I can’t say much about this second volume of Chakraborty’s Daevabad trilogy without rehashing things I said last year when I read and raved about the first volume, City of Brass, except to say that this book does just what you hope a sequel will do: pick up the threads left hanging at the end of Book One, weave them into a new and exciting tapestry, turn everyone’s world upside down, and leave you breathless, waiting for the next volume.
Nahri, the main character we met at the beginning of City of Brass, has come a long way from the street-wise urchin of that book, living in the human city of Cairo and believing herself to be human, unaware of a whole other world parallel to the human one. Now she is a princess in Daevabad, the magical city of the djinn, the city’s most respected healer and last (known) survivor of the powerful daeva family that once ruled the city. The troubled prince who once befriended her, Ali, is now in exile outside the city, even more troubled by strange new powers. And as for Dara, the powerful, ancient daeva who first introduced Nahri to the world of the djinn and served as her protector and guide — well, after dying (not for the first time!) at the end of City of Brass, his story isn’t exactly over either, and contains stranger twists than we might have imagined.
This story barrels forward to an inevitable clash of several different opposing forces, each with their own agendas for the future of Daevabad, and frankly, I’m not sure I can wait another year (or more) for the sequel. In a world where you can’t always tell easily who are the “good guys” and “bad guys,” because everyone has their own cause and the author elicits both sympathy for all the characters, and revulsion at what they’re often willing to do to achieve their goals, what a “happy ending” for this series might look like is impossible to predict. This is the fantasy series I’ve loved most in recent years and I will be thrilled to see what happens in the conclusion.