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The final chapter in the bestselling, critically acclaimed Daevabad Trilogy, in which a con-woman and an idealistic djinn prince join forces to save a magical kingdom from a devastating civil war.
Daevabad has fallen.
After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.
But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.
Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.
As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved…and take a stand for those they once hurt.
765 pages, Kindle Edition
First published June 11, 2020
Do you know how many times I’ve had to do this? Forget healing, my specialty should be having my life destroyed and then being forced to rebuild from nothing.I finished reading The Kingdom of Copper, the second volume in The Daevabad Trilogy, in December, 2018. Yet, when I picked up the final book in S.A. Chakraborty’s fantastical work, The Empire of Gold, in late April, 2020, it was if I had finished reading #2 the week before. She is such a good writer that you are instantly drawn into the adventures of her characters, and not only their external journeys and challenges, but their struggles, to figure out what the right thing is to do, devise a means of doing it. The most decent way forward is not always all that obvious. This helps you root for them, not that you will need much help, to find their way through the moral mazes that appear, overcome considerable obstacles, and try their damndest to make right what has been made wrong.
Yet everything was just a touch off. There were empty spaces where conjured buildings should have stood, ugly pockmarks on the skyline. The brass walls were tarnished, the edifices—on closer inspection—riddled with missing bricks and blackened mortar. Defying any weather pattern Nahri knew, somehow the eastern half of the island was draped in snow while the sun scorched the western half so fiercely small fires smoldered in the scrubby hills. A hazy black cloud revealed itself to be a swarm of flies, and the ruined Citadel still lay bare to the sky like a scar, its tower half-drowned in the lake. Just like the mountains, Daevabad was sick…
Oh, this kingdom was eight hundred years. There’s no kingdoms that lasted for eight hundred years. There’s this one stable ruling family? I think we should pull that apart a bit. - from the Fantasy Inn interviewAnd the notion that a rightful heir is ordained by a higher power and will rule wisely if only he or she can assume their rightful place. Medieval? For sure. Sane? Not at all.
Fiza, however--God bless her--had stopped finding anything about his transformation intimidating and treated him with her normal base level of rudeness. “Yes, your wateriness,” she said with a sarcastic bow.The love element is not reduced to girl meets boy, or triangulated to girl meets hot djinn AND boy. Chakraborty wanted to get away from the bodice-ripping, all-consuming passion that marks many fantasy novels. Considering how long these characters live, happily ever after might carry some extra baggage. Also, love is diverse and messy. Nahri learned from childhood never to trust anyone. Makes it even tougher to skip through the usual minefields of romantic attraction. Ali had his strict religious upbringing and must contend with the awkwardness of the object of his desire being his brother’s wife. Messy. And then there are political considerations, (would you be with someone from the family that murdered large numbers of your people? Again?). Then there are career pieces. Nahri wants to be a doctor, for example. How will that fit into her schedule if she is busy raising an army and helping lead it? How would that work if she gets killed trying to free her home? (But how perfect it is in 2020 (and now in 2021) to have a lead character in a fantasy series whose primary ambition in life is to be a doctor?)
No more journeying with attractive magical warriors on ridiculously dangerous quests after this. Nahri clearly had a problem.Review posted – June 26, 2020