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Gigei

S.A. Chakraborty: Daevabad Trilogy (The City of Brass, The Kingdom of Copper, The Empire of Gold)

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Posted (edited)

The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty - in which a con-woman and an idealistic djinn prince join forces to save a magical kingdom from a devastating civil war.

Hiya everyone, we were talking about this series in another thread and thought we should make a dedicated thread to discuss the series since the last book, Empire of Gold, was just released last month. I am not sure what to do about spoilers since Empire of Gold is fairly new but I think most discussions in this forum are understood to contain spoilers. I think I will personally hide ending spoilers but the first two books should be fine to discuss with no spoiler tags. They have been out for a while.

My opinion:

The first book was a okay but nothing really caught my interest. I was going to drop the series... until I read the last few chapters of The City of Brass. Nice ending. It made me want to read more. I did enjoy the setting and folklore. I was rather weirded out buy the Dara x Nahri romance since I felt it was rather sudden and undeveloped but, hey, apparently Dara is super hot. I'm not gonna lie, I'd probably be all over that, too.

The second book was a massive improvement. I'm happy they aged up Nahri (5-year timeskip) which made her more mature and interesting. It was also at this point that I realized why the Dara romance subplot was undeveloped in the first book. The Kingdom of Copper made it clear to me that Ali is the actual endgame here. Perhaps the author didn't want to spend 100's of pages on Nahri's romance with Dara since the heated sexy goings-on with a hot war god would might overshadow the quieter Ali "we both like books and I'm a repressed virgin" romance. Note: I don't care which of the couples get together since I'm much more concerned about the political and economic well-being of the various djinn tribes and shafit.

The third book was awesome. It's longer than the other two and all the main characters got their satisfying endings. Now that the series is finished I highly recommend it to people who like fantasy, and especially those who are looking for non-Western medieval fantasy.

Question (spoiler for last book):

Spoiler

Uh, do we ever find out why/how Dara was freed from Suleiman's curse?

 

Edited by Gigei
punctuation

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1 hour ago, Gigei said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Uh, do we ever find out why/how Dara was freed from Suleiman's curse?

 

Spoiler

I think it was because of his resurrection by Manizheh with the aid of the ifrit. 

The status of Suleiman and his curse and the way magic fits into the broader theology is an interesting topic.  It appears that Suleiman's status as a prophet and his magical abilities are absolutely facts underlying the world.  As is, from the tone of the novels, the truth of Islam. 

At the same time there are rules that govern whether the "higher races" such as the peris and the marid can interfere with the lesser races that don't seem to be derived from a religious source.  And there are also quasi-divine forces like Tiamat and Sobek.  There doesn't seem to be an order/mythology that I can fully understand.  Maybe the author is planning more books set in the same world?

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32 minutes ago, Gaston de Foix said:
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I think it was because of his resurrection by Manizheh with the aid of the ifrit. 

 

No, initially she claimed that was why but later on she admits she has no actual idea how/why it happened.

Empire of Gold, chapter 21:

Spoiler

“Wait …” Dara’s tone was shaky. “Surely you’re not suggesting you didn’t mean to make me like this?” He let his skin briefly turn to flame. “That you weren’t trying to bring me back in this form?”
“I freed you the way I would free any ifrit slave. When you opened your eyes, when the fire failed to leave your skin, I thought it was a miracle.” 

So she basically didn't do anything. It's weird.

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4 minutes ago, Gigei said:

No, initially she claimed that was why but later on she admits she has no actual idea how/why it happened.

Empire of Gold, chapter 21:

  Hide contents

“Wait …” Dara’s tone was shaky. “Surely you’re not suggesting you didn’t mean to make me like this?” He let his skin briefly turn to flame. “That you weren’t trying to bring me back in this form?”
“I freed you the way I would free any ifrit slave. When you opened your eyes, when the fire failed to leave your skin, I thought it was a miracle.” 

So she basically didn't do anything. It's weird.

Spoiler

Ah.  I've removed the book from my kindle.  Remind me, was this an initial conversation or an endgame one? Because M tends to have these layer of lies...

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This was her final word on it. 

17 minutes ago, Gaston de Foix said:
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Ah.  I've removed the book from my kindle.  Remind me, was this an initial conversation or an endgame one? Because M tends to have these layer of lies...

 

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Reposting my thoughts from the previous reading thread basically I thought The Empire of Gold was a bit of step down.

Spoiler

Firstly it was made a bit too easy for Nahri and company because Manizeh's plan to overthrow the al Qahtani's was just pretty rubbish. She's meant to be a genius, Kaveh's supposedly a very capable political figure, they've spent decades plotting and they don't seem to have any plan beyond assassinating Ghassan and killing some of the Royal guard. They haven't even got any of the important Daevas onside? How exactly were they ever planning to hold onto Daevabad?

Secondly, I might be unusual in this but I found most of the action focused bits fairly boring. For me the interesting thing about the series was how they were going to bring all these groups like the Daevas, Shafit and Geziri who hate each other together. I thought the building of the hospital was going to be key to that then Chakroborty just sort of abandons that and just has Manizeh be awful to just sort of skip through and patch things over.

 

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I'll be interested to see the end.  Have to pick up the third book still...it's an interesting enough works thus far...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

Reposting my thoughts from the previous reading thread basically I thought The Empire of Gold was a bit of step down.

  Hide contents

Firstly it was made a bit too easy for Nahri and company because Manizeh's plan to overthrow the al Qahtani's was just pretty rubbish. She's meant to be a genius, Kaveh's supposedly a very capable political figure, they've spent decades plotting and they don't seem to have any plan beyond assassinating Ghassan and killing some of the Royal guard. They haven't even got any of the important Daevas onside? How exactly were they ever planning to hold onto Daevabad?

Secondly, I might be unusual in this but I found most of the action focused bits fairly boring. For me the interesting thing about the series was how they were going to bring all these groups like the Daevas, Shafit and Geziri who hate each other together. I thought the building of the hospital was going to be key to that then Chakroborty just sort of abandons that and just has Manizeh be awful to just sort of skip through and patch things over.

 

She is a genius doctor.  I don't think anyone has ever accused her of being a genius politician. Her upbringing was being imprisoned as a possible threat to all Daevabad. 

Spoiler
 
Spoiler

It seems they expected that the other Daevas would simply fall down on their knees and thank their lucky stars that the Geziri all died and their beloved Nahid were back on the throne. Actually, the ending did show that even after everything Manizeh did, she did have a core group of Daevas who supported her. Just not as many as she expected.

I thought it was fairly clear that Kaveh was incompetent though. He orchestrated the attack on the hospital, for example, which was very stupid. The guy's a fanatic with his head screwed on all wrong.

I thought it was a very nice touch that Ghassan knew all along who Kaveh's son was. He was probably laughing all this time while Kaveh's precious hidden heir became more and move devoted to the Geziri heir. This just goes to show that Manizeh and Kaveh weren't nearly as clever as they thought they were. 

 

Edited by Gigei

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4 minutes ago, Gigei said:

She is a genius doctor.  I don't think anyone has ever accused her of being a genius politician. Her upbringing was being imprisoned as a possible threat to all Daevabad. 

  Reveal hidden contents
 
Spoiler

It seems they expected that the other Daevas would simply fall down on their knees and thank their lucky stars that the Geziri all died and their beloved Nahid were back on the throne. Actually, the ending did show that even after everything Manizeh did, she did have a core group of Daevas who supported her. Just not as many as she expected.

I thought it was fairly clear that Kaveh was incompetent though. He orchestrated the attack on the hospital, for example, which was very stupid. The guy's a fanatic with his head screwed on all wrong.

I thought it was a very nice touch that Ghassan knew all along who Kaveh's son was. He was probably laughing all this time while Kaveh's precious hidden heir became more and move devoted to the Geziri heir. This just goes to show that Manizeh and Kaveh weren't nearly as clever as they thought they were. 

 

Spoiler

I don't think it was shown that that Kaveh's incompetent at all up to this book. He didn't know Ghassan was onto who his son was but there's no way he could have. He's shown as biased towards the Daevas but he's been a senior political figure for years and the fact that he's previously able to rouse Daeva mobs on command shows he's reasonably well connected. That he has no idea how to bring at least some of the major Daeva families behind their coup stretches belief a little bit. That he completely misses a pro Al Qahtani plot amongst them is nuts.

Ok, Manizeh isn't necessarily a genius politician but she's been hiding away for decades planning this and all she's come up with is a way to poison Ghassan and some of the Royal Guard? Being a genius dcotor you'd think that bit wouldn't have taken so long.

Basically I don't see any way they could have hoped to hold onto Daevabad. It's just not a good plan considering they've spent decades coming up with it.

 

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Spoiler

To be a little fair to Kaveh and Manizheh, and I think it was even mentioned later in the book, the unexpected loss of magic and failing to claim the Seal, pretty much screwed over their revolt.    If Manizheh had stuck with just killing Ghassan and his army, and had claimed the Seal, she would have been recognized as the legitimate ruler.     Without the Seal to make Manizheh's rule legitimate, the loss of magic causing widespread panic and chaos, and her use of Dara to try to make the other tribes bow to her, just turned everyone against her. 

But  I didn't like how Manizheh turned out to be just pure evil the whole time, trying to use her niece to resurrect Dara and then killing her own brother, and then later using blood and ifrit magic to enslave Dara.

 

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Leofric said:
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To be a little fair to Kaveh and Manizheh, and I think it was even mentioned later in the book, the unexpected loss of magic and failing to claim the Seal, pretty much screwed over their revolt.    If Manizheh had stuck with just killing Ghassan and his army, and had claimed the Seal, she would have been recognized as the legitimate ruler.     Without the Seal to make Manizheh's rule legitimate, the loss of magic causing widespread panic and chaos, and her use of Dara to try to make the other tribes bow to her, just turned everyone against her. 

 

I don't think I need to spoiler tag this since it happened at the end of the second book. 

Djinn magic disappearing was something that happened before in djinn history and it was a punishment for them by the Creator. This means that when that happened in tandem with Manizheh's overthrow of the current ruler, people would view it as a very bad sign indeed.

Edited by Gigei

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Yeah, my impression is that Manizehs tactics would have worked...

 If there hadnt been way too many X-factors (the Marid, the magic going bonkers, etc.) to some extent she also underestimated the work the Qahtanis had put into winning the Daeva nobles over, but even that could have been sorted out under normal circumstances 

 

 

 

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I recently found out that Dara's name is the ancient Persian name Darius, though this name is pronounced Dariyush in modern times. I suppose a lot of stuff completely went over my head since I'm not familiar with the culture or history from that part of the world.

In her Reddit AMA, Chakraborty recommends The Pasha of Cuisine which sounds interesting. Anyone read it?

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Gigei said:

I recently found out that Dara's name is the ancient Persian name Darius, though this name is pronounced Dariyush in modern times. I suppose a lot of stuff completely went over my head since I'm not familiar with the culture or history from that part of the world.

In her Reddit AMA, Chakraborty recommends The Pasha of Cuisine which sounds interesting. Anyone read it?

The books are greatly informed by ancient myth: Agnivansh for example is a sanskrit word meaning children of the god of fire and was cognomen a lot of Indian (Hindu) rulers adopted.  Peris too feature in Hindu mythology as giant flying birds. 

The Pasha of cuisine does sound interesting. 

 

 

Edited by Gaston de Foix

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21 hours ago, Gaston de Foix said:

The books are greatly informed by ancient myth: Agnivansh for example is a sanskrit word meaning children of the god of fire and was cognomen a lot of Indian (Hindu) rulers adopted.  Peris too feature in Hindu mythology as giant flying birds. 

The Pasha of cuisine does sound interesting. 

I forgot to say that I meant Dara's full name which is Darayavahoush. Never heard of that before. :)

I'm slightly familiar with peris since I read a book with a minor character who was a peri. He "ate" scents so he loved perfumes. That's all I remember, lol. 

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Posted (edited)

sorry it double posted

Edited by Gigei
double post

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One of the weird things I found with the series is that it was set at such a specific and dramatic timeframe... That ended up not mattering. I expected them to have to fight Napoleon or at least Mehmet Ali trying to invade the faerie land at some point. 

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Posted (edited)

I am reading these right now and I hit one of my utterly pedantic pet peeves in book two: it's a meticulously detailed Old World setting, and BOOM hummingbirds, in passing mention as a setting ornament.

 

No no no!  They're New World only, all of them!!!!

Edited by Little Valkyrie

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On 8/5/2020 at 2:12 PM, Little Valkyrie said:

I am reading these right now and I hit one of my utterly pedantic pet peeves in book two: it's a meticulously detailed Old World setting, and BOOM hummingbirds, in passing mention as a setting ornament.

 

No no no!  They're New World only, all of them!!!!

It's set in an alternate world 18th century. The New World would was already known by that time in our world. They have fast magic travel in that world so I would guess they can more easily travel. Hummingbirds would have been exotic for them in the same way that people today have parrots or other exotic birds as pets.

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On 8/5/2020 at 2:12 AM, Little Valkyrie said:

I am reading these right now and I hit one of my utterly pedantic pet peeves in book two: it's a meticulously detailed Old World setting, and BOOM hummingbirds, in passing mention as a setting ornament.

 

No no no!  They're New World only, all of them!!!!

Is that right? You have sunbirds in India which are very similar.  

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