Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked 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 the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. 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 familyand one misstep will doom her tribe.
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid, the unpredictable water spirits, have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth 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 celebrations, 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 trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
*ARC received via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*
Trigger Warning // Bigotry, Violence, Human Trafficking, Slavery
Do you ever feel like you knew something and then been proved thoroughly wrong and questioned every life decision ever? Yeah… That’s this book. I thought I knew who Nahri was, who Ali was, who Dara was, who all of them were… I thought I knew what turns this story could take, but w h e w I have never been more wrong in my entire life, and never been happier to be proved wrong either!
I absolutely loved CoB (you can see my gushy review here – CoB Review) but KoC surpasses it by leaps and bounds. Such a worthy sequel to an amazing start of the trilogy. It’s so well plotted out and written, with so much character growth. It was an absolute pleasure to read. (By pleasure, I mean, it wrecked me. Completely wrecked me to my core and I love the book more for it.)
This picked up five years after CoB which was a surprise to me because I felt like we needed to start from the exact moment that CoB ended after that freaking ending. But the leap worked beautifully and did wonders for the plot and story. After reading this, I’m so glad that the time skip happened because this story is perfect the way it is.
The characters show so much growth in this one and that has my heart. The development arc for each one of them is absolutely beautiful. It’s frickin’ perfect. First, we gotta talk about my mess, Daravayahoush. Do you ever feel like hugging and hitting a person at the same time and then don’t know what to do about it? That’s basically me with Dara throughout the entire book. He made mistakes and then took decisions which were completely in character for him and made sense for him, but they were the wrong decisions to make. And yet, he only made them because he thought he was helping. HOW DO YOU EVEN DEAL? I was just torn between loving him and not liking him throughout the book. And then… there was the guilt. OH MY GOD SO MUCH GUILT. His guilt was drowning me. I think in the end, we come out with Dara deserves better in our hearts because he wants to be better, but he just never had the chance to do so.
And, Ali. Ali – freaking – Zayd. Who has grown so much since the last book that I cannot help but feel like a proud Mama Hen. He was still same old Ali with his ideals and thirst for justice, but he’d also grown up so much and he understood the world, and his father, a lot better. It helped carve him into a more layered character than he already was. The way his relationship with all his family members is highlighted in the story was such a treat to read. We see so many different shades of him as a person and it just makes you root for him more.
Of course, then there’s Queen Nahri, literal queen that she is. Her growth in this story is mind bogglingly amazing. Watching her become a confident woman from the one who always felt out of place in the first book was amazing. She’s so done (TM) with the men in this one and that’s a whole mood, tbvh. I love how she stands up for herself, for her beliefs, and for the people in front of everyone, no matter who they are. My favourite scenes in the book are the ones where she’s schooling these centuries old men one after the other. The power and confidence she exudes is beautiful to watch and just makes you stan her so hard.
Secondary characters who really shone through this book, for me, were Jamshid & Nisreen. They get so much more screen time here than they did in the previous one, and honestly, they wormed their way into my heart so quickly, especially Jamshid. That boy deserves all the love in the world. He should only have happiness and nothing else. Muntadhir was one character who gave me so much grief throughout the book, but he was also very well rounded and layered, and in the end, he did have his own redeeming qualities.
The other secondary characters were also very well woven into the story and they contributed so much to it. They all had their own motives, and their own issues, which made for great well rounded characters adding so much to the story and the plot. Amazing ensemble!
The antagonists were exceedingly well written and they could make your skin crawl, especially Manizheh. I loved how the villains also had moments of weakness. They weren’t shown to be invincible, or completely evil. They had their share of moments where they were almost humane too. Their reasons and motivations, however twisted they maybe, made sense from the word go, and never once did you feel like anything was there just for the sake of it.
The worldbuilding continued in this book, and we saw a lot of places outside Daevabad, which was amazing. We also learned more about the history of a lot of tribes. The backstory of characters was developed more. On this front, we had so many new things come to light and it changed the course the story took, which was amazingly plotted.
Of course, what takes the cake in this book is the pacing & the one million plot twists that it has. This book was so much more fast paced than the first one, and every second something kept happening to move the story forward and I was on edge the entire time. As if that wasn’t enough, plot twists were distributed like free candy throughout the book, but especially in the climax. It’s enough to leave you breathless. Absolutely amazing stuff! But nothing beats the cliffhanger this book ended on! It makes you want to pick the next book without waiting for even a moment. It’s just that good.
So, basically, overall, what I’m trying to say is, READ THIS BOOK NOW.
S. A. Chakraborty is the author of the critically acclaimed and internationally best-selling The Daevabad Trilogy. Her work has been nominated for the Locus, World Fantasy, Crawford, and Astounding awards. When not buried in books about thirteen-century con artists and Abbasid political intrigue, she enjoys hiking, knitting, and re-creating unnecessarily complicated medieval meals. You can find her online at http://www.sachakraborty.com or on Twitter and Instagram at @SAChakrabooks, where she likes to talk about history, politics, and Islamic art. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and an ever-increasing number of cats.
How wrecked are you after that ending? How excited are you for Empire of Gold?