*There maybe a few spoilers but I’ll keep it to a minimum*
So first thing’s first. I am ashamed to admit that these are the first books I’ve read that are based in the Middle East and Egypt. Most of the books I’ve read are based in the United States, or based on something like Medieval Europe, but I have by trying to read more that are based more around the world. I have read two books that were based in Africa on a fictional tribes, and I have pile of books to read that are based in Asia, mainly China, so I am trying to broaden it. But with this trilogy, it really opened my eyes up to Middle Eastern mythology, told through characters that are flawed, and overly want to do good (with a few antagnists thrown into the mix), which you want to root for, and somehow makes it you want to believe that this world exists. The trilogy follows Nahri, Dara, and Ali and is set in 18th century Egypt, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, with Nahri and Dara flying over many other countries to get to the City of Brass.
The trilogy follows Nahri, Dara, and Ali. But lets start with Nahri. She is an extremely intelligent character, who has dealt with hardships, such as being homeless and not knowing where she belongs, and she understands different languanges for unexplained reasons at the start. She is orphaned and believes her parents are dead, as she was left on the side of the Nile River, where she gets her name from. When we greet Nahri, she is an apothecary’s assistant, as she has a knack for healing and wants to help anyone who is in any sort of pain. But an unusual twist is when she sees the death of someone she knew, and started singing in a language she didn’t know the name of but felt something towards it, and Dara appeared before her like wind, who was a daeva, or djinn. (They are supernatural creatures which are genies, but sound a lot better being called daeva or djinn, in my honest opinion.) Later did Nahri find out, that she sung a summoning spell. As Nahri is unsure of her heritage and Dara is uncertain of why she can see him, he concludes that Nahri must be at least part deava, as her ears were rounded like a human’s, and not pointy like a daeva’s. She later finds out when she arrives in Daevabad along with Dara after a long few days of travelling by magic carpet, she is the last known and alive healer as her ancestors were also healers. Nahri is then given special treatment due to this, and is set to work, learning all the trade secrets of knowing how to treat daevas, djinn, and people who are mixed with human blood as well. While there she is also made to marry the Crown Prince of Daevabad, while getting closer to his brother, Prince Alizayd (also known as Ali).
Dara is a warrior daeva who is a lot older than the average daeva, as he was trapped for a long time, but he is also a slave and is unable to do the right things while he is under control. He is a protector of Nahri’s family, who the warrior daevas have a close relationship with. When he arrives in Daevabad with Nahri, everyone is surprised to see that he is still alive, and welcome him as he is considered a hero amongst the daeva. It is believed that he has managed to do his job by getting Nahri to Deavabad, it seems as if he has other motives which have been shown in the Kingdom of Cooper, which also shows that he is still enslaved. While he starts off arrogant and self absorded who loves to be worshipped when he arrives to Daevabad, as everything starts to unfold (and when Nahri can see some of his memories during their travel to the Brass City), he starts to become a more sympathetic character and the arrogant, self absorded Dara we first met was just a facade of what he was trying to hide. Throughout the books, and towards the end of the final book, the Empire of Gold, there was a major character shift in Dara’s character, into a more understandable and empathetic character, which makes you want the best for him, for all that he’s been through, as a lot of it was out of his control.
Lastly, Prince Alizayd of Daevabad, second in line for the thrown and Nahri’s brother in law. While he was a bit naive about somethings, it was clear that he wanted to do some good to his city (which his father wouldn’t approve of as the King cared more about seeing prosperity among the rich, and not really caring about the poor and those with mixed blood of daevas and humans). He tried to help with prosperity among everyone and was very got at keeping the accounts of how much money the city had. One of his early goals was to see the human world, to study the humans and to see how they lived in a world without magic, which was unusual for daevas, as they mostly couldn’t care less about the outside world. As the books progressed, he was the more responsible one out him and his brother, often undertaking the tasks that the Crown Prince should be doing, unless it was a ceremonial and public occasion, as his brother would prefer to be drunk and having a good time. Ali thought he could most of it on his own, but Nahri opened his eyes to show that he needed people to help him achieve the things that he wanted to do the most, which was to help people and see the whole city thrive.
With additional supporting characters which try their very best to block the protagonists of their goals, it was such a good, enjoyable read and very well written. I loved the character and world building of the City of Brass, which makes you want to keep on reading to find out what happens next and root for the characters. It has made me want to read more books like this that are based in the Middle East and Egypt. As I do love things based on mythology and the fantasy genre, I want to read things that are based in the Islamic culture, as this trilogy has opened my eyes to see how rich the culture actually is (which is me naive).