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The Chronicles of Ghadid #3

The Unconquered City

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The final volume in K. A. Doore's critically-acclaimed assassin fantasy series

Seven years have passed since the Siege — a time when the hungry dead had risen — but the memories still haunt Illi Basbowen. Though she was trained to be an elite assassin, now the Basbowen clan act as Ghadid's militia force protecting the resurrected city against a growing tide of monstrous guul that travel across the dunes.

Illi's worst fears are confirmed when General Barca arrives, bearing news that her fledgling nation, Hathage, also faces this mounting danger. In her search for the source of the guul, the general exposes a catastophic secret hidden on the outskirts of Ghadid.

To protect her city and the realm, Illi must travel to Hathage and confront her inner demons in order to defeat a greater one — but how much can she sacrifice to protect everything she knows from devastation?

400 pages, Paperback

First published June 16, 2020

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About the author

K.A. Doore

5 books158 followers
K.A. Doore grew up in Florida, but has since lived in lush Washington, arid Arizona, and cherry-infused-everything Michigan. While recovering from climate whiplash, she has raised chickens, learned entirely too much about property assessment, photographed cacti, and now develops online trainings, none of which has anything to do with – or perhaps has everything to do with – her BA in Classics.

She writes fantasy – mostly second world, mostly novels – with a touch of horror and a ton of adventure.

The first book in the Chronicles of Ghadid Trilogy - an adventure fantasy about queer assassins who save the day - will be published by Tor in March, 2019.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 40 reviews
Profile Image for Silvia .
635 reviews1,388 followers
May 24, 2020
I was sent this book as an advance copy for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

4.5 stars

That was a really funeral conclusion to one of the best fantasy surprises I've had in 2019!

The book takes place seven years after The Impossible Contract and explores the consequences of individual and collective trauma through the eyes of Illi Basbowen.

What started as a family of assassins is now what protects Ghadid from the guul that in increasing numbers threaten the city they all love. I loved seeing the relationship among the cousins, both the younger generation and the generation of Amastan and Thana, the previous two books' protagonists.

While the previous two books can be read as standalones, this last one greatly relies on book two's knowledge, and partly on knowing Amastan's story from book one (if you, like me, like to read books for that sweet character development), so make sure to read those first (and honestly, why wouldn't you?? they're great).

I can't say a lot about the plot without spoiling pretty much everything from this book and the previous ones so you'll have to read the book for yourself for that, but I thought the high stakes were well-balanced with both humorous and tender moments.

And speaking of tender moments! Although I should say both tender and hot. I loved the f/enby romance in this so much! Canthem is so swoony and smooth, I honestly got a crush on them myself a little. The dynamic between Canthem and Illi is of the "one night stand turned crush, with a side of forced proximity" kind (oh my god there's only one caravan) and it was so much fun.

A lot of my favorite moments also involved characters we've already met in the previous two books, I've already mentioned Thana and Amastan, among others I can't spoil, but I can't not mention Heru with his undead camel 🐪 and his, uh, social skills. Which, if you're wondering, are still equal to zero. Also, I'm officially launching the hashtag #hehasalabassistant. If you know you know.

I can't wait for more people to read this so I won't be alone in my suf- uh! I meant so we can talk about that bittersweet ending* :) 

*don't worry, the romance is HEA!

I'm simultaneously sad that this series is over and looking forward to whatever K.A. Doore writes next. This series had one of the coziest atmospheres I've ever read, it made me feel like I was living in this desert city with the main characters, and every time I started a new book it was a bit like coming home.

TW: past trauma and PTSD, intensive thoughts, brief mention of suicidal ideation, blood magic, character death
Profile Image for charlotte,.
3,044 reviews805 followers
August 5, 2020
Not a change. More like a growth.

On my blog.

Rep: Black mcs, bi mc with PTSD(?), nonbinary li, lesbian & gay side characters

CWs: magic involving self harm, murder/death

The Unconquered City is, first and foremost, a distinctly satisfying wrap-up to the Chronicles of Ghadid series. It takes you back to a familiar world, for new adventures, and ties together the last threads of storylines introduced in the first two books. Namely, the return of a character I shall not name, so it’s a nice surprise.

In The Unconquered City, we meet Illi, a cousin who works to defend the city against attacks from the sands. She very much views this as her mission following the Siege, seven years earlier, and also works with Heru to quiet guuli (although Heru is obviously scheming further too). But when General Barca arrives one day with the news that guul attacks are getting worse, she follows her to Harthage to save her family.

The best part about this book is that it actually considers the toll that some of these big fantasy events have. I’ve read so many epic fantasies that just seem to ignore the mental health of their characters after everything happens. (I mean, if you want to create a world where mental health is not an issue…go ahead? I guess? Strange hill to die on, rather than representing it, but okay.) This one centres it.

I think a strength of this series is in the characters and worldbuilding, and that is no less the case here. By the third book the world feels so familiar that falling into it is like some form of coming home. And the characters were definitely what had me reading it almost obsessively (yes, I finished it in one sitting). Particularly certain characters from previous books that finally came back, yes, but also everyone else. I loved seeing Amastan, Mo, Thana and Heru again.

And honestly, if you haven’t got onto this series just yet, there’s no time like the present! You are seriously missing out otherwise.
Profile Image for S.A. Chakraborty.
Author 12 books9,412 followers
July 22, 2020
I have thoroughly enjoyed The Chronicles of Ghadid from the very beginning, starting when I fell in love with Amastan in The Perfect Assassin (which also, YES I WAS YELLING AT A CERTAIN PART IN THIS BOOK). I love the worldbuilding; it's a unique, well-conceived system of magic and politics that provides an excellent backdrop for an otherwise character-driven narrative. And the books are just FUN in a way that adventure fantasy should be. There's a warm that fills these books in a way that's difficult to describe. They're exciting and dashing and touch on serious issues, but are upbeat and fast and a nice change of pace from some of the more soul-crushing trilogies in sff right now (though there's a certain death that broke my heart) Definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Laura.
1,685 reviews46 followers
October 28, 2021
Edit: learned the world building was influenced to a degree that could be considered appropriative of North African culture, and especially Kel Tamasheq culture, and will no longer be recommending this series. [rating removed]

I received an advance copy from Tor via Netgalley for review purposes. This in no way influences my review; all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own.

Content notes:

The Unconquered City picks up seven years after the end of The Impossible Contract and is primarily focused on Illi Basbowen, a younger cousin of Amastan and Thana who lost her parents during the Siege. She has PTSD from that night and the smell of blood especially triggers flashbacks to that night. She tries to live her life in the moment and avoids making new connections for fear she’ll lose the people she cares about. When a new caravan arrives in Ghadid, she meets Canthem, a member of the Guul Guard, and they begin to spar which also develops into an affair of sorts, because Illi knows they’re going to leave so anything started is temporary. But when Merrabel, general of the Guul Guard, reveals that Heru has kept a sajaami in Ghadid for the last seven years, he is exiled and Illi joins his to Hothrage because she’s become the new housing for the sajaami.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and loved the additional development of the magic in this world. There’s adventure elements and elements of mystery as Illi tries to figure out how to get rid of the sajaami. Sajaami are extremely dangerous and she wants nothing more than to destroy it when she realizes it’s more than likely the reason guul have been becoming a bigger problem for Ghadid over the last seven years. I also really loved that Yufit (from The Perfect Assassin) made another appearance and a resolution was reached. The ending had a lot of hope and the feeling of new beginnings for Ghadid.

I really liked Canthem but I, as a nonbinary person, do have some complicated feelings around how they were introduced. This series is very queernorm but when Canthem is first introduced the initial description is making note of masculine movements and feminine movements basically while Illi can’t determine if Canthem is a man or a woman. It was also awkward how Canthem says they’re neither man or woman because it felt like a way to make it clear and obvious rather than letting Canthem just be. Because The Unconquered City has a nonbinary character (which was one of my biggest excitements with this book), I paid a little more attention to how gender was handled and like revealed, and something that stood out was when another character wearing a tagel (face covering) was introduced their voice being higher pitched was what led Illi to gender them as a woman, which feels like in some ways it takes away from Canthem’s existence because things that shouldn’t be gendered (movements, voice) are still being used to assign or reveal gender of characters. I will say Canthem overall was decent nonbinary representation in my opinion, and there’s no descriptions of their naked body or misgendering or any of the BIG NO-NO trans things, but there was the in-text things that I mentioned above that did make me raise my eyebrow a little. Other nonbinary readers may feel differently, but I did want to talk about my thoughts on that specifically in my review.

Overall, this is a really strong conclusion to the Ghadid series and Illi is a wonderful main character. I loved how this book tied up some threads from the first book and I loved seeing Amastan, Mo, and Thana as the world continues and they continue making their place and finding their happiness in it. The high-stakes adventure and machinations of people were engaging and I really enjoyed the reading experience.
Profile Image for afternoonsunjeans.
109 reviews64 followers
March 15, 2022
a castle full of water for the person who teaches Illi how to accurately ride a horse. seriously, Canthem, you had one (1) job.

ownvoices review for: cptsd rep
rep: Black queer main character, non-binary love interest of color, Black ff side couple, Black lesbian side characters, Black mm side couple, Black demisexual homoromantic side character, Black queer (unspecified) male side character, Black queer side characters, sub-sahara african & ancient egypt inspired setting, cptsd rep, collective trauma rep

the chronicles of ghadid #1: the perfect assassin


ILLI: can pushing people away be considered a talent because i think im a natural

CANTHEM: my seduction style is genuienly caring about your life and just wanting you to be happy

HERU: do you ever get the urge to tell someone to shut up even if theyre not talking???

MERRABEL: guys, i got this *ruins everything* . . . whoops

t h a t s i t. t h a t s t h e b o o k.
Profile Image for Jordan Shiveley.
29 reviews24 followers
March 21, 2020
K.A. Doore is a devastator. K.A. Doore is the knife slipped between your ribs when you lean in for a loved one’s embrace. K.A. Doore is also a fucking amazing writer and the Unconquered City wrecked me in all the best possible ways.

The third in her stellar trilogy of necromancy, assassins, undead camels, blood magic, ancient spirits, and HOT GAY ROMANCE amidst the sands of the Chronicles of Ghadid the Unconquered City is a perfect ending to a thoroughly engaging and unique fantasy series. While you can read all these books without having read the others I highly recommend having read the first two books because Doore pulls out all the stops when it comes to gathering together all the disparate story threads that have sprung up during the series and weaves them into one breathtaking tapestry of dark magic, heartbreak, and hope...oh did I mention the HOT GAY ROMANCE?

You can order the first two books in the series RIGHT NOW and preorder this one so you can get your desert parched eyes onto it as soon as possible. Also, preorders really help authors and publishers and right now they need as much help as possible.

Also no matter what also put in a request for it in your local library system even if you buy it. Put it out there for others to discover. So, what are you waiting for?
Profile Image for Hanzel.
149 reviews21 followers
August 23, 2020
He died!!!!!!!!!!!

I wanted to see his ideas, I wanted the en-marabi to gain some sort of good karma, but he died!!!!!!

Was there no other way?????? Did the sajaam disrupt the environment so much, that a slowly changed the surroundings...........

A good open ended book, where Ms. Doore can just come back and spin some new tales, I want to have some continuation, I want to read some new things, new abilities(if only..........sigh............I really felt like Ms. Doore could have opened up a lot of possibilities), the third book was a bit slow, but action and reaction are still fine........I love the adventure in another city Hathage, Merrabel Barca and her ideas..........

I felt the third book was rushed, honestly you introduce so much additional lore, then just cut off, so maybe, just maybe another trilogy!!!
Profile Image for Nathan Makaryk.
Author 3 books110 followers
August 28, 2020
The entire trilogy is fast paced and page-turning, full of creative supernatural elements and endearing assassins who just can't help themselves falling in love with cute strangers. This third book fits comfortably with the others while still escalating events farther than ever, and brings a very satisfying conclusion to a fun fantasy series. A creative world with relatable characters, and an easy recommendation.
Profile Image for Katharine (Ventureadlaxre).
1,522 reviews46 followers
June 30, 2020
Seven years have passed since our favourite characters from books one and two saved Ghadid from the nightmarish events that are spoilers for book two.

This book focuses on Illi, who lost her family in the siege and now lives under Thana's care. She was too young for the family business in a professional sense but did receive many years of training, only to be one of the first denied official status when it was decided that the assassins wouldn't be needed in their former capacity. Now she and the cousins keep Ghadid safe in other ways. Primarily against the Guul.

Heru is still there, and about as popular as he's ever been. When it turns out he's been harbouring a terrible spoiler from a previous book Ghadid throw him out. Frustrated they can't see his brilliance, and at how dismissive they are at the fact Heru helped save Ghadid, and for... other reasons... Illi follows him. And it doesn't hurt that a certain someone is part of the caravan, someone Illi hadn't planned on seeing again, but certainly isn't disappointed to be spending more time with them at all. 

Like the first and second book we focus on different characters in the third. Amastan and Thana are certainly important characters but the focus is on Illi, and the grief that's still haunting her from the siege and everything they experienced with Thana and the rest were saving Ghadid from a different part of the land. Illi was right in the middle of it, fighting the re-risen dead, seeing the fires gut their homes, and all the rest of it. 

Characters still drive this book, although the plot is still engaging and fast paced, thanks to be large amount of travelling that takes up this book. Representation is throughout. The fight scenes are engaging and believable, as is the healing, religion, and world building in general. If I could have anything I'd have liked to see more mention of the food, but that's always been a quirk of mine. 

This is easily a series that could keep going indefinite really - focusing on more and more cousins, then more generations and so forth. So if you could just get on that, please, that would be awesome. 
Profile Image for Cheyanne Lepka.
Author 1 book11 followers
August 23, 2020
Well, this book. THIS SERIES! Wow, probably one of my favourite series that I’ve read in recent years. I will say for this book, I know it’s supposed to be standalone, and I definitely think it would be alright to come in at this book, but I also think that those certain emotional moments just won’t hit as well if you haven’t read the previous books. So, I’d recommend reading the other two first (and also, they’re very good and you should read them anyway!)

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic (if a little bit heart-rending) way to end the series. I loved seeing the way the world was at the beginning of the series and then coming to the end and seeing how much it’s changed since then. And of course, seeing all my favourite characters grow and change throughout the series was amazing.

I really loved Illi, it was so easy to root for her, and I love how human she is. Doore really has a knack for writing relatable and very human characters. Those little mistakes and missteps they take really make them easy to root for and connect with.

It’s always a little tricky to review a third book in a series, cause if it’s done right all those wonderful things kind of border on spoilers, but I will say that I think it does a great job of creating a self-contained story, introducing a new and wonderful character, while also providing a satisfying end to the series and tying up some of those unanswered questions from previous books.

Like this review? More like it can be found on my blog: https://www.cheyannealepka.com/chey-s...
Profile Image for Liz (Quirky Cat).
4,054 reviews61 followers
May 28, 2020
I received a copy of The Unconquered City in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Unconquered City is the third and final novel in The Chronicles of Ghadid series, and I am completely shaken up about that fact. I've fallen so in love with this world, I'm simply not ready to let go of it.

It's been seven years since the horrifying events of the Siege. Ghadid us recovering, albeit slowly. Cousins like Illi Basbowen are struggling to find their place in this new world. Well, maybe not all of them.

Illi never had a chance to take on any contracts, and while hunting the evils that seek to take her family once again has some satisfaction, it isn't quite the same thing. Perhaps that is why she takes the time to learn as much as possible from Heru.

The real question is, would she have hung around, even knowing all of the trouble and adventures his presence would cause her? The answer is almost certainly yes. Illi is on a path for greatness, after all.

“Then all worries were lost in a flurry of motion; there was no more time left to waste.”

Holy cow. Tell me it isn't over. Please, tell me it isn't over. I loved The Chronicles of Ghadid, and I simply adored The Unconquered City and everything it had to offer. K.A. Doore has done it again, and with exceptional grace.

I'm honestly still reeling from everything that happened in this book, I'm not even sure where to begin. For starters, I suppose I should say that I love the timeline. Setting it seven years after the events of the last book gave the world time to heal, while also allowing secondary characters to grow and change. It was brilliant.

There's simply so much to love about this novel. The opportunity to see characters from the first and second novels all grown up. The world itself. The politics and water rationing. I adore each and every little bit of it.

Without a doubt though, the way trauma is represented in The Unconquered City is unparalleled. Both on an individual and group level. Illi is personally going through so much thanks to the Siege, as are all of the Cousins and members of Ghadid. It's both emotionally tense and beautiful to see, as odd as that may sound.

On to the core plot; wow. Can I just use that as my summary? But seriously, I adored the latest plot. It was even more steeped in politics than ever before, and I just couldn't get enough of it. There's the internal politics of Ghadid, but then larger politics as well. It was fascinating. Especially in regards to water and resources.

Seeing so many characters come together once again for the series finale...it was so powerful. I think that is the main reason I've been left reeling here. K.A. Doore provided us with a chance to say goodbye, but that made it all feel so real. Perhaps too real, in a sense.

I don't know what K.A. Doore is planning on working on next, but I have no doubt that I'll be reading anything and everything they come up with. As soon as possible.

Check out more reviews over at Quiry Cat's Fat Stacks
Profile Image for Ursula.
182 reviews6 followers
May 25, 2020
Hello Gemmies! I have a new book review to share with you today. Please note: I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review.

The Unconquered City by K.A. Doore is a wonderful epic fantasy and the third and final book in the Chronicles of Ghadid trilogy. Let's start with the cover. Ok to be fair, all the covers in this series have just been gorgeous! Book three is no different with another strong female warrior with weaponry in hand! I love that each book has a separate color theme and the shades of blue and water imagery in this one is significant to the storyline.

The Chronicles of Ghadid has turned into one of my all time favorite fantasy series. The Unconquered City is so amazing and a great end to the series. I cannot tell you enough how much I loved it! Now, you can read these stories out of order, but I recommend reading them in chronological order in order to really appreciate the growth of the characters and the progression of all the different storylines. The Unconquered City takes place seven years after the events in The Impossible Contract. The action starts right away and maintains a pace that keeps you gasping as you turn each page. Along with the action is the underlining theme of dealing with past trauma and the hope for building something better in the future.

This world that K.A Doore has created is so detailed and unique and we get to see it expanded even more from the first two novels with the introduction of another city. We also get more adventures in the desert and undead camels! The Unconquered City is another well written character driven story. We follow the story of Illi, a younger cousin and assassin in training in the first two books; now all grown up and a protector of Ghadid. We are also reintroduced to old favorites like Thana, Heru, Mo, and Amastan as everyone tries to deal with rebuilding their lives while fighting off a new threat to their fragile peace. I loved the relationship between Illi and Heru. Heru is such a character and socially awkward that he became my favorite of the entire series. This book made me laugh, cry, and bite my nails in suspense! I really, really don't want the series to end!

If you are a fan of epic fantasies, adventure, assassins, blood magic, necromancy, mystery, complicated love stories, and kind of happy endings then go read this book! This gem published by Tor Books is set to release June 16, 2020, and is available for pre-order from all major booksellers.

I give The Unconquered City 5 out of 5 gems. I loved this book and series and hope we got more stories set in this universe. Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Ladz.
Author 1 book34 followers
May 21, 2020
Read an ARC granted through NetGalley

The Chronicles of Ghadid comes to a close with an epic story of community mourning, healing, and recovery as Illi is tasked with going away to Hathage get rid of the sajaami which is preventing all other restless spirits from passing on. There's an f/enby romance, the lesbians are back, and all that assassination goodness we've come to love.

The guul continue to be the absolutely scariest things, but I really loved how Doore gave everyone--from cousin to captain to guard to marab--the agency and ability to face them. The fear was still there but it wasn't insurmountable, especially as the threat takes over all those living in the Wastes.

Though this book introduces a third narrator, there are so many call-backs to the first book and dealing with the consequences of The Impossible Contract that make those necessary reads. The reader leans about the terrifying creatures at the same pace the characters do. Such a slow burn of conveying information is hard to pull off, and yet Doore has mastered it.

The romance between Illi and Canthem was such a delight. There was only one caravan! Their flirtations were so on point (who doesn't love throwing knives and training sequences as a vehicle for chemistry). More over, I really liked how that relationship and others (namely between Illi and Heru) played a major role in the finale and the emotional arc of the Chronicles of Ghadid as a whole. No person is an island and the theme of community coming together for mutually assured survival was so good throughout.

A fabulous end to a wonderful queernorm trilogy about found family and community coming together to solve a major undead problem.
Profile Image for Eshana Ranasinghe.
104 reviews3 followers
June 23, 2020
The Unconquered City was a wonderful read and a great ending to a vibrant fantasy trilogy. The story built upon the foundation of its predecessors and explored the world and the magic and the repercussions of the ending of the impossible contract.

Reading this felt like coming home, and slipping back into a familiar word and writing style. Being reunited with the characters from the previous novels and how they’ve grown and matured over the year filled me with such joy I thought was only possible to experience through well crafted fanfiction.

Illi was an incredibly strong and caring character who carried the world upon her shoulders. Her struggles and determination to keep her city and the people she loved safe all on her own were incredible compelling. Throughout the story she learned to process some of the trauma and guilt of surviving the events of the impossible contract which was both moving and oddly cathartic.

I’ve always really love K. A. Doore’s protagonists who are realistically flawed and incredibly relatable and how they must confront this and are forced to grow through the story and accept themselves.

The Unconquered City was probably the most fun time I had read out of all the three books and I loved how the loose threads from the previous books were tied up in this one. The exploration of the mythology and magic was so much fun to read about. It is a great addition to the series and highly recommended especially if you enjoyed the previous Ghadid novels.

Read my more detailed review on my blog HERE

Thank you so much to K. A. Doore for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for kaylina.
324 reviews8 followers
December 3, 2022
4.75 / 5: She remembered the screams of the dying.

She remembered the feeling of stone, all around.

She remembered the sensation of centuries passing. Of time wearing at her shell.

She remembered how her fury had dulled to rage had faded to anger had hardened into resentment.

She would kill them all. Then: pain.

The world had ended. But then it’d kept going.

it pains me greatly just like it did this character above that i can’t share with you all the gorgeously written quotes that this third book has since i read it on scribd, and i’m just…wow. this series was wow.

it’s also 3am as i’m writing this and i can’t afford to write a half-assed review while being on the verge of sleep so…review is definitely coming by like…early afternoon at best.

update: i'm really happy to have discovered this series the way i did. sometimes, recommendations can come completely by chance and even a random infographic on bookstagram can stick with you for a while. the one thing that is at the center for all three books in this series that i wholeheartedly admire is how much the characters are who drove the story. and they are the ones who have you wanting to read until the end. learning about these assassin characters and the oaths they live by as they swear themselves to protect their city was incredible because we got to see how each and every one of them showed their dedication in different ways.

in the slow-burn murder mystery that was the first book, amastan was someone who had a lot of doubt in himself in his capability to kill a mark, and then the story eventually grew even bigger as he found himself at odds with a mysterious killer who was offing his cousins. because of this, he found himself forced himself into a position where he had to reckon with what was right and what was wrong, and what felt necessary for the good of his family. in the second book, thana's character had a much more fiery spirit and was eager to succeed under the weight of her family's eyes being that she was the Serpent's daughter, only to step into what became quite a bizarre journey that completely reshaped what she thought she knew about her mark and the dangers that come into play when handling a contract. in this book? illi was like a shadow of herself, a cousin who was dealing with the trauma of an event that occurred off-page near the end of the second book. this event completely uprooted her family and especially herself, and above all, it made her desperate to find a way to make sure nothing could ever take down her city again. this desperation leads her to make questionable decisions that added a lot of tension to the story as she ends up involving herself in something that was much bigger than her body could handle, and heru (a significant character we meet in thana's story) assists with that.

i found it very interesting, the relationship that was explored here between illi & heru because it's one that's very odd and has its complications, but there was some semblance of respect that was shared between them--heru, who was considered an outcast by the people of Ghadid due to his practices that were viewed as a sham against G-d, and illi, who learned second-hand about these practices and felt urged to lean closely into if it meant protecting all the people she loves so that they don't become lost like the others before. she threw herself forward as a martyr but it felt much more intense than that because she was also isolating herself from making any sort of connections or letting anyone close in since it always felt like there were dangers hovering near the horizon.

canthem's character was another interesting aspect to this story because they were only supposed to be a brief smudge in illi's life, someone to share one night with without any strings attached, only to then have that smudge grow bigger & bigger so that she eventually couldn't just ignore them. in all the scenes that we see canthem with illi, they added a lighthearted feel to an overall grim story because even with all the guul that are to be fought and strangers to steer clear of, canthem connected to illi and had a charm that made it impossible to forget them. they made it impossible to forget about how there could be more than always staying on edge and letting that chip on your shoulder guide every decision you make. they leaned into having illi learn that there is something beyond the horizon that isn't all just smoke & fire, but much rather something light and hopeful. on the journey towards that road, however, there's a lot of blood spilled and possessions taken and it was all very intense.

the writing was as beautiful as it was in the other two books, if not a little more if the majority of bookmarks & highlights i made in my ebook have anything to say about that. i loved from the beginning reading about these assassins working to fight to keep Ghadid safe because it is their home and it's all part of their history; the people are what will keep that history alive even as centuries go on because in all the fighting and chaos, there's also new relationships formed and lost connections that come back even after over a decade. there's glass to rebuild and scrolls to be recovered, with healing to be done by the plentiful water that comes trickling in--which by the way, i will always love how the author wrote these healers' connection to water and their own jumbled history that comes with it as stories do always get rewritten over time with each mouth that speak of it.

i loved how alive Ghadid felt and how we got to see it at its darkest times, this book only proving to show how there is something that can be done if all of its citizens work at it as they keep facing forward. i loved how each and every character had their own spot to shine in, even those without their own povs, and for those who did--i love how near the end of this story, all these voices echoed as one like some kind of hive-mind, because what connects amastan, thana, and illi is the city they call home and they each go on their own separate ways of finding their way back to it if it means keeping each other safe.

content warnings:
descriptions of blood & violence, exploration of grief & trauma, and murder
Profile Image for Dee.
796 reviews45 followers
August 4, 2020
A satisfying conclusion to this trilogy, as epic and yet personal as each of the novels have been so far. Each of Doore's main characters has been a wonderful conglomerate of strengths and fractures and needs, and Illi is no exception - the trauma she carries from the finale events of the second book is terribly understandable, and understandably terrible, and the book does an amazing job of exploring how that trauma cannot be denied, but also doesn't have to define her. AND the book does that while having a rollicking adventure plot and some fascinating magic exploration. All the things! All bundled up together!

A great piece of fantasy fiction overall. I am very much looking forward to what Doore does next.
Profile Image for Mika.
53 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2020
In terms of plot and Illi's character development, this was a great finale to the series. All the ways characters from previous books tied in, to give them and Illi a satisfying ending. The romance was a weak link, though, in contrast to previous books, where it was not only convincing that two characters fell in love, but was smoothly interwoven with the plot and even helped to drive it. Here, Illi... slept with them twice at the beginning of the book? And then they were in love? The love interest didn't really feel developed, which was disappointing since nonbinary characters are still pretty uncommon.

It was instead Illi's relationships with Heru, and Thana and Mo, and Amastan that shined. And I'm all about found family, so that was all right with me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Vervada.
429 reviews
January 7, 2022
4.5 stars
I have to say that the worldbuilding in this entire series is just so well done, there are so many interesting ideas and the magic is pretty unique. And the characters are delightful too, and getting to see more of some of the ones from previous books was lovely. The ending was great, but I actually wish that this wasn't a trilogy because I want more of Ghadid, more of the cousins and to find out what a certain scene near the end meant. It was just a few sentences, but they really stirred my curiosity. Anyway, I'm going to wait impatiently for K.A. Doore's next book even if it's part of "The Chronicle of Ghadid" or not.
Profile Image for Akemichan.
321 reviews10 followers
June 28, 2022
Sono contenta di aver continuato la saga, raro che l'ultimo libro sia il migliore e invece eccoci qui. Non che non abbia alcuni difetti già riscontrati nei precedenti, ma allarga il mondo e allarga i rapporti fra i vari personaggi meglio dei precedenti.
Anzi, se avesse fatto una trilogia solo su questa storia, forse sarebbe riuscita meglio.

Quello che mi dispiace, in realtà, è che fra tutti i personaggi femminili qui presenti, alla fine l'unico personaggio a cui io mi sia affezionata è invece Heru...
301 reviews
October 1, 2020
This is the final book in the Chronicles of Ghadid, and it's a good tie-up to the trilogy. I really like the two new main characters, especially the nonbinary love interest. And I like the end of Amastan's arc. I still wish there had been some more diving into the world-building, and would love to know more about the sajaami. But I really love what's there, and it's nice to have a queer-friendly world.
Profile Image for Sheila.
454 reviews13 followers
October 22, 2020
4.5 stars. This was a satisfying end to the trilogy! Lots of action and heartfelt characters . I love the world of Ghadid and I just wish we got more tidbits of the technilogically advanced past, because Ghadid as a city in a post-apocalypse world is even more fascinating to me!

Overall this was a fun new fantasy & a great series to debut with, I'd recommend it!
Profile Image for Tanzin S.
112 reviews
May 1, 2021
There are parts of this book I really liked and parts I hated. The death of Heru was absolutely unnecessary. The author could have killed off Canthem, who was a waste of a character. They did absolutely nothing in the story except be a damsel in distress one or two times. Yufit came back (yay). I always liked him. Even when he was murdering drum chiefs and cousins.

The first book I really enjoyed. But this one didn't really hit me the way the first one had.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for artemis.
332 reviews2 followers
September 20, 2021
i absolutely love how aside from being introduced to another few characters, most who you will like. you also get to see characters who youve seen and am glad to see and other characters who is a surprise to see. you see the universe and world grow even more so with this one and augh

also can i say i really love the fact that its taken in for the characters to feel trauma and to feel fear for things that have happened in the past
40 reviews
December 19, 2021
I liked the story and characters.
As third in the series and end of this I believe it tied things up and would set things up for a new beginning some time down the line.
That said the ending of the book felt rushed and not the same quality as the rest. As I approached the end there weren’t enough pages left for a satisfactory conclusion. Yes all the pieces fit, but the detailed writing seemed to have disappeared.
Profile Image for Kes.
48 reviews14 followers
June 2, 2020
I received an ARC from Tor and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Remember when I said that The Impossible Contract upped the emotional game for me. Well The Unconquered City took all of that, added ten times the emotional weight, and absolutely crushed me. In a good way. I promise.

The Unconquered City is set seven years after the events of The Impossible Contract. This time, the story follows Illi Basbowen, one of the last assassin’s being trained before the siege, but now works as part of Ghadid’s militia, protecting the city against the attacks of guul. When a General from the neighbouring city of Hathage arrives, she confirms they are also seeing increased attacks and exposes a catastrophic secret hidden on the outskirts of Ghadid.

Illi is suffering from the trauma of the siege on Ghadid. She has nightmares, flashback induced panic attacks, and keeps herself emotionally distant from those around her. She works with Heru, who has stuck around Ghadid after the events of the last book. Heru is emotionally closeted, and lives on the outskirts of the city because no one trusts him or his blasphemous magic.

Illi meets Canthem, a non-binary babe and a member of the Hathage’s guul guard, at Ghadid’s market before everything goes to hell. She starts off on what is supposed to be a short affair. But when Illi and Heru are forced to leave the city, Canthem is part of the guard that escorts them through the desert.

Like in The Impossible Contract, I thought that the relationship conflicts (both romantic and otherwise) were realistic. Illi is suffering from her trauma, and pushes away people who try to get too close to her. She and Heru can have a somewhat antagonistic relationship, but it drives her actions and their consequences.

I’m not going to lie, this book might have made me cry (it definitely did)...more than once. It had a lot of emotional weight, and it was an excellent conclusion to the series. It tied up the loose threads from the last book, while also being an entire story on its own, and brought everything to a satisfying close.

I will definitely be keeping an eye out for anything K. A. Doore writes in the future, because I have really enjoyed this diverse, queer, non-eurcentric fantasy series.
Profile Image for Kendra Lawrence.
Author 4 books13 followers
September 13, 2020
I want more! This was a good read, so I am giving it 4 stars, but I wish the ending had felt a little more conclusive, and I would have liked to have seen more of a certain reunion. It felt like there were a lot of loose ends. At the very least, I wish the epilogue had been longer. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Reese Hogan.
Author 5 books35 followers
September 21, 2020
This was a fantastic conclusion to Doore’s Chronicles of Ghadid trilogy. There was a new worldbuilding element that I was fascinated by, the return of a character from the first book, a likable interesting heroine, and to top it off, a nonbinary love interest, all set in the same unique desert landscape I’ve fallen in love with. I’m looking forward to future books by Doore!
Profile Image for Mel.
3,202 reviews177 followers
June 22, 2021
I really enjoyed this series and this last volume was definitely my favourite of the three. There was a wonderful non-binary character. It is lovely to start to see representation in SFF books. It was a lovely story, the most focused on the magic/religion aspects of the trilogy. It was interesting to see what happened to the setting after the destruction of the 2nd volume. Definitely recommended.
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