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640 pages, Paperback
First published January 22, 2019
Can you ever make a new world that properly addresses the wounds of the past? - from Lightspeed interviewThe Kingdom of Copper is the second in S.A. Chakraborty’s Daevabad Trilogy, and it must be trying harder, as the first was amazing and this one is at least as good. I suppose you might pick this book up and have an entirely fine time reading it, but I would not advise it. If you have not read the first one, The City of Brass, jump on your flying carpet and dash off to your local bookstore. (Oh, and could you pick up some lamp oil at the bazaar on your way back? Thanks.) I suppose you could use one of your wishes to just make it appear, but really, that would be cheesy. It’s like Game of Thrones. Yeah, you can jump in at some point and catch up bit by bit, but, really, you have to be there from the beginning to get the most from it. Ditto here. Come back after you have read volume one, ok? And if you have already read #1, then Salaam and good evening to you, worthy friend.
[In medieval history] so many of these cities and civilizations were the products of waves of conquest. How does that shape the societies that survive them generations later? How do conqueror and conquered influence each other and how do their stories and legends of what happened get transmitted? Can you ever make a new world that properly addresses the wounds of the past? - from the Lightspeed interview
I wrote a lot of this while managing a large obstetrics & gynecology practice (while my husband went to medical school), and I really wanted to capture the messy reality of medicine. It’s not always glamourous and noble; it can be exhausting, the work is bloody and tiresome and challenging, and sometimes your patients are terrible. It requires a confidence bordering on arrogance to cut into a person for their own good, and I wanted to show how a character might grow into that. - from the QuilltoLive interview
Shannon Chakraborty didn’t want to be a writer when she grew up. “I wanted to be a historian, but I’ve been a bookworm since I was a kid,” she said. She originally wanted to be a historian, with a specialization in the Middle East. “That plan got a bit derailed for a variety of reasons, one of which was graduating in 2008 when the economy collapsed, so I figured I’d work while my husband went to medical school and keep my mind occupied with a little world-building/historical fan fiction,” she explains.-----The Quill to Live - The City of Brass – An Interview With S. A. Chakraborty
It’s that experience that led Chakraborty, who was born raised in New Jersey by blue-collar Catholic parents, to the seed that became The City of Brass. “It sprouted the day I set foot in the rare books library of the American University of Cairo,” she explains. There she lost herself in the stories and lore around her. “As a homesick, homework-laden, and rather wide-eyed new Muslim myself, I found in these stories a refuge; they spoke of a history that dazzled, a faith of breathtaking diversity in which my weird background was nothing new nor particularly noteworthy.”
I come from a pretty big family and always enjoy seeing well-done portrayals of complicated, messy, exasperating and yet also still loving relatives; I think it’s a thing many of us can relate to. And I’ve always had a particular fascination with rival princes. They’re fairly common in history, and yet I can’t imagine the emotions that go behind making a decision to war against your own brother.-----Pen America - On Magic, History, and Storytelling: The PEN Ten with S. A. Chakraborty by Lily Philpott – an interesting, wide-ranging chat
There was certainly some inspiration from my own family. My twin brother and I are very close, and I was very protective of him, especially when we were younger, even when we were fighting. This was definitely an emotion and dynamic that I was trying to capture with Muntadhir and Ali. Though my brother isn’t a wealthy, libertine playboy destined to rule a shaky kingdom so the similarities end there!
**This review now posted on my blog**
May I present you my first disappointment of 2019!
I don't know how but everything went wrong in this book. When I first read The City of Brass I was enchanted by its magical atmosphere and characters who swept me away into the world of djinn, flying carpets, giant water serpents and enormous talking birds. I loved everything about that world! I had zero doubt The Kingdom of Copper would deliver the same level of grandeur and will, once more, sweep me off my feet. At the end of the day it kind of did sweep me off, lending me on my back hard with an enormous bruise to nurse until the year of 2021 - this is when book 3 will be out, and my hope of ever redeeming The Daevabad Trilogy.
What landed me the most painful downfall in a while is the fact that probably 'it's not you it's me' syndrome that I hate because it leaves me undecided and torn between loving and hating something.
So, what I didn't like in The Kingdom of copper, but which is not considered to be an actual flaw of the story but only a failure of my expectations which are biased, of course.
🔥 The Kingdom of Copper is in no way young adult. In book one characters were 20 something years old already (and older), in book two the plot picks up after five years later from the book's one events. Which was a bummer if you ask me! I am opposed to big-time jumps in my books because I feel disconnected from the storyline and frightened of the things that might've happened during those five years we - readers- missed. And here we: a lot of considerable changes happened, one of the important ones: the heroine got married! Now, I get that it was an inevitable move in five years time, but I hate it with my whole heart!
🔥 The Kingdom of Copper is really hard on politics. Now, I don't read a lot of adult fantasy because of the hard intricacies of politics and the world. Yes, I prefer my books to be harder on a fantasy aspect and less hard on the political aspect. Don't get me wrong, I love me good political intrigue in a book, but when you have to read almost 700 pages of politics you kind of get bored or annoyed or both. It felt like the story lost its magic and charm. The characters hardened so much I didn't recognize them! And I hated those five years gape which disconnected me from my beloved characters.
🔥 The Kingdom of Copper turned from star-crossed lovers to four-sides-lovers (it's my fancy way to announce a love square). It's a mess and I want to make a facepalm every time I think about the romance part. I hate Nahri's husband because he's a despicable sand fly who uses Nahri but loves another man. I would forgive him that - because I get that he didn't have a say in this marriage - if he wasn't also a palace-slut who sleeps with any skirt he can find. The situation is worsened by the fact that Nahri kind of likes her husband and tries really hard to find common ground with him, and he always shuts her out. So yeah, I am sorry-not-sorry for my slut-shaming of that characters. Then there's Ali who had a beautiful friendship with Nahri but now we find out that he actually feels more? And it's thrown in our faces like the fact we have to accept. Why the fuck can't we have a normal woman-man friendship without turning it into a fucking romance?!
These are the three enormous pillars of destruction and ruination of my fascination with this series. Of course, things are complicated (when they are not?!) and the last 20% of the book make me hopefull things might get better? Doubtful but hopeful? I am in a state when I am torn between loving and hating the series. So I will let book 3 be the judge and prosecutor of my final decision.