The Empire of Gold, S. A. Chakraborty – Book Review

Hello Humans.

How am I supposed to write a coherent review for this book? No really, how?

If you haven’t encountered this series before then I highly suggest going back to the beginning and checking out The City of Brass and then the sequel The Kingdom of Copper because this is a trilogy not to be missed.

Potential spoilers ahead for books one and two, but spoiler-free for The Empire of Gold.

Empire of gold

Goodreads Summary:

The final chapter in the bestselling, critically acclaimed Daevabad Trilogy, in which a con-woman and an idealistic djinn prince join forces to save a magical kingdom from a devastating civil war.

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

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Cards on the table, I was terrified to read this final instalment of the Daevabad trilogy, how could it possibly live up to the amazing first and second books? But I knew I had to find out how this story ended so I pulled on my big girl pants and got to reading.

Sidebar: I had the audiobooks for the first two books and I highly recommend that format especially if these books seem a little daunting to you. They are exceptionally well narrated. 

One of the real strengths of this series is the characters. For a story so epic and sprawling, the cast of characters doesn’t actually feel too huge, and the fact that there are only two or three perspectives means that it’s always clear who’s story is important. As a person who struggles to keep track of multiple POV books and epic fantasy with a lot of politics, I never felt lost in this narrative – so much so that I actually think it would be possible to pick this book up even with a long gap between reading the previous book and now – not something you often find with epic fantasy. These characters are all amazingly written, they have their strengths and their failings and, despite the fact that there are 101 other things going on in this book, Chakraborty manages to give them some intense character growth within this book.

That’s probably one of the things that impresses me most about this series as a whole if you handed me The City of Brass and then had me read the final few chapters of The Empire of Gold like some kind of bookish sadist then it would probably blow my tiny mind as to how on earth the story got to that place. But across the whole story everything just makes sense, pieces fall into place just as they need to and it’s hugely satisfying – especially given how many books have had endings that just fall flat. Whichever aspect of this story you are invested in – I think you’ll find something satisfying in this conclusion.

Now, I read this in a day, because apparently, I am a bookish masochist, but I’ve heard from a couple of other people that it can drag a bit towards the middle – which I can imagine, but the ending is very good so I would say persevere! I think it will in part depend on which characters you are invested in – and what aspects of the world you want to find out about.

I just…adored this series from start to finish – and I couldn’t have been happier with the ending than I was. It was pretty much everything I like in fantasy rolled into one. I genuinely can’t wait to read what comes next from this author – and now I have to go and find a new trilogy to obsess over in the meantime!

My rating: 5/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy from the publisher via NetGalley – all opinions are my own.

The Empire of Gold comes out June 11th

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Let me know if/when you need emotional support after reading this book!

J

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