Monday 10 June 2019

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Review: The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty (#Ad)

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

I received this eProof for free from HarperVoyager via NetGalley for the purposes of providing an honest review.

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

Published: 21st February 2019 | Publisher: HarperVoyager | Source: Publisher
S. A. Chakraborty's Website

Return to Daevabad in the spellbinding sequel to THE CITY OF BRASS.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family and one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid, the unpredictable water spirits, have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad's towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
From Goodreads

My other reviews of The Daevabad Trilogy:
The City of Brass

WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the first book in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.

Trigger Warnings: This book features prejudice and discrimination akin to racism, poisoning, discussion of self-harm, discussion of genocide, discussion of past wars, battles, and death.

I absolutely adored The City of Brass when I read it last year, and have been patiently but desperately waiting for the sequel ever since. The Kingdom of Copper was absolutely worth the wait! It was incredible, and so epic!

After a prologue that seems to be set a few months after the end of The City of Brass, the majority of The Kingdom of Copper is set five years later. Forced to do so by King Ghassan, Nahri is now married to the emir, Prince Muntadhir, and has her every move watched. If she puts even a toe out of line, Ghassan will have others punished in her stead. He rules with an iron fist, and there's very little she can do without permission. She's stuck working in the infirmary with Nisreen, her mentor, and allowed to do little else, while watching as Ghassan hurts others with his tyrannical rule, not being able to do anything to help.

Ali is in Bir Nabat, a small village in Am Gezira that took him in after he was wounded after being chased by assassins. Because of his possession by the marid, he has some residual abilities relating to water, and Bir Nabat, once a place of drought and poverty, is now thriving and green. While they may not have a lot, they have food and water. He loves his small life here, helping the village and keeping everything going, and he himself is thriving. But the schemes of others pull him back to Daevabad.

Although Dara was killed by Ali, was brought back to life (not a spoiler, we find this out in the prologue) by Manizheh, a Nahid everyone but a small number of Daeva believe dead - and Nahri's mother. Now he takes him commands from Manizheh, training former Daeva soldiers for Manizheh's plans to attack and retake Daevabad. He's really struggling with being a Nahid's Afshin again; while he believes the Nahids should rule Daevabad, and it is his purpose to obey, he's having regrets over the orders he has followed in the past, and is concerned about what he may commanded to do as Manizheh seeks revenge.

This is where everyone is when the book starts. Navasatem is coming up, a celebration to mark the turn of the century, and everyone has plans for it. Having made it back to Daevabad, Ghassan forbids Ali from leaving until after Navasatem, which is six months away. Ali takes this hard, as Bir Nabat is the only place he wants to be, his brother Muntadhir absolutely cannot stand him, and Nahri wants nothing to do with him. When Nahri discovers the existence of the ruins of a former Nahid hospital, she is desperate to see it to its former glory, to open its doors to more people, to train others as healers, and to team up with shafit - half human, half djinn - healers, to heal all - djinn and shafit alike. It seems such a small thing, but it means everything to her, and with Ghassan being Ghassan, she knows she needs help to get him to approve it, so she ropes in Ali to help with the business side of things, because he owes her. She cannot bear to be around him after he killed Dara, but bringing the hospital back to life, and trying to take a step to build peace between the Daeva and the shafit, when prejudices are still rife, and tensions at an all time high, is too important. Ali is all too keen to help, to try and fix things with Nahri, and it's actually something he's good at and believes in himself. Meanwhile, Dara is helping Manizheh with her plans, becoming more and more uneasy with what they're going to do, but, as Manizheh says, the plans will go ahead with or without him, but without him, those they care about are more likely to die.

And I can't say much more. While I was thoroughly enjoying reading The Kingdom of Copper, until maybe just over half way through, I was thinking this going to be more of a "set-up" book. A book where certain things needed to happen after The City of Brass, that allowed certain events to take place in the final book. But I was completely wrong. It's more like the first half of the book is the set-up for the second half. It is slower, it's quieter, after the explosive end of The City of Brass, but it's moving pieces into place for what's to come. And it's interesting! Seeing these relationships that are nothing like they were, and seeing if gaps can be bridged, friendships repaired, or seeing other relationships disintegrate. Seeing certain characters really struggle with what is happening around them and not being able to do anything about it. Seeing loyalty become doubt. Seeing eyes open and conclusions made. The second half of this book is absolutely epic, so full of action and with so many twists, and it's incredible! But it can only happen with the quieter first half.

For me, The City of Brass was all about prejudice and discrimination. The various conflicts between tribes, the despicable ill-treatment of the Shafit. But The Kingdom of Copper is about asking what's right and what's wrong. Where The City of Brass was all loyalty to your tribe and your people, which we saw through Nahri's conversations with Ali and Dara, The Kingdom of Brass is about the very same characters asking themselves what they can abide, and what they cannot. What can be forgiven, and what cannot. It's about them seeing that, time and time again, it's been a vicious circle of violence breeding violence. It's about people not being able to stand with their family or their people, but instead standing for what is right. We see them start to see the djinn not as separate tribes, but as one people, and the Shafit not as "dirt bloods" but family - they're half djinn, after all. We see our characters really think about things, questioning what they know and all they've seen and experienced. Justice and vengeance are not the same thing, and they start to realise that things have to stop somewhere, or it will never end. Decisions are made to stop it, even if it is seen as a betrayal by their own. But while that's all well and good, there are still those with more power, who have their own ideas. And some things others put into motion that you can't stop. And when catastrophe strikes, whose side will our characters be on?

I thought the ending of The City of Brass was explosive, but mate, it's nothing compared to how The Kingdom of Copper ends. The action! The twists! The consequences! The emotion and the heartbreak! It was just mind-blowingly good. The events at the end of this book are astronomical, and no-one is going to be unchanged. I am in a place where I have absolutely no idea how things will play out in the third and final book in the trilogy, The Empire of Gold, and it's so damn exciting! But I also think it's going to be unbelievably emotional, as well as really up the ante in regards to politics and action. The Kingdom of Copper was epic, but The Empire of Gold is going to be colossal, and I absolutely cannot wait!

Thank you to HarperVoyager via NetGalley for the eProof.

You might also like:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Over to you graphic

What are your thoughts on books that go beyond the black and white of right and wrong, and justice vs. vengeance? Have you read The Kingdom of Brass? What did you think? How are you going to survive the wait until The Empire of Gold?

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