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The Kingdom of Copper: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) Hardcover – January 22, 2019
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From the Publisher
“Chakraborty plunges right back into the action set up in The City of Brass [...] This intriguing fantasy series appears to be well on its way to an exciting conclusion.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“With gorgeous world building, compelling characters, and clashing schemes, the second in Chakraborty’s Daevabad trilogy will thrill her many fans.” (Booklist (starred review))
“With a richly immersive setting and featuring complex familial, religious, and racial ties and divides, Chakraborty’s second book in the trilogy wraps readers in a lush and magical story that takes over all the senses.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“No series since George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire has quite captured both palace intrigue and the way that tribal infighting and war hurt the vulnerable the most.” (Paste Magazine)
“Chakraborty manages what many epic fantasy writers have never achieved: a world where everyone can see themselves not only mirrored, but powerful.” (New York Journal of Books)
“[The Kingdom of Copper] is epic fantasy that is shrunk to the perspective of the individual. If you’re looking for a compelling, heart-rending drama that just happens to also be one of the most thought-provoking epic fantasies to come out in a long time, look no further.” (BookPage)
“It was a treat to return to Chakraborty’s richly drawn world. [...] engaging, satisfying, and left me looking forward to what comes next.” (The Speculative Shelf)
From the Back Cover
S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass—“the best adult fantasy I’ve read since The Name of the Wind” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir)—conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked away 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 a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. 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 and adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he must rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he risks unearthing 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 a great celebration, 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 caught between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
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*POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*
First off, the pacing is slow. I mean, REALLY slow. The action doesn't happen until the last four or five chapters--chapters which, by the way, are the only reason I'll probably stick around for the third book--and most of the rest of the story is centered around city politics and public works. If you found the political issues in the last book to be a turn-off, you're not going to like this one. It took me nearly a week to finish because I kept getting so bored by what was [not] happening in the story.
Then there is Ali. I am so sick of this character, people. I groaned through almost all his chapters in the last book but stuck it out because I was so enamored of Nahri and Dara and I wanted to get to their chapters quickly. In Kingdom of Copper, Ali's character actually shows a lot of personal growth, but at the bottom of it all he's still annoying and impulsive and so, so mind-bendingly naive. I haven't rolled my eyes this much in a long time.
Why is he being set up as a love interest for Nahri? I got a whiff of it during the last book and was hoping it would go away, but no. NAHRI AND ALI ARE NOT RIGHT FOR EACH OTHER. She is so much more mature and intelligent than he is, and half the time Ali is such a child that their relationship comes off as more brother/sister to me than her relationship with Jamshid! There is no chemistry there, so the idea that he's the third person in what is now shaping up to be a love triangle is ridiculous. Even Muntadhir is more believable as a rival to Dara for Nahri's affections, and Muntadhir is in love with another man!
And the story was just so BLEAK. I counted maybe two or three moments of pure, sustained joy in the whole thing. The rest was just people being horrible to one another over and over in a struggle for power. I get that there's effectively a war going on in Daevabad the whole time, but if you want to engage readers you HAVE to give us a little something. Every single victory for the good guys was followed up directly by something crappy, or some limitation on what little happiness or progress my favorite characters had made. It was suffocating.
Speaking of suffocating, wtf is going to happen with Dara's storyline? To me it feels like Chakraborty is leaning toward throwing Nahri and Ali together in the end despite their having no spark together, and then Dara flies off into the wind on his own, where he can be happy blowing sand around the desert or something? My heart hurt for him throughout this whole thing; it's very difficult for me to believe that in all the years he'd been alive, he couldn't have recognized Manizheh's real motives when she set him free? Really? REALLY? 1500 years and he can't see through some very obvious ethnic cleansing bullsh*t THAT HE HAS BEEN THROUGH EXACTLY BEFORE? Watching him continue to be tortured after all he's been through already--and then having Nahri turn against him on top of that, made me want to throw the book in the trash.
Bottom line: as I mentioned, the last few chapters are top-notch in terms of pacing and action. I even liked Ali a little bit, and Nahri uses her Cairo con skills to good advantage. (Dara may also have finally grown a pair, but I'm not holding my breath on that.) It's worth noting that most of the reason I am so angry at this book is that the first book made me fall deeply in love with the characters, and I hate how the author did them so dirty here. I'm not giving up on the series, but I'm praying this storyline isn't going to end the way I think it is based on what I've inferred from reading Book 2.
What I can tell you is that the characters you loved from the first book, for the most part, continue to earn your affection in this one. The true villains become greater monsters than any Scourge, ifrit or marid. And we have three central figures whose hearts and minds continue to be gradually changed by each other, who learn to question deeply what loyalty, friendship, affection, and love really mean. However...
While I loved this book as much as the first, I do have one warning for those who truly hate cliffhangers- unfortunately this book ends on a *tremendous* cliffhanger (much, much more so than in the first book) and will leave us waiting for its resolution another year.
I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from Harper Voyager via Edelweiss, along with a paper review copy, in exchange for an honest review.
Five years after the events of The City of Brass, and Daevabad is in trouble. The shafit, those with human ancestry, are being treated worse than ever, and tensions between all major fractions are high. Plus, the city’s facing intense economic issues. Nahri’s now married to Muntadhir and living a highly constrained life, as her father-in-law barely ever allows her to leave the palace. Ali’s survived assassination attempts and has made a life for himself in a small, backwater village where his powers over water left to him by the marid possession of the previous book can mean life or death in the desert. Meanwhile… Dara’s back. He’s somehow been raised from the dead, and furthermore, restored to what the djinn were before Solomon’s Seal. And he’s not the only one who’s unexpectedly alive — so is Nahri’s mother, and she’s planning to reconquer Daevabad, no matter what cost.
I apologize for this, but I desperately need to get it out of my system — I hate Dara so much. So so much. When I saw he was back in Kingdom of Copper, I was like “urghhhh WHY.” I find Dara to be the possessive, alpha-male-character type who has all sorts of warning signs for abusive relationships and chockful of toxic masculinity. Also, he’s a literal war criminal, just throwing that out there. Frankly, he’s just the worst. But here’s the thing: the narrative knows Dara’s borderline abusive. While the narrative might have some sympathy for the horrible things that have happened to Dara, it doesn’t let them excuse the horrible things he’s done. I’m all here for stories holding shitty men accountable. But although this is my reading on Dara, a quick scan through Goodreads reviews reveals that I’m practically alone. Apparently, a lot of other reviewers really love Dara (this sometimes involves gushing about how “broody” he is)? And ship him with Nahri??? As much as I hate this, I guess it makes sense. So many stories treat abusive behavior as romantic (shout out to Naomi Novik’s Uprooted), so what I read as a deconstruction, other people might be reading as straight romantic. I guess it’s kind of like the Star Wars fans who ship Rey and Kylo. Yes, I did just call Nahri/Dara shippers equivalent to Reylo shippers. And I’ll stand by it.
Now that I’ve finished yelling about how we shouldn’t romanticize dudes down with genocide, let’s move on to another topic: just how freaking good The Kingdom of Copper is. I adored The Kingdom of Copper. I did not want to put this book down. Do you know how much self-control it took to put the book down to go to sleep or go to class??? So much. Also, I legit avoided people before class so they wouldn’t try to talk to me and interrupt my reading. I had to find out what happened! The plotting is just so exciting because you’ve got these multiple strands that are obviously all converging in the worst possible ways for our protagonists. It’s delightful.
The beginning of The Kingdom of Copper was a bit hard for me because I could remember so little from the first book. Mostly what tripped me up was remembering all the different divisions within Daevabad, but I figured it out eventually and was able to become really immersed from there.
Otherwise, what I loved about The Kingdom of Copper was also present in the first book: superb world-building, excellent writing, and characters I quickly grew attached to. Weirdly enough, I kind of like the idea of Nahri and Ali as a couple? That’s super unusual for me. I’m mostly more into fictional friendships than romantic relationships. I think it’s the whole Chaotic Good/Lawful Good dynamic they’ve got going.
Before I wrap up this review, let’s talk about queerness in The Kingdom of Copper! This series does acknowledge queer people exist and actually has two queer male characters who are in love with each other. One of whom is Muntadhir, Nahri’s husband. I was seriously scared that one of the two would die (this was a big fear in the first book too), and I am really hoping this series doesn’t involve queer tragedy. Spoiler: [( We keep almost getting a queer tragedy. Both with the ending of the last book, and some stuff in this one. Muntadhir was about to be fatally poisoned but got saved at the last minute. I really don’t know how I feel about how the narrative keeps edging up to queer tragedy because it stresses me out. ) (hide spoiler)] On another point, I think Muntadhir may fall into the promiscuous bisexual stereotype. I guess my verdict on queer rep in this series would be that it’s not terrible but also not super great.
I’m really thankful I got the chance to read an ARC of The Kingdom of Copper (thanks specifically to Pam Jaffee at HarperCollins), and I can’t wait to read the third and final book in the trilogy. This is not a series you want to miss, and I highly recommend it!
I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.
Top international reviews
The "City of Brass" story was a lot better
e.g. I do not recollect coming across any any kingdoms of copper in this book
Some thoughts - own knowledge plus WIKIPEDIA and other open sources:-
Qahtani - Arabs who originate from the southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, especially from Yemen
is this a corruption of qatt hani, never merciful;
ta qattani - a thug, vicious person:- of those who cut;
Afrit (ifrit afreet) - fast desert (dust) devils - powerful demons or giants often synonymous with
"marid" - archaic sick (adjective) - a person who who is sick - but also malevolent beings in Arabic mythology .
i.e. ifrit and marid are indistinguishable in Arabic mythology
Ghoul - ghul - a diabolic class of jinn with donkey's hooves, offspring of the prince of darkness, said to occupy burial grounds and deserted places
Sahrahn Somali good spirits - but ships of the desert are CAMELS, single humped dromedaries which crossed the SAHARA (and Bactrian two-humped camels - see below "Tukharistan" )
Daeva - Zoroastrian powerful demons
Tukharistan means the land of Tukharas - Bactria (the two humped Bactrian camel)
Agnivanshi.. those claiming descent from the Vedic fire god
Afshin - a common Persian name - also "the princely title of the rulers of Osrushana or Ustrushana (Istarawshan)at the time of the Muslim conquest"
Nahid - female name - Persian "Venus" (planet), Arabic 'young and beautiful'
SHAFIT one of the 4 juridical Sunni schools - part of Sharia - Muslim law
geziri - island dwellers - but Ǧazīrat al-ʿArab - the island of the Arabs is the Arabian peninsula, - al Jazeera is also a news sender in Qatar and Algiers - is Al-Jazāʾir "the islands".
Cairo, el qahira[h] (the strong/powerful/vanquisher), Umm al dunja (mother of the world) , Masr (Egypt) -
The city of brass... a story from the Scheherzade... a.k.a. the thousand and one nights.
All by a NewYork woman whose surname means "ruler of the country/emperor" but does not seem to have intimate contact with Saracen or middle East Saudi Arabian/Algerian language... hotch potch mumbo jumbo for USA consumption
If you follow me on my social media then you know how much and how often I fangirl about the first book. I love everything about it, from the characters to the phenomenal world building to the insane plot twists! So I was really nervous about picking up The Kingdom of Copper as I didn’t want to be disappointed. But damn, this book is as amazing as the first and I know I’m going to be rereading both books again and again this year. I just can’t get enough!
Shannon’s writing is amazing and will keep you hooked, wanting to read just one more chapter until you end up staying up all night reading. I literally had to force myself to stop reading and go to bed and even though I actually read the book in January I am still thinking about it a month later. It is intense and so much happens right from the beginning. There’s plenty of political intrigue which I love seeing as it really built up the tension. There are again lots of characters, including Ali’s mum, Hatset and Ali’s new friends. I loved them so much! I really enjoy seeing lots of different characters included in the story as you really get a feel of what it is like living in Daevabad from so many different perspectives. Every character is written so well, even characters we only see for a short period of time, they all have their own secrets, there’s double-crosses and ulterior motives and you can’t trust anyone!
Of course, Ali is my favourite, he’s my cinnamon roll and I will protect him at all costs! He has to deal with his new abilities, thanks to the marid, and spending everyday looking over his shoulder because he was exiled and so as an ex-prince is constantly having to deal with assassins who would love to kill him for the Daevas. But because of his new abilities he has become a valuable member of the geziri tribe out in the desert because of his ability to find water so they protect him. I loved how passionate he is about trying to bring justice to the oppressed shafits but I wish he could learn to be more diplomatic. Shannon is out to destroy my heart with the amount of suffering she puts Alizayd through.
“Alizayd al Qahtani didn’t make it a month with his caravan.”
Let me tell you how much of a badass Nahri is, she has had to live in a very difficult situation, married to someone who she does not wish to be with and she can’t even leave the palace without being punished. Yet she still remains hopeful and does everything within her power to help her people and even try to change their minds about prejudices against the shafits. She decides to build a hospital and employ shafit healers with the help of Alizayd. And she has to battle the king to ensure this happens. She is smart and resourceful and resilient. And she doesn’t back down when the king tries to assert her power. Gahh! I love her so much!
“I need to put some men in their place”
Dara also had a few chapters from his point of view and well, I still don’t like him. Although it will be interesting to see what he does in the next book because of everything that happens at the end of this one. I am also looking forward to seeing more of Fatima, we did see more of her in this book and I really liked her in this. Much more than I did in The City of Brass.
Okay so I could go on forever about how much I love this book and this trilogy, so I’m just going to say that you all need to go read this book! And when you’ve read it, I shall be ready and waiting to fangirl with you!
I enjoyed The Kingdom of Copper even more than I enjoyed The City of Brass. Chakraborty’s world-building is fantastic, and she writes political intrigue so well that it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if she were to reveal she grew up in a fantastical royal court herself.
This book picks up around five years after the events of The City of Brass, and Nahri, who’s been trying to survive amidst her enemies at Daevabad’s royal court as the wife of the future king, finds herself having to work with Ali again, now her brother-in-law, when he returns from banishment. The two of them are trying to stop Daevabad from tearing itself apart when there are so many different races and religions constantly at war with another, often at the expense of the most vulnerable people in the city.
Ultimately, this book asks the question: is Daevabad even worth saving? Can any city recover when its entire history is layer after layer of one faction of djinn oppressing the others?
What I love about this series is that Chakraborty doesn’t let anyone, or anyone’s beliefs, be wholly good or wholly bad. Everyone, even the protagonists, get called out on their attitudes and beliefs, and it makes for an incredibly believable historical fantasy where the stakes feel real.
I still absolutely adore Ali. He’s still my favourite character in this series, and possibly one of my favourite characters in fantasy. He’s not at all perfect – like a lot of the other djinn, he has prejudices that he needs to overcome – but his struggle between doing what his family wants vs. doing what he believes to be right and just is the kind of story arc I love to follow. His relationship with his siblings is wonderful, it was great to see more of Zaynab in this book and their mother who is a boss, and I love his friendship with new characters Lubayd and Aqisa.
Aqisa, in particular, is someone I’d like to see a lot more of. I love her. We also meet shafit doctor Subha Sen, and I hope we see a lot more of her in the next book, too.
I’m pleased to say Nahri and Dara grew on me a lot more in this book. I still don’t know that I’ve quite ‘got’ Nahri; I’m always waiting for her to be the con artist I was promised in the blurb of The City of Brass, and while we certainly see her being a lot sneakier in this book I still find it difficult to match up Nahri the con artist with Nahri the doctor. Unlike The City of Brass, though, I could believe Nahri’s desire to be a doctor a lot more in this book, and she had a lot of moments that made me cheer for her.
Dara, on the other hand, I think is a great character. I still don’t like him, though, and I find it odd that so many people ship him with Nahri. He was disgusted with his attraction to her when he believed she was a shafit, and I have no interest in shipping a romantic couple where one half believes the other to be genetically lesser. Ew.
In this book I certainly understood Dara more, I even felt sorry for him at times, but I didn’t like him. I don’t know if we’re supposed to, I think the beauty of this series is that Chakraborty leaves that up to us, but whenever Dara’s on the page I feel like I’m watching him make the same mistakes over and over and over again and never learning from them, and it’s frustrating. Especially when he starts pulling out his ‘woe is me’ card.
That said, I’m not a fan of the potential budding romance between Ali and Nahri either. Considering Nahri has been used and abused by the djinn ever since she summoned Dara in the first book, I’d love to see her end this series single. I don’t want her to be lonely, but I love her and Ali’s friendship and I really hope their relationship doesn’t take a romantic turn in the next book. Let women and men just be friends, please.
Whatever happens in the next book, I can’t wait to read it. The ending of The Kingdom of Copper was nothing short of explosive, and I was so enamoured by the last few chapters that I very nearly missed my stop on the bus home from work. It’s lush, complex fantasy, and I loved it.
Man, I think I'm still angry and disappointed by how this all turned out.
First of all, why jump five years into the future, where nothing is okay? Second of all, if the author felt the need for three POVs - take a wild guess which those are - why couldn't she shorten it all? Because, let me tell you, for about 400 pages - FOUR HUNDRED PAGES - not much happens. It was like watching a soap opera, where the author felt the need to write down every tiny detail that happened. I hate that, I hate that it was so slow and I was just, whatever, moving along. That wasn't the case with CoB. I reread it before jumping into this one and I loved it even more, the second time around. But this one lacked the magic the first one had. Obviously, there were things and characters I loved, as well. It wasn't ALL bad.
But the huge bone I have to pick with the author is how she demonized Dara. Okay, cat's out of the bag. He's brought back - again - and used as a pawn. I absolutely hated it and I just know nothing good will come of it and the poor bastard is just a victim. A slave to do the bidding of his masters and an Afshin to do the bidding of the Nahids. Okay, so he has his flaws, what with being a tiny bit racist.
Of course that everything happened in the last two hundred pages and we're left hanging again. Can't say it was as bad as I was expecting, as bad a cliffhanger as others were making it out to be, but it did make me curious to read book three, even though I doubt it's going to redeem the trilogy for me. It just reminded me why I mostly like reading standalone novels.
3 - 3.5 stars. Read it at your own risk.
Speculative fiction is too often set amongst western traditions, making Daevabad exotic and fresh, highly recommended.
This is also not a good jumping on point. New readers should start with book one 'City of Brass.'
Regular ones, read on.
This volume runs for 609 pages of story. It has a prologue. Epilogue. And forty one chapters in between. Being a trilogy means it thus ends on a fairly big cliffhanger for the final book to resolve.
There are some maps of the settings at the start, and the back of the book contains a cast of characters and a glossary of quite a few things.
It does have a couple of bits of strong language, and some mild adult moments.
The chapters use one of three viewpoint characters. Nahri. Ali. Or Dara.
Picking up from the end of the last book, Nahri is getting used to her new life. And finds a goal which she strives to make happen.
Ali is exiled, and trying to get by and come to terms with his abilities. But then is thrust into a situation he didn't expect.
And Dara has plans. Which will effect many.
Their lives are going to change once again...
This is supremely readable, although it is best to take it slowly and savour things to take in the detail and the prose. It's superbly character driven, and it does know where it is going right from the off.
But it is just not quite five stars because it's very much a middle book in a series. Which means it does take a while to get to where it wants to be, and for things to come together.
But your patience is rewarded with that, as things really do get going superbly and quite grippingly in the last hundred pages. And it will leave you desperate to see what happens next.
Roll on book three. Which is due out next year - at the time of writing. A very good entry in a very good series, though, and well worth a look.
10/10- a truly fantastic world, storyline, characters... Only downside is waiting for the third book (and that the third will be the last).
This one though... this is incredible, my heart nearly couldn't stand it, I had to keep taking pauses to regroup (and admire). The characters are *real*. The politics is almost far too close to home with divisions and discord that make sense, it's all too awful and all too easy to understand. You get where each character is coming from and really get their motivations.
I need the third book now... but this means I'll get the joy of re-reading these two again soon.
Amazing work of art made out of human failings and prejudices. Read them now!
Nahri grew so much over this book and it's amazing, she was by no means a weak character before, but it was clear she was slightly out of her depth once she arrived at Daevabad. But she has found her feet now! The characters are all so gloriously twisted and wonderful, that you often can understand why the 'villain' is doing that rather extreme terrible action, while understanding the otherside and their anger. The world and history weaved throughout is brilliant.
I will never not love this book!