The City of Brass
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Length: 533 pages
***THIS BOOK WAS RECEIVED FROM A GOODREADS GIVEAWAY***
In S.A. Chakraborty’s debut novel, The City of Brass, we find some of the standard tropes that seem to be the foundation of the Young Adult genre. There are snippets of works like Harry Potter and Twilight that seem to leak through, their influences helping to shape the world that the author has created. However, while some of these tropes might be tired in any other setting, they are used to great effect here, as the author has created something grounded in culture and traditions that helps to enhance the fantasy world that lies just beyond our own.
While I did enjoy reading this book overall, there were a few weaknesses. The start of the story was action-packed and hooked me right from the get-go, but then the section leading up to the second half of the plot seemed to be bogged down with lots of exposition and world-building. It also wasn’t necessarily clear to me why the main character needed to go to the titular “City of Brass,” other than her brief hope that she’d be trained there. I also didn’t get the sense that the journey took months, as the traveling companions didn’t seem to be as exhausted from the trek as I thought they should be.
Despite this semi-minor weakness, the characters and the world were well developed and well thought out. I had to roll my eyes at the “love triangle,” mostly because it’s a cliché of the genre, but the three main characters involved in such romantic entanglements were unique and interesting individuals that made me want to keep reading. This book uses a lot of specific terminologies that took a little bit to pick up, especially from the perspective of a reader who isn’t as familiar with Middle Eastern languages. I was still able to pick it up via context, only needing the glossary at the end to confirm my suspicions.
An excellent debut that pulls from a rich and unique culture to create its fantasy, I give The City of Brass 4.0 stars out of 5.