“An extravagant feast of a book—spicy and bloody, dizzyingly magical, and still, somehow, utterly believable.”Laini Taylor
“Fast-paced, strong characters, and immersive world-building—S. A. Chakraborty debut is a carpet-flying adventure of djinn-filled wonder that leaves you wishing for more.”Michael J. Sullivan
“I particularly love a story of twisty, complex, dangerous, and character-driven family and palace politics, steeped in hidden history, cruel betrayals, and desires that can’t be admitted. The City of Brass delivers on all counts.”Kate Elliot
“With this rich and layered novel, Chakraborty builds a fantasy world as intricate and intriguing as its Middle Eastern setting. Following the various subplots is like pondering vibrant Arabic design; readers will lose themselves in the wonder and complexity.”BookPage
“Chakraborty’s first book in her in Daevabad Trilogy introduces an enchanting world of magic and treachery that will leave you clamoring for book two.”Paste Magazine
“Vivid descriptions percolate the lush prose, and a final twist leaves room for a sequel. Recommend this scintillating, Middle Eastern fantasy to fans of thoughtful, mystical adventures.”Booklist
“The City of Brass is a mesmerizing fantasy tale of magic and intrigue that showcases the very best that the fantasy genre has to offer...a superbly written, lush fantasy story that deserves to be at the top of your to-read list.”Hypable
“Chakraborty writes a winning heroine in Nahri — flawed but smart and engaging. And her portrayal of the cultural conflicts in the magical city of Daevabad and of Ali’s inner turmoil is compelling and complex, serving as a strong counterpoint to the thrilling action.”Washington Post
“It’s hard to describe just how gorgeous and intricate this fantasy novel is.”SYFY Wire
“Chakraborty’s debut dazzles...The City of Brass takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster, leaving them with an open ending that will have them desperate for the follow-up. Majestic and magical.”Shelf Awareness
“It’s hard to describe just how gorgeous and intricate this fantasy novel is.”Syfy Wire
A writer and organizer with the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers' group, Chakraborty sets her debut fantasy in 1700s Cairo, Egypt, where street hustler Nahri cons people with her tricks but rejects the idea that magic really exists until she manages to summon up a dark and wily djinn warrior. The warrior's stories take Nahri to a land she thought lived only in myths and finally to the magnificent City of Brass.