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The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)
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Magical Beings > The City of Brass spoilers free

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Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
This is the spoiler free thread for the May 15-July 14 adult book group read winner The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty!


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
This book is constantly mentioned in the wheelhouse of other books I enjoy, so I hope I like it!


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Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Me, too. I accidentally read a couple negative reviews so I'm trying to forget those before I start reading this one. Don't want them to taint my perception.


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
I will avoid reading the reviews then, until I finish.


Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
I am #20 on 5 copies or this one, so I have no idea how long it will take. Like I said in the other thread, sometimes because I'll think I'll have to wait a long time for a book I'll order more books and then they will all come right away at once.


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
That happens to me too. Actually, I’m finishing up several that came all at once. I may not be able to finish one of them though and have to be put on the end of the list again!


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Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments The last time this happened to me, it was 8 books all at once! Every single one of them I was #15 or lower in the queue too. I plan to request this one and the other 2 group picks (Orcus not available) next week.


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Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I'll wait for you guys to report back back then.

It looks pretty iffy to me, and the free sample didn't seem that great.

(If you can tell me there isn't sexual tension/romance between Nahri and the djinn warrior, I might give it a shot.)


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Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments There's a Goodreads giveaway for The City of Brass if anyone's interested: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh...


message 10: by Katy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 856 comments Leah wrote: "There's a Goodreads giveaway for The City of Brass if anyone's interested: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh..."

Thanks for pointing that out! I hope we all win.


Carole Weave-lane (writingnamecaroleweave-lane) | 104 comments Hi..It is only available for the US sadly.


message 12: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
In the US, it's on sale for the Kindle for $2.

I honestly can't decide whether to get it or not. One one hand - a well timed sale on a group read book, which would normally be an automatic "buy" for me. But on the other hand... This one doesn't sound at all appealing.


Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "In the US, it's on sale for the Kindle for $2.

I honestly can't decide whether to get it or not. One one hand - a well timed sale on a group read book, which would normally be an automatic "buy" ..."


What is it about the description that makes it unappealing? I'm just curious because I voted for it because I liked the idea of a setting in Cairo featuring Djinn and a hidden city. Also my library has it even though it looks like there's going to be a wait.


message 14: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Mostly, it just sounds really, really generic. The setting & magic being Middle Eastern sounds interesting and unique but the rest of it -- not at all.

To give a couple of examples, here's some broad guesses I come up with, just based on the summary. I have not read the book, so I'm not sure if any of this is correct, but, I'll use the spoiler tag just to be safe.

(view spoiler)

The summary just doesn't sound like it's a story about balanced characters with a unique plot. So that puts me on the fence already...

Then I go look down at the reviews and see a ton of graphics. Granted, still shots, so not as bad as Gifs, but I've started judging books by the amount of graphics in their reviews and it's worked out pretty well so far. I also tried reading the free sample a couple of times today and failed to make it to the end either time... Nothing really wrong with it, just kind of dull.

Anyway... I'll stand by what I said earlier. If one of you guys can read it and say that there isn't a romance between the two main characters, and definitely no love triangle, I might give it a shot. I won't promise to finish but I'll give it an shot.


Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "Mostly, it just sounds really, really generic. The setting & magic being Middle Eastern sounds interesting and unique but the rest of it -- not at all.

To give a couple of examples, here's some br..."


Fair enough! I'll let you know how I like it! When it comes that is, because I am currently #17 on 5 copies. I can't believe it, I just got a notice that my interlibrary loan for Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer arrived!


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Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Melanti wrote: "Then I go look down at the reviews and see a ton of graphics. Granted, still shots, so not as bad as Gifs, but I've started judging books by the amount of graphics in their reviews and it's worked out pretty well so far."

LOL. Now I'm curious. Care to elaborate on your theory? I always just flat out ignore those image heavy / GIF crazy reviews... well, unless it's something funny; I'm a sucker for a funny reference.


message 17: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Well... It stared out with YA books. Some YA books worked better for me than others. I noticed a lot of the ones with the more insipid plot lines or silly love triangles tended to be the ones with GIF filled reviews. Then I noticed the same thing, though less pronounced, with adult books. Those "great" fantasy books that "everyone" likes - I tended to like the ones with little to no pics in the review section, and tended to dislike the ones with tons of GIFs.

Ever since I noticed that, if I'm on the fence about a book and I see a ton of GIFs in the reviews I err on the side of not reading it.

I admit it's completely unfair of me and possibly just confirmation bias rather than a real phenomena, but anything in the reviews beyond stills from a movie adaptation or cover art now counts against a book in my "Should I read this?" mental check list. Granted, these aren't GIFs, but just having images there at all means I kind of want you guys to be my guinea pig.


message 18: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Lila wrote: " Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer arrived! ..."

Yay! Though you mentioning this reminded me I never actually returned my copy and I had to do the walk of shame this evening and go return it and pay the week-overdue fine. Sigh.


message 19: by Jalilah (last edited May 18, 2018 04:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Melanti wrote: "Lila wrote: " Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth: Her Stories and Hymns from Sumer arrived! ..."

Yay! Though you mentioning this reminded me I never actually returned my copy and I had to do the wa..."


Good thing it was not later!

What interested me in City of Brass was mainly the Cairo setting, although I am always very sceptical about settings in the Middle East and North Africa when the authors are not from there themselves. In this case I read the S.A. Chakraborty bio. I hope she has accurately researched Egypt as well as spent time there. She mentions things like Zar rituals ( a type of exorcism for women only where music and dancing are involved) which most Westerners don't know about. Interestingly, like Alif the Unseen author G. Willow Wilson, she is a Muslim convert. This of course does not mean that she will depict all the cultural intricacies correctly. In the case of Alif the unseen I felt she did portray the Arabian Gulf culture accurately ( from what I know of it. I have friends and family who lived in the United Arab Emirates and I myself lived in Yemen for 3 years).
Now I know from you Melanti that Wilson did NOT depict the computer internet stuff accurately, but for me, who's abilities are sending emails or going on line on groups like this, even if she would have been accurate I would not have understood it anyway. I might as well be reading fantasy fiction!
Anyway I hope it does not turn out as you say, but if it does, well, I will be disappointed but not surprised!


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
Of my friends who have read it, 3 gave it 5 stars, 2 gave it 4 stars, and one gave it 3 and another one gave it 2. This seems like pretty good odds to me that I'll at least think it's decent.

I'm getting behind on a lot of reading, but hope to start it by the end of May. This will probably be the first one I read.


Melanie (magidow) | 61 comments I just finished it. I'm supposed to be reading another book for another group discussion (that I'm leading!), but this book arrested my attention for a while...My review is here.


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
I just started it and think it's really good so far. Glad to see you liked it too, Melanie! I liked 2/3 of the books you compare it to. :)


message 23: by Jalilah (last edited May 25, 2018 06:03PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "I just finished it. I'm supposed to be reading another book for another group discussion (that I'm leading!), but this book arrested my attention for a while...My review is here."

Margaret wrote: "I just started it and think it's really good so far. Glad to see you liked it too, Melanie! I liked 2/3 of the books you compare it to. :)"


Good to know! I am getting really excited about this one!


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
Lila wrote: "Good to know! I am getting really excited about this one! "

So far I think you'll like it, Lila. Cairo seems well drawn, and I've just now started exploring a djinn city.


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
So what started out as an enjoyable read became sort of boring to me, and I stopped reading halfway through. It's odd, because while the djinn city obviously has lots of magic, it just never felt particularly magical. I don't know if that makes sense.

Melanti, you're predictions are for the most part spot on.


message 26: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "Melanti, you're predictions are for the most part spot on. ..."

Glad I didn't spend money on it then!


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Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments I'm wondering how City of Brass compares to Rebel of the Sands and Alif the Unseen. Anyone here read both of those and City of Brass?

Margaret, you mention the djinn city and I wonder if it would hold up to the Empty Quarter from Alif the Unseen, which I would love to see all on its own in a separate book.

I can't decide whether or not to read City of Brass... but I'm getting really good at DNFing anything that doesn't WOW me (after a certain number of pages), so maybe I'll give City of Brass a whirl, just in case. LOL


Melanie (magidow) | 61 comments I’d give it a try - I liked it and Alif the Unseen


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
So, hmm. There are certainly similarities between Brass and Alif, like the Djinn City in parallel with the human city. But there's actually very little that takes place in Cairo. Mostly, it's in the djinn city and in traveling (I only read the first half, mind). It's also historical fantasy vs. contemporary. The tones are different too. Brass is almost YA in tone. The djinn city reads like Renaissance politics to me. Not very similar to Alif, but the djinn are very capricious, which does remind me of Alif.

I don't know if that helps! I say give it a go, and stop if you don't like it.


Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "I’d give it a try - I liked it and Alif the Unseen"

I got my copy today and will be starting tonight hopefully!
In the past I've really liked other books that you suggested!


message 31: by Jalilah (last edited Jun 16, 2018 02:43PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Leah wrote: "I'm wondering how City of Brass compares to Rebel of the Sands and Alif the Unseen. Anyone here read both of those and City of Brass?

Margaret, you mention the djin..."



Leah, I started this morning and am liking it very much! It's too early on to say more. Perhaps it's the type of book that one would appreciate more if one is familiar with the area and the culture? I don't know!


Melanie (magidow) | 61 comments Enjoy :)


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
I enjoyed the beginning.


Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "I enjoyed the beginning."
I see what you mean. The Djinn city is very different than the one in Alif the Unseen. More like a human city in a epic fantasy novel. We'll see!


Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "So, hmm. There are certainly similarities between Brass and Alif, like the Djinn City in parallel with the human city. But there's actually very little that takes place in Cairo. "The djinn city reads like Renaissance politics to me. Not very similar to Alif, but the djinn are very capricious, which does remind me of Alif.

The Djinn city part is boring because exactly that as you say, it reminds me of Renaissance politics!
The Cairo part was great and I even like the part with Nahri and the Djinn. It does not seem to be at all a romance and certainly not a teen romance. What is off putting for me is the Djinn city is exactly like the kind of epic fantasy I can't stand!
I wish the author would have kept the story mostly in Cairo and between Nahri and the Djinn!


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
Lila wrote: "It does not seem to be at all a romance and certainly not a teen romance.."

Give it a bit, though I'm not anti-romance. That part didn't bother me so much.


Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "Enjoy :)"

If I don't end up liking it it will be cause I don't enjoy fantasy set in another world where I have to learn lots of names of different groups and places. ( There is another name for this type which I can't recall at the moment) I prefer books that take place in our world where the magic is hidden at first or where the two worlds meet. For some reason I don't mind learning a lot of new information names etc. in historical fiction.
My reading tastes are not logical!

Margaret wrote: "Lila wrote: "It does not seem to be at all a romance and certainly not a teen romance.."

Give it a bit, though I'm not anti-romance. That part didn't bother me so much."


Yeah I can now see where that might go and it doesn't bother me either.


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
Lila wrote: "If I don't end up liking it it will be cause I don't enjoy fantasy set in another world where I have to learn lots of names of different groups and places. ( There is another name for this type which I can't recall at the moment)"

Secondary world fantasy.


Annette | 266 comments I enjoyed City of Brass. I’m looking forward to finishing the trilogy — when I can find the time.


Melanie (magidow) | 61 comments Me too - as it's available.


Annette | 266 comments Yes, I realized after I wrote that that the rest of the books aren’t out yet.


message 42: by Margaret (new) - added it

Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
I hate it when that happens. But then, I also like reading new books, so it happens all too often.


message 43: by Jalilah (last edited Jun 22, 2018 12:41PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Annette wrote: "I enjoyed City of Brass. I’m looking forward to finishing the trilogy — when I can find the time."

I have not had much time to read and am halfway though. Now that the two stories have merged and I got over the disappointment that very little happens in Cairo, I am liking it more.


Melanie (magidow) | 61 comments Maybe there will be more Cairo in a future book...


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
It sounds like you're about where I quit, Lila. I'm interesting in knowing what happens in the end, though. Ha! So I hope people hop over to the spoiler thread.


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Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
The author shared some recs on Tor.com -- "Five Books That Take You Beyond One Thousand and One Nights." I've never read any of these! Has anyone here?

https://www.tor.com/2018/07/06/five-b...


Melanie (magidow) | 61 comments I've read 2: Mahfouz's Arabian Nights and Days and Kruk's Warrior Women of Islam. The other 3 are on my to-read list.

More accurately, I started the Mahfouz book and didn't finish it. Didn't enjoy it. For me, his wide ranging literary career is hit-or-miss. Too much variety for me to find all of it interesting.

Kruk's book I use all the time as a reference since I'm in the process of translating Sirat al-Amira Dhat al-Himma (she summarizes parts of it in her book).


message 48: by Margaret (new) - added it

Margaret | 3763 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "Kruk's book I use all the time as a reference since I'm in the process of translating Sirat al-Amira Dhat al-Himma (she summarizes parts of it in her book). "

That's amazing! What's the hardest part of translating epics like that? I'm unfamiliar with the Sirat; I just looked it up.

I'm going to add the Kruk to my TBR. My library doesn't have it, but I may request it.


Melanie (magidow) | 61 comments The hardest part...hmm...One challenge is finding the right venue / readership! Most readers and publishers focus on contemporary prose and poetry. The other big challenge is that this is the longest extant Arabic epic (7 volumes), so it's a lot to wade through. I've been working with it on and off for over a decade now!


Jalilah | 4533 comments Mod
Margaret wrote: "Melanie wrote: "Kruk's book I use all the time as a reference since I'm in the process of translating Sirat al-Amira Dhat al-Himma (she summarizes parts of it in her book). "

That's amazing! What'..."


Melanie wrote: "I've read 2: Mahfouz's Arabian Nights and Days and Kruk's Warrior Women of Islam. The other 3 are on my to-read list.

More accurately, I started the Mahfouz book and didn't finish it. Didn't enjoy..."


One of the things I really liked about A Hundred and One Nights was all the warrior women!
I agree with Melanie about Arabian Nights and Days. I did finish it, but it was not my favourite of Mahfouz.. I prefer his historical fiction. My favourite is the Cairo Trilogy.

That's for this link Margaret! I've added the other books to my to read list!

Melanie, I'd never heard of Sirat al Amira either! I will buy and read read your translation once it comes out!


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