Tagged: Historical Fantasy

The City of Brass

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TRB Twit The City of Brass Review
Jenn reviews S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass

About the Book

The City of Brass; SA Chakraborty
Young Adult; Fantasy; 569 Pages

Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (November 14, 2017)

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty perfect for fans of The Golem and the JinniThe 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.

On the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed skill. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she learns that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

Forced to flee Cairo, Dara and Nahri journey together 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 more than what they seem, to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass.

It’s a city steeped in magic and fire, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell; a city where old resentments run deep and the royal court rules with a tenuous grip; a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound—and where her very presence threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.

About the Author

S. A. Chakraborty is the author of the critically acclaimed and internationally best-selling The Daevabad Trilogy. Her work has been nominated for the Locus, World Fantasy, Crawford, and Astounding awards. When not buried in books about thirteen-century con artists and Abbasid political intrigue, she enjoys hiking, knitting, and re-creating unnecessarily complicated medieval meals. You can find her online at www.sachakraborty.com or on Twitter and Instagram at @SAChakrabooks, where she likes to talk about history, politics, and Islamic art. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and an ever-increasing number of cats.

Jenn’s Review

An epic fantasy set in a mythical city filled with magical beings, deep in the sands of Arabia? Complete with magic carpets, djinn, and its own Prince Ali? Welcome to The City of Brass.

Nahri doesn’t know the first thing about her roots – only that she can sense and heal illnesses, and that she has a gift for understanding languages. She has never heard her native language on anyone else’s lips, has no idea how she knows it… And she’s Cairo’s foremost pickpocket and con artist. At least until she accidentally summons a daeva during an exorcism and all hell breaks loose.

Enter Dara – he’s dark, brooding, rude, and arrogant. And a whole lot baffled by the young woman that summoned him, when she shouldn’t have been able to. She has abilities that haven’t been seen in his world in decades, and he assumes that she is a half-breed djinn. The only appropriate place to stash her and keep her relatively safe, is Daevabad, his own home, and a place that equals certain death for a centuries-old daeva guard.

The pair have to band together to survive the journey, only to be parted when they finally reach their destination. Nahri has no experience with royalty, and has to learn quickly, lest her missteps bring her to a quick end. And Dara needs to find his way back to Nahri, less because of his curse than because of his feelings for the young woman.

This epic reads a bit like a Middle Eastern Game of Thrones, with political intrigue seeded liberally throughout. Dara and Nahri have some amazing chemistry, and I found it difficult to not cheer for them to find a way to overcome obvious racial and caste differences that hold them apart. To confuse the matter further, Nahri develops feelings for the second-born prince (who was tasked with getting to know her and sway her favor for a match with the crown prince).

This is book one in a trilogy and a debut novel, and I’m looking forward to book 2, hoping that the developing, complicated romantic theme gets untwisted. Chakraborty’s writing is concise, describing colorful, intricate settings and characters with an effective economy of words. The plot simmers, steadily cranking up the intensity, and it was hard to put this down.

TRB Pin The City of Brass Review
Jenn reviews S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass

Buy the Book

This book is available in Kindle, audiobook, hardback and paperback editions here.

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Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

**Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that when you click one of the links in this post and make a purchase, Thrice Read Books receives a small commission from the seller. We do not charge authors for our reviews and this does not cost you anything additional and does not impact the author’s royalties – it does allow us to continue bringing you ad-free content, and we thank you in advance for your support.**

Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee's historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda - India history, diverse fiction, fantasy fiction, historical mysteries
Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee’s historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

About the Book

Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda; Mala Mukharjee
Adult; Historical Fantasy; 363 pages

BookRix March 12, 2019

A historical fantasy set in the backdrop of Nalanda and the end of Gupta Empire depicts the horror of Hun invasion, and power struggle between smaller kingdoms in an alternate universe bounded by magical reality. During the political turmoil, a prince vouchsafed to save Magadha from foreign invasion with the help of Nalanda’s intellectual teachers and their secret knowledge of Celestial Weapons. However, palace intrigues compelled him to renounce his claim to the throne and he embraced the life of austerity for a greater cause. Unaware of the baffling power of his enemies, the young prince entrapped in the political rivalry of Chandraketugarh and found love in an unexpected way. His journey to Nalanda unfolded many secrets of the ancient university that changed his destiny forever. Under the guidance of his mentor, eminent alchemist Budhaditya he overcame all odds and reached his goal; but just before the final battle, he faced the dilemma of choosing duty over love. 

This is the first part of a Trilogy. 

This story is purely fictional, based on imagination, not on historical facts and figures. Any similarities of events or characters, in reality, is purely coincidental and not made to insult any individual or group. 

Jenn’s Review

I picked this book up to read a quick sample, after the author, Mala Mukherjee, contacted me about a possible review. After reading the introduction, I chose to add this story to my reading list for two reasons: first, it isn’t written from a Western perspective and second, the author is upfront and honest about where the story came from. If you’re looking for a historically accurate tale, this probably isn’t for you, however, as Miss Mukherjee explains in the book’s first pages, she’s spun a fanciful tale around an archaeological mystery.

Welcome to Nalanda, and the Indus subcontinent in the age of the Huns. Nalanda is a center of learning, removed from politics, though it will not remain untouched by the coming war that looms over the land.

Prakhashaditya is a disgraced prince who renounced his claim on the throne to retire to a life of learning, if only for enough years to secure the knowledge of elemental weapons that might stand against the Huns’ mystical arsenal.

His teacher sends him to one of the department heads of Nalanda, to specifically study alchemy, and everything goes wrong when Prakhashaditya stumbles into a confusing situation between local villagers and a merchant caravan.

Confusion ensues, as court intrigues tangle and twist around each other. Hidden plots and deceptions add up, war breaks out, and survivors emerge with the truth of their identities – few of the major players know the whole truth and even fewer know who they truly are.

This was a long read, and in the first half, I frequently found myself out of the plot and lost in long descriptions of settings and people. Miss Mukherjee has done a thorough job of world-building and character creation. However, at several points in the book, I nearly gave up, as the description frequently engulfed the story. Eventually, the author does get out of her own way, and the story flows well – leaving me glad I didn’t surrender.

As a word of caution, this book is not written by a native English speaker (I am uncertain if the book was translated or if the author wrote this in English herself), and this shows up in virtually every paragraph. At times, what the author intends to say is unclear, however, I reached a place where it simply became a facet of the narrative.

Under the faults, this is a thrilling story, with unexpected plot twists, mysteries, intrigue, and danger. Definitely worth the effort to read.

Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee's historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda - India history, diverse fiction, fantasy fiction, historical mysteries
Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee’s historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

Buy the Book

This book is available on Kindle here.

Thrice Read Books will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at books@thricereadbooks.com. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.