The Kingdom of Copper – S.A. Chakraborty

Goodreads Book Blurb:

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 family—and 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.

Series / Genres:

My Review:

solid, good read:
4/5
3.5 stars, rounded up.

The second book in this trilogy was very similar to the first; the first 75% is backstory and buildup and the last 25% on the edge of your seat action, excitement, and indecision. I remember pausing about halfway through this book, enjoying the story, but wondering what happened to the magic of the first one. But trust me, it comes back with a vengeance. It’s almost as if S.A. Chakraborty purposely holds off to reward the patient and the dedicated.

Like the first, I kept changing my mind about the characters throughout The Kingdom of Copper. Nahri is sometimes fierce and powerful, gaining knowledge and intelligence from books and the world around her, standing up for herself and those she cares for, testing her bonds and breaking them where she can. Sometimes, though, she’s selfish and obstructive, not able to see the big picture and causing problems where they could have easily been avoided. Holding grudges against actions she would have taken herself and failing to see others as anything more than what they can provide for her. Ali is similar; so sure he can decide to be one way – not cause any problems or drama – and then ten pages later breaking the promises he just made in a moment of responsive spontaneity. He’s lost some of his naivety but this hasn’t tampered with his view on how the world should be, instead, it’s made him start to realise what needs to be done to actually see this better world that he believes should exist. His inability to see past his immediate actions into the future reactions they cause is so incredibly frustrating sometimes, but other times this exact trait allows him to do the right thing and have it actually work out for the best.

Dara is the only one I pretty consistently didn’t like this time around. He continues to follow orders he doesn’t believe in and pushes forward a future that looks strikingly like his past. He knows what he’s doing won’t end the tyranny that he is against but he continues along anyway. I think I’d like him better if he was more extreme either way. If he actually believed in what he was doing then his actions would at least be logical, even if he’s not totally likeable. Or if he actually decided to stand up against his oppressors and follow his conscience he’d definitely be more likeable.

I always get sucked into this depth of character black hole when I start talking about them in this trilogy. They’re multifaceted and interesting and I could honestly probably write a whole novel just on my feelings about every main and sub-character here. So while I will apologise for this block of text, trust me, it could’ve been so much longer.

I have high hopes for The Empire of Gold. I’m hoping for less backstory and buildup this time, considering the ending of The Kingdom of Copper and the fact that it’s the third and last book in this series. There’s a lot to tie up here and a lot of characters to follow through so I’m hoping they get the ending they deserve.

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