It has an account of the launch, the construction of the cabin, descriptions of strata and many more science-like aspects. In his novel Kort verhaal van eene aanmerkelijke luchtreis en nieuwe planeetontdekking Short account of a remarkable journey into the skies and discovery of a new planet Bilderdijk tells of a European somewhat stranded in an Arabic country where he boasts he is able to build a balloon that can lift people and let them fly through the air.
The gasses used turn out to be far more powerful than expected and after a while he lands on a planet positioned between earth and moon. The writer uses the story to portray an overview of scientific knowledge concerning the moon in all sorts of aspects the traveller to that place would encounter. Quite a few similarities can be found in the story Poe published some twenty years later. John Leonard Riddell , a Professor of Chemistry in New Orleans, published the short story Orrin Lindsay's plan of aerial navigation, with a narrative of his explorations in the higher regions of the atmosphere, and his wonderful voyage round the moon!
It tells the story of the student Orrin Lindsay who invents an alloy that prevents gravitational attraction, and in a spherical craft leaves earth and travel to the moon. The story contains algebra and scientific footnotes, which makes it an early example of hard science fiction.
William Henry Rhodes published in the tale The Case of Summerfield in the Sacramento Union newspaper, and introduced weapon of mass destruction. A mad scientist and villain called Black Bart makes an attempt to blackmail the world with a powder made of potassium, able to destroy the planet by turning its waters into fire.
History of science fiction
The newspaper man Edward Page Mitchell would publish his innovative science fiction short stories in The Sun for more than a decade, except for his first story which was published in Scribner's Monthly in His stories included invisibility, faster than light travels, teleportation, time travel, cryogenics, mind transfer, mutants, cyborgs and mechanical brains. One of the most successful works of early American science fiction was the second-best selling novel in the U.
Looking Backward extrapolates a future society based on observation of the current society. In , Will Harben published "Land of the Changing Sun," a dystopian fantasy set at the center of the earth. In Harben's tale, the earth's core is populated by a scientifically advanced civilization, living beneath the glow of a mechanical sun. Written in , A Connecticut Yankee seems to predict the events of World War I, when Europe's old ideas of chivalry in warfare were shattered by new weapons and tactics. American author L. Frank Baum 's series of 14 books — based in his outlandish Land of Oz setting, contained depictions of strange weapons Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz , Glinda of Oz , mechanical men Tik-Tok of Oz and a bevy of not-yet-realized technological inventions and devices including perhaps the first literary appearance of handheld wireless communicators Tik-Tok of Oz.
Jack London wrote several science fiction stories, including " The Red One " a story involving extraterrestrials , The Iron Heel set in the future from London's point of view and " The Unparalleled Invasion " a story involving future germ warfare and ethnic cleansing. He also wrote a story about invisibility and a story about an irresistible energy weapon. These stories began to change the features of science fiction. Edward Everett Hale wrote The Brick Moon , a Verne-inspired novel notable as the first work to describe an artificial satellite.
S.A. Chakraborty Brings Middle Eastern Culture to Fantasy in 'The City of Brass'
Written in much the same style as his other work, it employs pseudojournalistic realism to tell an adventure story with little basis in reality. Edgar Rice Burroughs — began writing science fiction for pulp magazines just before World War I, getting his first story Under the Moons of Mars published in He continued to publish adventure stories, many of them science fiction, throughout the rest of his life. The pulps published adventure stories of all kinds.
Science fiction stories had to fit in alongside murder mysteries , horror , fantasy and Edgar Rice Burroughs' own Tarzan. The next great science fiction writers after H. Wells were Olaf Stapledon — , whose four major works Last and First Men , Odd John , Star Maker , and Sirius , introduced a myriad of ideas that writers have since adopted, and J. However, the Twenties and Thirties would see the genre represented in a new format. Robert Hugh Benson wrote one of the first modern dystopias, Lord of the World Rudyard Kipling's contributions to science fiction go beyond their direct impact at the start of the 20th century.
The Aerial Board of Control stories and his critique of the British military, The Army of a Dream , were not only very modern in style, but strongly influenced authors like John W. Campbell and Robert Anson Heinlein , the latter of whom wrote a novel, Starship Troopers , that contains all of the elements of The Army of a Dream, and whose Stranger in a Strange Land was a reimagining of The Jungle Book , with the human child raised by Martians instead of wolves. Heinlein's technique of indirect exposition first appears in Kiplings' writing. Heinlein, the central influence of all science fiction from the s forward, has also described himself as influenced by George Bernard Shaw , whose longest work Back to Methuselah was itself science fiction.
The development of American science fiction as a self-conscious genre dates in part from , when Hugo Gernsback founded Amazing Stories magazine, which was devoted exclusively to science fiction stories. Since he is notable for having chosen the variant term scientifiction to describe this incipient genre, the stage in the genre's development, his name and the term "scientifiction" are often thought to be inextricably linked. Though Gernsback encouraged stories featuring scientific realism to educate his readers about scientific principles, such stories shared the pages with exciting stories with little basis in reality.
Much of what Gernsback published was referred to as "gadget fiction",   about what happens when someone makes a technological invention. Published in this and other pulp magazines with great and growing success, such scientifiction stories were not viewed as serious literature but as sensationalism. Nevertheless, a magazine devoted entirely to science fiction was a great boost to the public awareness of the scientific speculation story. Amazing Stories competed with several other pulp magazines, including Weird Tales which primarily published fantasy stories , Astounding Stories , and Wonder Stories , throughout the s.
It was in the Gernsback era that science fiction fandom arose through the medium of the " Letters to the Editor " columns of Amazing and its competitors. Fritz Lang 's movie Metropolis , in which the first cinematic humanoid robot was seen, and the Italian Futurists ' love of machines are indicative of both the hopes and fears of the world between the world wars. Metropolis was an extremely successful film and its art-deco inspired aesthetic became the guiding aesthetic of the science fiction pulps for some time.
Writers attempted to respond to the new world in the post-World War I era. In the s and 30s writers entirely unconnected with science fiction were exploring new ways of telling a story and new ways of treating time, space and experience in the narrative form. The posthumously published works of Franz Kafka who died in and the works of modernist writers such as James Joyce , T. Eliot , Virginia Woolf and others featured stories in which time and individual identity could be expanded, contracted, looped and otherwise distorted.
While this work was unconnected to science fiction as a genre, it did deal with the impact of modernity technology, science, and change upon people's lives, and decades later, during the New Wave movement, some modernist literary techniques entered science fiction. A strong theme in modernist writing was alienation , the making strange of familiar surroundings so that settings and behaviour usually regarded as " normal " are seen as though they were the seemingly bizarre practices of an alien culture. The audience of modernist plays or the readership of modern novels is often led to question everything.
At the same time, a tradition of more literary science fiction novels, treating with a dissonance between perceived Utopian conditions and the full expression of human desires, began to develop: the dystopian novel. For some time, the science fictional elements of these works were ignored by mainstream literary critics, though they owe a much greater debt to the science fiction genre than the modernists do.
Yevgeny Zamyatin 's novel We depicts a totalitarian attempt to create a utopia that results in a dystopic state where free will is lost. Aldous Huxley bridged the gap between the literary establishment and the world of science fiction with Brave New World , an ironic portrait of a stable and ostensibly happy society built by human mastery of genetic manipulation. In the late s, John W. Campbell became editor of Astounding Science Fiction , and a critical mass of new writers emerged in New York City in a group of science fiction fans many of whom soon became professional writers called the Futurians , which included Isaac Asimov , Damon Knight , Donald A.
Heinlein , Arthur C. Clarke , and A. Campbell's tenure at Astounding is considered to be the beginning of the Golden Age of science fiction , characterized by hard science fiction stories celebrating scientific achievement and progress. Gold and later Pohl as editor, and a new generation of writers began writing stories outside the Campbell mode. George Orwell wrote perhaps the most highly regarded of these literary dystopias, Nineteen Eighty-Four , in He envisions a technologically governed totalitarian regime that dominates society through total information control.
Zamyatin's We is recognized as an influence on both Huxley and Orwell; Orwell published a book review of We shortly after it was first published in English, several years before writing Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit , Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed:An Ambiguous Utopia , much of Kurt Vonnegut's writing, and many other works of later science fiction continue this dialogue between utopia and dystopia.
Orson Welles 's The Mercury Theatre on the Air produced a radio version of The War of the Worlds which, famously, panicked large numbers of people who believed the program to be a real newscast. Inarguably, though, the idea of visitors or invaders from outer space became embedded in the consciousness of everyday people. The British did the same, and also asked authors to submit outlandish ideas which the government leaked to the Axis as real plans. Meanwhile, the Germans had developed flying bombs known as V1s and V2s reminiscent of the "rocket ships" ever-present in pulp science fiction, presaging space flight.
Jet planes and the atom bomb were developed. Asimov said that "The dropping of the atom bomb in made science fiction respectable. Once the horror at Hiroshima took place, anyone could see that science fiction writers were not merely dreamers and crackpots after all, and that many of the motifs of that class of literature were now permanently part of the newspaper headlines".
The period of the s and s is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. With the emergence in of a demanding editor, John W.
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Campbell, Jr. Clarke , and Robert A. Heinlein , science fiction began to gain status as serious fiction.
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Campbell exercised an extraordinary influence over the work of his stable of writers, thus shaping the direction of science fiction. Asimov wrote, "We were extensions of himself; we were his literary clones. Campbell's guidance to his writers included his famous dictum, "Write me a creature that thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man.
Ventures into the genre by writers who were not devoted exclusively to science fiction also added respectability. Magazine covers of bug-eyed monsters and scantily clad women, however, preserved the image of a sensational genre appealing only to adolescents. There was a public desire for sensation, a desire of people to be taken out of their dull lives to the worlds of space travel and adventure. An interesting footnote to Campbell's regime is his contribution to the rise of L. Ron Hubbard's religion Scientology.
As Campbell's reign as editor of Astounding progressed, Campbell gave more attention to ideas like Hubbard's, writing editorials in support of Dianetics. Though Astounding continued to have a loyal fanbase, readers started turning to other magazines to find science fiction stories.
With the new source material provided by the Golden Age writers, advances in special effects, and a public desire for material that treated with the advances in technology of the time, all the elements were in place to create significant works of science fiction film. As a result, science fiction film came into its own in the s, producing films like Destination Moon , Them! Many of these movies were based on stories by Campbell's writers. John Wyndham's cosy catastrophes , including The Day of the Triffids and The Kraken Wakes , provided important source material as well. At the same time, science fiction began to appear on a new medium — television.
In The Quatermass Experiment was shown on British television, the first significant science fiction show, though it could also be described as horror. Seeking greater freedom of expression, writers started to publish their articles in other magazines, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction , If magazine , a resurrected Amazing Stories , and most notably, Galaxy.
Under editors H. Gold and then Frederik Pohl , Galaxy stressed a more literary form of science fiction that took cues from more mainstream literature. It was less insistent on scientific plausibility than Campbell's Astounding. The rise of Galaxy signaled the end of Golden Age science fiction, though most of the Golden Age writers were able to adapt to the changes in the genre and keep writing.
Some, however, moved to other fields. Isaac Asimov and several others began to write scientific fact almost exclusively. Until about magazines were the only way authors could publish new stories. Only small specialty presses like Arkham House and Gnome Press published science fiction hardcover books, all reprints of magazine stories. Most genre books were sold by mail from small magazine advertisements, because bookstores rarely carried science fiction.
By the small presses proved that demand existed for science fiction books, enough to cause magazines to print regular review columns. They issued fixups such as The Martian Chronicles , novel versions of serialized stories, and original fiction.
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Demand for content grew as the specialty presses had depleted the supply of easily reprinted, high-quality stories; new genre magazines appeared 38 different science fiction publications existed in the US and UK in ; and large-circulation magazines like Playboy , Collier's , and Esquire published stories. Genre stories like Walter M. Miller, Jr. For the first time an author could write science fiction full time; Barry N. Malzberg calculated that producing 1, words a day would earn twice the national median income,   and Asimov stopped teaching at Boston University School of Medicine after making more money as a writer.
The mainstream book companies' large print runs and distribution networks lowered prices and increased availability, but displaced the small publishers; Algis Budrys later said that "they themselves would draw little but disaster" from the science fiction boom of the s they helped to begin. In the former all sense of place and time are dispensed with; all that remains is a voice poised between the urge to continue existing and the urge to find silence and oblivion. The only other major writer to use "The Unnamable" as a title was H.
In the latter, time and the paradoxes of cause and effect become thematic. Beckett's influence on the intelligentsia—as well as the general influence of existentialism and the legal battles to publish books then classified as obscene—made science fiction more sophisticated, especially in Britain. William S. Burroughs — was the writer who finally brought science fiction together with the trends of postmodern literature. With the help of Jack Kerouac , Burroughs published Naked Lunch , the first of a series of novels employing a semi- dadaistic technique called the Cut-up and postmodern deconstructions of conventional society, pulling away the mask of normality to reveal nothingness beneath.
Burroughs showed visions of society as a conspiracy of aliens, monsters, police states, drug dealers and alternate levels of reality. The linguistics of science fiction merged with the experiments of postmodernism in a beat generation gestalt. In , British novelist Kingsley Amis published New Maps of Hell , a literary history and examination of the field of science fiction. This serious attention from a mainstream, acceptable writer did a great deal of good, eventually, for the reputation of science fiction. Another major milestone was the publication, in , of Frank Herbert 's Dune , a dense, complex, and detailed work of fiction featuring political intrigue in a future galaxy, strange and mystical religious beliefs, and the ecosystem of the desert planet Arrakis.
Another was the emergence of the work of Roger Zelazny , whose novels such as Lord of Light and his famous The Chronicles of Amber showed that the lines between science-fiction, fantasy, religion, and social commentary could be very fine. Also in French director Jean-Luc Godard 's film Alphaville used the medium of dystopian and apocalyptic science fiction to explore language and society.
In Britain, the s generation of writers, dubbed " The New Wave ", were experimenting with different forms of science fiction,  stretching the genre towards surrealism , psychological drama and mainstream currents. The 60s New Wave was centred around the writing in the magazine New Worlds after Michael Moorcock assumed editorial control in William Burroughs was a big influence. The writers of the New Wave also believed themselves to be building on the legacy of the French New Wave artistic movement.
Though the New Wave was largely a British movement, there were parallel developments taking place in American science fiction at the same time. The relation of the British New Wave to American science fiction was made clear by Harlan Ellison's original anthology Dangerous Visions , which presented science fiction writers, both American and British, writing stories that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable in a science fiction magazine. Isaac Asimov, writing an introduction to the anthology, labeled it the Second Revolution , after the first revolution that produced the Golden Age.
The New Wave and their contemporaries placed a greater emphasis on style and a more highbrow form of storytelling. They also sought controversy in subjects older science fiction writers had avoided. For the first time sexuality, which Kingsley Amis had complained was nearly ignored in science fiction, was given serious consideration by writers like Samuel R. Delany , Ursula K. Contemporary political issues were also given voice, as John Brunner and J. Ballard wrote cautionary tales about, respectively, overpopulation and apocalypse.
Asimov noted that the Second Revolution was far less clear cut than the first, attributing this to the development of the anthology, which made older stories more prominent. But a number of Golden Age writers changed their style as the New Wave hit. Robert A. Many others also continued successfully as styles changed. Science fiction films took inspiration from the changes in the genre. Ursula K. Le Guin extrapolated social and biological changes that were anthropological in nature.
Dick explored the metaphysics of the mind in a series of novels and stories that rarely seemed dependent on their science fictional content. Le Guin, Dick, and others like them became associated with the concept of soft science fiction more than with the New Wave.
Soft science fiction was contrasted to the notion of hard science fiction. Though scientific plausibility had been a central tenet of the genre since Gernsback, writers like Larry Niven and Poul Anderson gave hard science fiction new life, crafting stories with a more sophisticated writing style and more deeply characterized protagonists, while preserving a high level of scientific sophistication. By the early s the fantasy market was much larger than that of almost all science fiction authors.
As new personal computing technologies became an integral part of society, science fiction writers felt the urge to make statements about its influence on the cultural and political landscape. Drawing on the work of the New Wave, the Cyberpunk movement developed in the early 80s. Though it placed the same influence on style that the New Wave did, it developed its own unique style, typically focusing on the 'punks' of their imagined future underworld. Cyberpunk authors like William Gibson turned away from the traditional optimism and support for progress of traditional science fiction.
Though Cyberpunk would later be cross-pollinated with other styles of science fiction, there seemed to be some notion of ideological purity in the beginning. John Shirley compared the Cyberpunk movement to a tribe. During the s, a large number of cyberpunk manga and anime works were produced in Japan, the most notable being the manga Akira and its anime film adaptation , the anime Megazone 23 , and the manga Ghost in the Shell which was also adapted into an anime film in Contemporary science fiction has been marked by the spread of cyberpunk to other parts of the marketplace of ideas.
No longer is cyberpunk a ghettoized tribe within science fiction, but an integral part of the field whose interactions with other parts have been the primary theme of science fiction around the start of the 21st century. Notably, cyberpunk has influenced film, in works such as Johnny Mnemonic and The Matrix series , in anime such as Akira and Ghost in the Shell , and the emerging medium of video games , with the critically acclaimed Deus Ex and Metal Gear series. This entrance of cyberpunk into mainstream culture has led to the introduction of cyberpunk's stylistic motifs to the masses, particularly the cyberpunk fashion style.
It has also led to other developments including Steampunk a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery and Dieselpunk which combines the aesthetics of the diesel-based technology of the interwar period through to the s with retro-futuristic technology and postmodern sensibilities. Emerging themes in the s included environmental issues, the implications of the global Internet and the expanding information universe, questions about biotechnology and nanotechnology , as well as a post- Cold War interest in post- scarcity societies; Neal Stephenson 's The Diamond Age comprehensively explores these themes.
Lois McMaster Bujold 's Vorkosigan novels brought the character-driven story back into prominence. The cyberpunk reliance on near-future science fiction has deepened. In William Gibson's novel, Pattern Recognition , the story is a cyberpunk story told in the present, the ultimate limit of the near-future extrapolation. Cyberpunk's ideas have spread in other directions, though. This merging of the two disparate threads of science fiction in the s has produced an extrapolational literature in contrast to those technological stories told in the present.
The Daevabad Trilogy 1. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The City of Brass , please sign up. Thank you! Chakraborty The City of Brass is classified as an adult fantasy, but I suspect older teens would enjoy it. The main characters are 20, 18, and well, vaguely …more The City of Brass is classified as an adult fantasy, but I suspect older teens would enjoy it. The main characters are 20, 18, and well, vaguely immortal ; There's not much sexual content, but there is some violence.
Can someone please help define what these words, names, titles are? Thanks for any help! Chakraborty There's a glossary in the back for some of the terms and creatures :. See all 28 questions about The City of Brass…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.
Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. I can tally my life in good days and bad days, and thanks to this book, this turned out to be a very bad day. What is this book about? Nahri is living in what appears to be 18th-century Cairo, earning her money as a fortune-teller, a con artist and a leader of zars rituals for the exorcism of evil spirits , dwelling on her ability to sense illness in others and to heal some ailments, speaking a language that she inherited from her long-dead parents and that was as unknowable to her as it was to anyone else, and generally hiding from the many questions about herself and her upbringing that she needed to stare down.
Reading this book seemed like a good idea but so was boarding the titanic and look what happened there. It was the equivalent of taking a nap, the cruelest kind of temptation: it promises you rest and wellness but leaves you with a cloudy headache and an inescapable drowsiness the rest of the day. The first issue is the pacing: Nahri doesn't make it to Daevebad until about halfway through the book and by that point I was beginning to wonder: if I sigh loudly enough will this plot stop dragging?
A problem conflated by the fact that there are approximately 3 million various groups of magical peoples and different political and cultural divides — which made it very easy to disengage with the story and lose the thread of the plot, and very difficult to care enough to flip to the glossary every single time. The political framework was employed with an odd detachment, creating a fablelike distance from what was supposed to be a grisly, shocking climax.
Not to mention the fact that it was so confusing I had a headache so strong I swear I could sense Lord Voldemort. But what really kicked me out of this book was the characters. There are literally only like, two people in this pages book whom I would hang out with for more than three or four hours without wanting to strangle them. First, Dara. I emotionally and physically cannot stand him. But you know what? Male protagonists whose arc revolves around growth and actual personality will always be more interesting than insufferable wankers who punch everything and treat everyone around them like garbage.
And even worse, Nahri continuously puts substantial effort into pleasing him for no reason other than that she feels like she owes him the benefit of the doubt after saving her life and bringing her to Daevabad, even when it was at the expense of everyone else. I wanted to shake her. I was just a smoldering glove of bitterness flying through space right then and I still am. However, in a community that is depicted as largely Muslim, Alizayd was the only character who was remotely portrayed as being so Ali is a pious, self-serious and kind-hearted scholar, trying to understand his own privilege and to balance exercising his own power with the love he has for his powerful family.
And that diversity amongst the Muslims themselves is a welcome representation but it was far from being an accurate one in this case : piousness and pure intentions would never serve as a reason to be shunned and belittled in your own Muslim community—and especially not by the majority. This is my issue with Islam representation in the mainstream media.
The beauty of Islam lives in your conduct and your character and your manners. Islam is kindness in the face of hostility, love in the face of anger, charity in the face of poverty, calmness amidst troubles and overwhelming reliance on God. This is the nature of Islam. This is the Islam I grew up being taught. This is my religion. This is the representation I long to see. Overall, this book was a disappointment. View all 95 comments. May 02, Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing Shelves: fantasy , fiction , books-of-the-year You are about to be transported.
She has a gift for discerning medical maladies and another for treating them. She is adept at languages and at parting the unwary from their money. When she is called in to help deal with a year-old girl who is possessed, she rolls her eyes and opts to have a bit of fun trotting out an old spell that has never worked before. The difference here is that she tries it in a language she seems to have known forever, but which no one else has ever heard. In a flash, the evil possessor spirit and a large number of its dead minions are on her like decay on a corpse.
Thankfully, the djinn is there to save the day, with extreme prejudice. Thus begins a beautiful friendship. Image from deviantart. For sure. Incredibly powerful? Fierce in battle? Be afraid, be very afraid. Able to leap tall minarets in a single flying carpet? You betcha. As if that were not enough, he is literally a creature of fire, and emits actual smoke. You never had a friend like him. Cairo may present imminent threats of death, but Daevabad is no prize either. Ancient tribal hatreds are kept at bay by a strong, and ruthless ruler. King Ghassan ibn Khader al Qahtani must contend not only with inter-tribal tensions, he must cope with a growing insurgency.
Think sundry Middle East rulers with tribally diverse populations. There are many who feel that laws favoring purebloods are unjust, and want those of mixed Djinn-human blood, shafit , think mudbloods to be treated fairly. Ali is a very devout young 18 man. As second in line, he is destined to help his older brother, Muntadhir, rule, as, basically, the head of security.
He is extremely adept at sword-fighting and has gained a good reputation among the other student-warriors at the Citadel, a military training school not in South Carolina where he has been living and training for some years. Dad would not be pleased were he to learn that junior was giving money to an organization that purports to offer civilian-only aid to shafit, but is also rumored to be involved in a more military form of activity.
Think Hamas S.
Chakraborty - image from her site Revolutionary tensions are on the rise, palace intrigues as well, as trust is something one could only wish for. One key question is where Nahri really came from, who is she, really? It matters. And what happened to the ancient tribe that was chosen by Suleiman himself to rule, way back when. There are magic rings, flaming swords, strange beings of diverse sorts, plots, battles, large scale and small, plenty of awful ways to die, without that being done too graphically.
And there is even a bit of interpersonal attraction. There is also some romantic tension between Nahri and Ali. Add in a nifty core bit of history centered on Suleiman. One of the great strengths of City of Brass is the lode of historical knowledge the author brings to bear. A bit contrary to Western lore, djinn are said to be intelligent beings similar to humans, created from smokeless fire and living unseen in our midst—a fascinating, albeit slightly frightening concept, this idea of creatures living silently among us, dispassionately watching the rise and fall of our various civilizations.
It could have been a bit larger though. I would have liked for it to include a list of the djinn tribes, with information about each, their geographical bases, proclivities, languages, you know, stuff. The information can be found in the book itself, but it would have been nice to have had a handy short reference.
The richness of the world we see here gives added heft to a wonderful story. The world Chakraborty has created hums with humanity, well, whatever the djinn equivalent might be for humanity djinnity? You will smell the incense, want to keep a damp cloth at hand to wipe the dust and sand from your face, and a cool drink nearby to help with the heat. This is a wonderful, engaging, and fun read. It will not take you a thousand and one nights to read, but you might prefer that it did. View all 61 comments. I listened to this on audio as opposed to reading my hardback.
I didn't think I would like it but I did and I also liked the narrator! I'm addicted to these kinds of books. Look at the beauty! Happy Reading! View all 50 comments. Jun 27, Melanie rated it it was amazing Shelves: arc , historical , demons , magic , paranormal , own-voices , cover-porn , read-in , ghosts , romance. ARC provided by Harper Voyager in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book in an own voices Muslim Fantasy series, that walks the line between Young Adult and Adult, and switches between two very different points of view.
One point of view is a girl in her early twenties, who remembers nothing of her childhood, and is living near Cairo, Egypt. Her name is Nahri and she is a street healer by day, and a con-woman and thief by night. Nahri has a natural affinity for healing people, and can magically see what the problem is. Sometimes she can wish it away, other times it is not so easy.
Our story truly starts at a Zar Ceremony where Nahri is doing the steps she normally does while really just putting on a show to get paid at the end of the night, except this time she actually does feel something after an old song is sung. After a turn of events, Nahri ends up in a cemetery where she begins to pray and accidentally summons a djinn daeva warrior. He then tells her about a city that is hidden behind brass walls, that will completely keep them safe from said ifrits. We get to see our second point of view, which is from a young djinn prince named Ali, who lives in the magical hidden city of Daevabad.
Ali is completely okay with what is promised of his life, and he completely dedicates his life to God. Yet, with devoting his life to God, he starts to see the unfair treatment among the citizens. People in this world can use magic, including humans, even though there are different ways, kinds, and extremes. This is a historical novel set in our time in the early s, which barely touches upon the Ottoman Empire. Yet, we do get to briefly see how some of the Turkish people treated the Egyptians, and we even get to see some French Soldiers.
With all these beings, come different powers and abilities. I loved this fantastical element and it truly made this story feel so whimsical. But many people hold on to their daeva roots, since they have very different roles in Daevabad. Also, there are six tribes. But our dear Nahri though, is something completely different, very rare, and very sought after. But ultimately this is a story about oppression, and what it means to believe that your blood is more pure than someone else.
The mixed bloods in this world, shafits, are treated horribly and without a second thought. Their children are stolen and sold away, most the time time as working slaves or pleasure slaves. This story can feel so very real at times and, in my opinion, S. Chakraborty writes this systemic oppression beautifully to mirror our world today. The only negative thing I can really say about it is that I felt somewhat like I was being queerbaited. I thought this was going to be addressed, but it just lead to a very anticlimactic and saddening death of a very minor side character, who had the promise for so much more.
And then, once I got to the epilogue I was surprised to see something else that I would also borderline call queerbaiting, but hopefully she will address that in the next book in this series. I completely recommend with my whole heart. And the cover? The fantasy world needs more diverse stories like this, and the world needs to see the diverse stories can be easily consumed and loved and, most importantly, worth buying.
Everyone in this story is beautifully brown, we get to see some of these characters interact in mosques, we get to see our main character wearing a headscarf. And this story is so amazing and so very beautifully written, too. I cannot wait to get my hands on The Kingdom of Copper in !
But I will say, the ending of this book ripped my heart out three times, so be prepared for that. This story was amazing, the characters are beyond words, the prose is exceptional, and the messages and representation are so very important. This book is heartfelt and powerful. Please give this a try come November 14th, Trigger Warnings for graphic violence, human trafficking, rape, slavery, and war. View all 41 comments. The first half was very much foundational which introduced us to the world, the characters, as well as the inner workings and machinations of the city of Brass.
I get bored easily as it is. Initially, I rated it 4. At first glance, this novel was everything I dreamt of, a Middle Eastern folklore. Clan warfare. Personal ambitions. Power politics. Racial and religious tensions. All culminating in a cataclysmic showdown in a legendary city protected by magical brass. Now, please tell me if that doesn't sound like the kind of book you'd want to devour in a single day. All of the excitement was sprung upon us toward the very last few pages when by then, the reader or maybe just myself was already too exhausted over the slow beginning and middle parts.
Another source of disappointment for me was the political aspects and the inner workings of Daevabad. The rules and organization of this world became so overwhelming at points that I had to go back and re-read some parts to really understand what was going on. Some, I still don't. The frustration alone almost made me quit because I felt like I was reading with my eyes closed. Nahri and I started out with a bang then took a serious dive down, out of which neither of us made it alive.
The book has two perspectives, one of which is Nahri, who, at the beginning was primarily the kind of MC I love to read about. She was sharp-tongued, independent and a likeable con artist, who makes her living on the streets of Cairo by swindling nobles and also has the ability to sense illness in others and to heal some ailments. I mean, right!? I felt an instant personal connection to her because, well, growing up, some kids dream of becoming a doctor or whatever but ever since I was a kid and watched some unfortunate TV show or a movie that ruined all other dreams for me , all I'd wanted to become was a con artist.
I proudly admit my childhood dream. Everything about it looked and sounded appealing in the eyes of a child, through the TV screen, I suppose , pulling off one unforgettable con after another, living off your wits and charm etc… sadly, I had neither the wit nor the charm to pull anything off and had to settle for a normal childhood.
So, obviously this was my chance to live vicariously through Nahri and I jumped on that wagon faster than a speeding bullet. She started out so well. All that went straight in the bin toward the end. As the plot finally progressed, her character basically regressed. Page after page she kept making one foolish decision after another which was so unlike her, as if the Nahri at the beginning of the novel transformed into a completely different character by the end.
All that pride I felt at the start was crushed to pieces as she became a great source of disappointment when the book ended. It was very disheartening and I am not pleased. As with Nahri, Ali, the benevolent second son of the current king, who will never inherit the throne but wants desperately to make amends to those he thinks his people have wronged, starts out remarkably and takes a tumble down in the end.
As things were finally moving along, both Ali and Nahri's actions became so infuriating that I started rooting for whatever monster was the talk of the town to knock some sense into them or, more accurately, to just ingest them and be done with it. I loved everything about Dara. I was intrigued by him from the moment he entered the picture and as the plot advanced and his mysterious yet tragic past slowly started to unravel, I sympathised with him, rooted for him and quite literally, he became the reason I wanted to finish the book.
All in all, it was a fun-ish read but no minds were blown here. I loved it for the sole reason that it shifted the centre away from western myths, with a strong conclusion and a craftily set up epilogue. I'll give credit where credit is due, the epilogue was incredible. Maybe with the next one. View all 38 comments. I want a refund my time and tears. If it was just kept as a Middle Eastern rep, I probably would have liked it better.
Oh, so, very, confusing. View all 81 comments. Apr 12, Robin Hobb rated it really liked it. As always, I want to let others know that I received this book as a gift from my publishers. In this instance, I have not met the author, but hope that at some time I will. Do you remember the first time a book took you out of your culture?
I think for most of us it happens in childhood. For me, my passage to other countries and times came in the form of fairy tales and legends. We had a fat volume of Arabian Nights most likely edited for kids with lavish line illustrations. That was my first i As always, I want to let others know that I received this book as a gift from my publishers. That was my first introduction to Sinbad the Sailor and Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp and many other wonderful tales.
And it was my first introduction to Genies, as they were spelled in that wonderful book. When I ventured into City of Brass, it was like stepping back into that wonderful confusion one feels when one ventures into an 'exotic' not your own culture. This was not my magic, not my wondrous beings and creatures. Nahri was the perfect guide to take me into this story. She is the 'outsider' in the tale, the person with a nebulous past and a precarious future.
A thief, a con artist and a charlatan, she tempts fate when she inadvertently dabbles in an older, deeper magic. And that is as close to a spoiler as I'm going to get. Fantasy is rich in many flavor; in fantasy, we are all citizens of the magical worlds. Step in and enjoy this one. View all 3 comments. View all 14 comments. May 16, Roshani Chokshi added it. I just finished reading this by the dying light of my cellphone while small, devious looking insects clamored towards the light and attacked my face. That is how spellbinding this book is I could not put it down.
I haven't had that kind of visceral "No one touch this book, it is actually a clever extension of my hand, and I will BITE you if you come between me and these characters" reaction in awhile. Chakraborty has some truly dazzling workdbuilding skills, but beyond that, I just finished reading this by the dying light of my cellphone while small, devious looking insects clamored towards the light and attacked my face.
Chakraborty has some truly dazzling workdbuilding skills, but beyond that, she crafts remarkable characters who are achingly real and complex. I loved their interactions. The writing was just nonstop intoxicating atmosphere, and the plot was riveting. I am going to be throwing this book at people when it releases in November!!!!
View 1 comment. Shelves: buddy-reads , unpopular-opinion , adult , disappointing , pretty-cover , fantasy , gifted , poc , historical-fiction , in-the-trash. The feeling you get when one of your most anticipated books lives up to your expectations is one of the best. Unfortunately, The City of Brass did not give me ANY of those feelings whatsoe The feeling you get when one of your most anticipated books lives up to your expectations is one of the best. This was after 19 DAYS of trying extremely hard to find a sliver of motivation, a tiny piece that would make me like or even just tolerate this book and keep going.
Tbh it was probably just 14 days and then another 5 days of not reading but still pretending like I actually cared enough to finish. But nope!! None of that happened!! Somehow I sinned, and some entity thinks that my first one-star read of the year should also be the book I mentally five-starred and expected to become one of my favorites.
I feel like someone just held out a chocolate-chip cookie to me and said I could have it, only to snatch it away from me when I reach for it. I swear, the writing was the equivalent of every single time I almost fell asleep in class because I was SO. It was extremely dry and dense and even harder to get through than a standardized test you take for four hours and all the black text starts swimming in front of your eyes.
Like I get how some people could see it as beautiful, or amazing, or whatever glowing compliments they have to serve it. A straw was more entertaining this book. It described what a throne looked like in approximately words??? Two words. I lost my focus, empathy, and any willpower to live about pages ago, unfortunately. To be fair this is all really just personal preference but I really could not click with the writing style at all and my experience was GREAT Are we really still pretending like we care?? In this economy???
And tbh the whole premise was a very generic fantasy plot. Like you know paper? That blank white thin sheet of nothing? And he roasted Ali so that was extremely entertaining. So just trust me when I say they are, uhhhh, not worth my time writing or your time reading. You can thank me later when you DNF this book at page one. I actually found the whole Daeva world super interesting, but unfortunately, I had no idea what was going on. I mean, I might be stupid I am but the worldbuilding confused me so much. And it also was literally DUMPED onto the reader in the first hundred pages, plus all the historical context and cultural background.
I realize I was a bit But honestly if you want to read, read it!!
View all 62 comments. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature : Nahri, a young woman living alone in 18th century Cairo, gets by doing minor cons, fake healing rituals and a little theft. After he gets over his murderous rage at being involuntarily summoned, Dara saves Nahri from murderous ifrit and ghouls who have become aware of Nahri and her abilities. Dara quickly enchants a magic carpet and, dragging along the reluctant Nahri, he flees with her toward Daevabad, the legendary city of brass inhabited by magical djinn or, more properly, daeva.
But there are warring political factions in Daevabad among the six different djinn tribes, and appalling mistreatment of the mixed-blood, partly human underclass of shafits. Nahri and Dara each have trouble that may await them there in Daevabad, for different reasons. The chapters of The City of Brass , S. Ali is a rather tightly wound but honorable young warrior with a mixed heritage himself, has sympathy for those who are mistreated.
But in trying to secretly and illegally fund needed educational and medical services for the oppressed shafits, he may be stirring up even more trouble. Chakraborty, who spent years studying Middle Eastern history and developing the magical world in which this story is set, has created a vibrant and exotic setting in The City of Brass. Some of the setting details are memorable, like the palace in Daevabad that mourns its missing founding family, the Nahids. The gardens are an untamed wilderness, stairs go missing, water in fountains frequently turns to blood. When Nahri, a lost member of the Nahid family, arrives in the city, the palace magically begins to spiff itself up.
The City of Brass has a fast-paced beginning that sucks the reader right in, as Nahri and Dara flee through the desert toward Daevabad, pursued by deadly enemies, and develop a relationship based on equal parts irritation and attraction. Once they reach Daevabad, the great city of brass, the plot slows down and gets a little muddled. There are too many competing factions and conflicts: between pureblood djinn and shafits, between the different djinn tribes and other magical elementals, and between those who support the currently ruling Qahtani family and those who are intent on bringing back Nahid rule, using Nahri.
Additionally, there are conflicts within the hearts of each of the main characters. And Prince Ali is caught between warring factions and loyalties, trying to balance both. While some of the more tangential factions and contentions are hazy in their nature and motivations, overall The City of Brass is a compelling read. Chakraborty won back my enthusiasm with a rousing game-changer of an ending. Totally tangential issue: I've seen this book praised for being ownvoices. While it's true that S. Chakraborty is Muslim, she's a convert to that faith.
She's originally from New Jersey and of Irish Catholic heritage. Personally I don't think it matters; she's clearly immersed herself in this culture and done a lot of study, and if she wants to call herself S. We should judge this book on its own merits, not because of who the author is or isn't. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Content notes: A fair amount of violence that might be disturbing to some readers, discussion of sexual and other types of slavery, scattered F-bombs. Personally I wouldn't recommend it for the younger teens or preteens. View all 6 comments. Edit: I've decided to not go back to this book. For one, I realised how relieved I felt when I decided to quit on it. Second, I would stop mid-sentence and paragraph several times.
Third, I do not think I'll be missing out on greatness if I don't read it. We broke up for good. I think I will blame the book. But this could also very well be that I haven't been in the mood to read fantasy books in fore Edit: I've decided to not go back to this book. But this could also very well be that I haven't been in the mood to read fantasy books in forever. So I'm putting a stop to this before it puts me in a slump, since I was getting more and more reluctant to read it. God knows when I'll pick it up. If I ever do that is. I've already up in my feelings by seeing words like hijab , fajr and abaya!
View all 10 comments. Feb 13, Nick marked it as to-read. I've seen this book all over bookstagram, it;s crazy.
Sounds interesting. It's like the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. View all 19 comments. Mar 11, Acqua rated it it was amazing Shelves: love-cover , love-triangle , db , tbr-reread , fantasy , unpredictable , adult , loved-it. The City of Brass is an adult book. It doesn't matter how many people will mislabel it as YA because adult fantasy books written by women always get this treatment It reads like an adult political fantasy tome because it is an adult political fantasy tome.
Pick up any random adult high fantasy book 4. Pick up any random adult high fantasy book and it will have as much worldbuilding as this one. The problem is, many weren't expecting it here. I wonder why. I loved the worldbuilding. Not only it is ownvoices Muslim high fantasy set in Egypt, it's also one of the most interesting fantasy worlds I've read in a while.
The City of Brass starts in 18th century Cairo and continues in a complex, layered magical city with its own history, secrets, internal politics and difficult relationship with the human world. This is Daevabad, the city of the Daeva, which went through many revolutions, dynasties and uprisings I'm often disappointed by political intrigue because I can point out who is "good" and who is "bad", who is going to be betrayed and who will betray them, but not here.
Having two points of view - Nahri's and Ali's - made me see more than one side of the political scene, and how everyone is wrong and right at the same time. Also, how can a city be at peace when its inhabitants are centuries-old beings with centuries-old grudges? The worst part is, the main character is mostly unaware of them.
All of this made for a slow book, but for me it was totally worth it. I loved the ending so much and I didn't expect half of the twists in it. Finally a book about political intrigue that isn't completely predictable! I loved Nahri. She does exactly what a teenage-or-just-a-bit-older street thief would do when thrown in a court full of political intrigue, backstabbing people and a history she does not know or understand would do: she gets everything wrong.
And I still didn't find her annoying, because her decisions made sense to me - when the main character doesn't predict the ending and neither do I, I don't end up feeling like she was too stupid to live. Not that the other major characters fare that better! Daevabad is currently an awesome powder keg. I can't wait for the sequel and see it explode. It will be fun.