This was my first book of 2018 and wow was it surprising. I’m always a bit hesitant when it comes to massively popular books. I usually end up hating them or am left feeling extremely disappointed. I decided to avoid all reviews and just dive in with no expectations. It was a wise decision! I ended up getting sucked into the story and having that awesome book experience where everything real disappears as you immerse youself in the world unfolding on the pages. I love that feeling!
I do have some conflicting feelings about this book and I honestly think that I was supposed to. This isn’t a neatly packaged story with clear good vs. bad guys. The characters are complex and not always the best people or even likable. For me, this only makes the story more interesting. All in all I gave this book 4 stars out of 5.
Nahri lives by her own rules. As a single woman on the streets of Cairo she uses her talent as a con artist to survive. Her cons may look like magic, but they are merely tricks to get enough coin so she can escape to a better life. One fateful day during a cerimonial zar meant to save a young girl she accidentally summons a powerful dijinn warrior.
What happens next is a whirlwind adventure across the desert to the legendary city of brass. But, all is not as it seems as the legendary city of brass that should have been a sanctuary turns into a political prison where treachery and war are ever close by. Nahri is forced to accept that magic is real and that her perceptions of the people closest to her might be her undoing.
Plot, setting, and worldbuilding-
This book is full of action but suffers from not exactly having an over all point. There are times where I felt like I knew the direction the book was taking me and times where I was utterly in the dark. There are so many layers to this tale and while I did mostly enjoy that aspect, I also wanted a clear definition of where this story was headed. That’s mostly a personal thing and not something that I think would ruin the book for other readers. I like my stories to follow a path so this challenged me as a reader and in a good way!
Holy wow, the setting and the world building were fantastic. I felt like I was transported to the desert and could picture every detail of the city and surrounding. I also loved how the author wove Arabic mythology and folklore into the tale. I am so intrigued by traditional tales from Arabia. Some of my favorite fairytale and folklore stories are from this part of the world. So, I was super excited to see elements from my faorite tales come up in this book. The world building and inclusion of this details are what made me stay up and read until the wee hours of the morning!
I loved Nahri. She is strong, independant, and sassy. She is not afraid to get what she wants even if that means stealing it! She experiences a ton of growth in this story, but still I feel like there is more I have to know about her.
Dara… how do I even describe him. He is complex and I both loved and hated him throughout the book. I think his story is meant to give you lots of conflicting feels. I won’t go into details because I’m afraid I will give someting away.
Prince Ali- Unreasonably arrogant, still unsure of himself, a force to be reckoned with, and someone that I started off hating and ended up loving to the point of wishing there was a whole book written from his perspective. Not kidding. He is that interesting with the right amount of flaws and depth.
Secondary characters- Here is where the book lost a star. There are lots of characters that I should have cared more about but didn’t because their individual stories were a bit thin. There is so much action in this book that some of the side characters get lost in the mix. I’m hoping that book 2 fills them in a bit more and gives them the proper attention that they deserve.
This book does deserve the mountains of praise that have been thrown its way. It is one of the best fantasy books I’ve read that straddles the line between adult and YA fantasy. I think it will have massive amounts of appeal to a large audience. It is definitely a book that would have been on my fantasy and folklore lists at the library where I used to work. It is a complex book that explores how stories are molded and shaped based on the storyteller. History does get written by those who win wars and stories are not always filled with 100% truth. It is a tale that beckons you to consider every facet before you pick a side.