The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty

EmpireMy Five Word TL:DR Review : Will it all work out?

You’ll just have to read it and find out!

Okay, first things first.  Empire of Gold is the third and final instalment in the Daevabad Trilogy.  Let me be absolutely clear, this is not a series where you want to jump in mid series and for sure you cannot read The Empire of Gold without having read the first two instalments.  This series has plenty of lush worldbuilding, lots of history and plenty of well drawn characters.  The inspiration and motivation is palpable and you will miss out on a veritable wealth of goodness if you try to jump on board at this point – well, at best you’ll miss out – at worst you’ll be in a positive world of hurt with absolutely no idea what’s going on.  Don’t say you weren’t warned.

So, this isn’t an easy review to write being the final in the series.  I seriously don’t want to give away any spoilers so I’m just going to chuck a few random thoughts and feelings around and let them land where they may.

At the end of book 2 I was quite literally gobsmacked.  You could have knocked me over with a feather with that ending.  I had no idea how this was going to go, in fact I just couldn’t see how the author was going to get out of the hole this one found itself in.  But, I think I can safely say this ending managed to blow me away.

Still in Daevaba Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and Dara are trying to recover from the outcome of No.2.  They’re trying to rally, magic has vanished although certain parties still have power.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (aka Cairo) Ali and Nairi are also trying to regroup.  Both of them are struggling but they mind to find help in an old ally and in fact there is almost a rosy future for them should they choose to take that path.  The choices.  Stay in Cairo, learn how to make a living as an apothecary, enjoy life, become a couple, live happily ever after, or return to Daevabad and live under the tyrant who is now in control and who has made such despicable choices.  Now, let me think?  Peace, happiness and love or death and destruction.  Well, obviously this would be a much shorter book if they took the easy route wouldn’t it?

Characters.  Well, everyone is back in force and then some and I’m pleased to say that the character growth is great.  These are such great characters because they’re not simply good or bad.  Who is after all?  They’ve made mistakes – some of them are very big, huge, bloopers.  But, some of them are trying to work through these and make reparations of sorts.  Some are bitter.  Some are guilty.  You get the picture I’m sure.

World building.  I loved this world.  I love the juxtaposition between the everyday world sitting alongside the magical and mythical Daevabad.  The thing is, both have their pluses, both have their minuses and it gives a new meaning ‘to the grass always being greener’ – because maybe it isn’t.  You cross over from one to the other and still life goes on.  People live, people die, people fight and people love. But, I do love the way this author manages to conjure a sense of place whether you’re in the mundane or the magical.

In terms of criticisms.  I don’t really have anything, I think this maybe could have been a bit drawn out in places, but I can’t say that made me hesitant to continue reading and I love the way that one of these storylines could lead to something quite different if the author chose to go in that direction.

Overall, this was a very satisfying ending.  If pushed I would say that the middle book was probably my favourite (what middle book syndrome?) but this is an ending that I simply couldn’t foresee.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

Friday Face Off : ‘That which yields, is not always weak”

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Exotic – ‘That which yields, is not always weak”– anything that represents something from distant lands.

A lot of the new themes are open to interpretation which might make choosing the covers and seeing other’s choices very interesting.  I can’t stress enough that this is all about your own interpretation and hopefully this new open feel to the meme will bring a larger selection of books and covers.  It’s not supposed to be hard work, there are no rules, just enjoy yourself.

I’m not sure what I had in mind for this week’s theme but sitting here and thinking about it ‘exotic’ means something from a far or distant land therefore, strictly speaking, where I come from, the North of the UK is exotic to somebody from the other side of the world (funny but you never think of your own place as being exotic)? And, therefore, given that I predominantly read fantasy books – all the locations are exotic!  But, that being said, and because I’m a northern lass, I tend to think of somewhere exotic as being somewhere warm – probably because I’d like a bit of that lovely sunshine.  So, this week I’ve gone for The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty and I’m highlighting two complete sets:

vs

At first I was convinced that the topset was my favourite.  I love the way the covers are framed by that, is it a door or a window?  I’m not sure, but I love the idea and the notion of it opening into a world that’s completely unique and one that I’m eager to explore.

But, seeing the second set all together like this, the colours are so vibrant – I would definitely be drawn to this set of covers.  The fantastic details and the consistency.

Basically, I’m torn, but having given it a lot of thought I’m going with the first set.  And this is based purely on the fact that the colours feel to me to be in the right order.  I know, that probably sounds really odd but it makes sense to me.  I feel like the middle cover of the second set should be green and I’m basing that on very little – other than copper usually becomes green with age – it’s a strange line of reasoning but there it is and I can’t get my head around it.

Which is your favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know 😀

Next week –  Brown

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

2019

20th March – Brown – a cover or covers that are brown

27th March – Freebie – choose one of your favourite covers

3rd April Fools – a trick of the eye – a cover that is more than meets the eye.

10th April – Moody – a cover that is atmospheric,

17th April – out of focus – double vision or all a blur

24th April – Armour – ‘“Pretty armour doesn’t make a warrior.”

1st May – Canine – “And then there were cats, thought Dog.:

8th May – graphic novel cover – “Love belongs to Desire, and Desire is always cruel”

15th May – pink – as pink as cotton candy – any cover that is pink

22nd May – Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty.

EmpireofThe final chapter in the bestselling, critically acclaimed Daevabad Trilogy, in which a con-woman and an idealistic djinn prince join forces to save a magical kingdom from a devastating civil war.

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

Expected publication: February 2020

The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S.A. Chakraborty

The Kingdom of Copper is the second instalment in the Daevabad Trilogy and is a sequel that surpassed my expectations.  I enjoyed The City of Brass, it made a great start and definitely hooked me but Kingdom of Copper took any little issues I had, threw them out the window and really blasted me away.

If you haven’t yet started this series then please be aware that spoilers may be contained below.

The story picks up almost where City of Brass left off.  Ali has been exiled by his father, basically a death sentence, he will either die in the desert or at the hands of one of the many assassins who will try to take his life now he no longer enjoys the protection of his family.  Nahri has married Ali’s brother Muntadhir, it’s not a marriage made in heaven but it keeps her alive, even if her life is constantly under surveillance.

We then jump forward five years.  In a strange twist Ali, after being taken in by the people of Bir Nabat, where his new found talents in finding water make him an absolute ‘must’ in terms of desert living, finds himself torn between wanting to settle down and not wanting to bring trouble to the people who have given him a home.  At the same time moves are afoot to lure Ali back to Daevabad.   Nahri, meanwhile, has managed to find a tentative sort of happiness.  She occasionally escapes the confines of the palace and on one such occasion she discovers an old hospital, now fallen into disrepair.  She forms a plan to rebuild the space to provide healthcare to both the Shafit and the Daeva, she just needs the blessing of her priests and the go ahead from Ghassan in order to proceed.

At the same time a rebel movement is gathering momentum.  At it’s head is Manizheh, Nahri’s mother.  She’s managed to summon help to her cause and is putting in place a terrible plan to take back the City that once belonged to her people.

These threads will all eventually come together in a breathtaking fashion.

Whilst I don’t want to give away spoilers I will say that Dara, of course, returns to the story.  Also, somewhat against his will, he finds himself called once more to duty.  I won’t say more.

Once again we find ourselves reading from the pov of Nahri, Ali and Dara.  The three stories are all easy to read and the characters themselves have grown incredibly since the first instalment.  Ali, in particular has matured and I really enjoyed his chapters and the conflict he experiences with his brother when he returns to Daevabad.  Nahri is a likable character, she wants to do something good and longs to stop the injustices and mistreatment of the Shafit.  Dara, he’s a conflicted character indeed.  On one respect I really feel sorry for him.  He has very little peace and although he’s committed some terrible atrocities he is at the end of the day a servant, a warrior without a will really, used to whatever ends his masters deem fit.  I really do feel torn about Dara.  On the one hand I want him to find the peace he seems to desire and on the other I want to shake him, shout at him or just slap him as he once again finds himself being used to commit dreadful deeds – Deja Dara.

I loved the writing here, it’s once again lush with detail and incredibly evocative.  The brightness, the exotic descriptions of the palace and it’s grounds.  The contrast with the poorer districts and the harsh living experienced by the desert people.  This is without doubt a sumptuous book and whilst this might give the pace a slower feel in the first two thirds I enjoyed the time taken to really set the scene – not just the place itself but the political maneuverings, the tight control that Ghassan wields over Daevabad, stamping on any type of rebellion with utter ruthlessness.  The tension slowly gathers, like storm clouds, until the dramatic finale explodes onto the pages.  And that ending – oh my giddy aunt!  The payoff.  The drama.  The long wait to the next book!!!

I really didn’t see any of that coming at all and I’m not only a little gobsmacked and a tad in awe but also completely thrilled about what it all means for the final instalment.  Empire of Gold get in my life.  Please.

All told, I thought this was a fantastic second book in series.  I like a book that is mature enough to take it’s time.  It’s not going to rush around willy nilly just to give you a quick thrill, it’s going to take it’s time, setting it’s stall out, drawing you in, lulling you in to believing you know what’s about to happen before pulling an absolute blinder and knocking you for six.

I have no criticisms.  I think the pace may be an issue for some readers but it wasn’t for me.  Yes, this isn’t a read that you’re going to dash through but the build up and final payload are worth the wait.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.