reviewed The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty (The Deavabad Trilogy, #1)

S. A. Chakraborty: The City of Brass (Paperback, 2018, Harper Voyager) 4 stars

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th …

Review of the Whole Series

5 stars

Having finished the series, I felt I was time to add a review. On the occasion I find myself interested in someone's take on an entire series before I commit, I'm often disappointed to not find a condensed review, so I though I'd try and provide that in the hope it helps someone.

I came to the series wanting more from the author, having finished The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi. I was drawn to the strong female and queer representation in a time and place where this is uncommon.

This series was a rollercoaster, I went from hating it to loving it almost as much as I cycled between those feelings for every main character. It took me a long time to realize how masterful the writing was to be able to add such nuance to the characters, their flaws and virtues filling a vessel that is far more than the sum of its parts. It takes a complex web of political intrigue and injects compassion into the brutal reality and it brings light to those that suffer most from the squabbles of the powerful. There is no true villain or hero to this story, just people on various stages of their life's path, trying to dig themselves out from the oppressive weight of their positions, the social expectations, and their ancestral legacy.

The pacing was questionable based on my own preferences at times, yet with the context of the whole I think it was satisfying. The lulls served as vignettes to deepen and enrich the characters and the world. It provided a sense of place that would have been lost in a high octane page turner. Even the companion stories in the fourth book add significant depth, though many of them are skippable if the main books weren't a hit for you. The main exceptions being by the alternate prologue and last story of the collection, which I vastly preferred over the prologue in the final book.

I recommend the whole series to those that like fantasy mixed with political intrigue, especially with a strong female voice.