God, this is one of those books that you know, logically, you should wait to read till the entire series comes out but you can’t help yourself, it’s so freaking good! The main problem with not waiting is that this is a densely populated, highly political series, so it’s easy to lose track of characters and titles and even events, especially if you’re bad at remembering minutiae like I am. It is rather an Islamic fantasy version of A Game Of Thrones in that respect, and as with that other series, I spent a good amount of time looking things up on the Internet that I’d absolutely forgotten from preceding books (and thank you to all those who toil to update such websites for less retentive readers like myself.)
As to The Kingdom Of Copper itself! Once I finally felt that I was comfortably immersed in the setting again, it just flew along, as Nahri builds a life as the Banu Nahida, primary healer and theoretical leader of the Daeva tribe based in the City Of Brass, Daevabad itself. Married to the hedonistic Crown Prince Muntadhir of the city’s ruling Geziri tribe, in a political alliance meant to consolidate the power of the ruthless King Ghassan, Nahri spends her days healing the djinn of the city, regardless of tribe — exhausting work considering she has only the one infirmary and herself. When she discovers the ruins of a Nahid hospital in the city, she begins to make plans to not only expand her medical offices but also to recruit more healers, magical or otherwise. Her disregard of her team’s ancestry will quickly spark consternation and worse.
Meanwhile, Prince Ali, Muntadhir’s good-hearted but annoyingly self-righteous younger brother, is in exile in Am Gezira, narrowly escaping assassins but discovering hidden wells of power. And the powerful djinn he destroyed in the first book, Darayavahoush, the last of the Afshin and beloved protector of Nahri, may not be as dead as previously advertised.
There are plots and magic and warfare aplenty as factions vie for power in Daevabad, swinging the influence of entire tribes to further their own aims, no matter how selfish or destructive. Nahri, Muntadhir and Ali are all good, flawed people trying their best to protect their city and its inhabitants even as others are happy to sacrifice the lives of innocents for power and, even more disgustingly, racial purity. I already cared deeply for these characters from The City Of Brass, and my emotions only strengthened with this novel. I mean, I cried buckets during the scene in the palace when Dara finally got his hands on Ali. While I’m not Team Dara (and he’s certainly not the main reason I cried,) I very much appreciate S. A. Chakraborty’s ability to make the bad guy someone whose motivations are both extremely complex and utterly understandable. I still don’t get how he was resurrected tho. If I’m being perfectly honest, the whole ifrit thing confuses me.
Anyway, now I have to wait another year at least to get my hands on the last book in the series and arrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhh. I loved that ending, what Nahri decided to do with the ring (and I loved how her street rat side finally got a chance to shine after years of respectable drudgery) and where she and Ali wound up, and oh my heart, Muntadhir! A year waiting for a book has never seemed so long! Is it weird to put Ms Chakraborty in my co-religionist prayers to ease her path towards completing the book? God is probably laughing at me as I type.