CW: Violence, murder, excessive drinking/alcoholism, mention of self-harm, death of a few side characters, mass murder, segregation, racism, gore.*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review*
Full review originally posted on my blog: Word Wonders
Question: What do you do when you read your most anticipated book ever and it turns out to be your favourite book ever?
Answer: You cry. You just cry and cry and cry.
Seriously , it’s almost been a month since I’ve finished The Kingdom of Copper at the time where I’m writing this review, and it’s still consuming my every thought. HOW DO I MOVE ON FROM A BOOK THAT’S RUINED ME? I still don’t compute how it managed to surpass my expectations by so much when they were already through the roof and I have no clue how to write this review.
The writing is absolutely exquisite just like in The City of Brass. It immersed me right back into the story and the world from the very first few sentences, that’s just how atmospheric and magical it is. The description are also incredibly immersive, they feel like a living thing, a character of their own, I could easily imagine myself in every scene of the book, feeling myself between its pages, so much so that I found myself thinking “I need to go back and finish the movie…oh…wait no, it’s a book”. It’s my favourite book. It’s the book that’s caused my downfall. *cries*.
The Kingdom of Copper picks up five years after the end of The City of Brass which I didn’t expect and shook me when I started reading but it worked so wonderfully for the story. It gave time to things that needed to happen and develop and would’ve made for boring storytelling and taken up unnecessary page space to happen organically and for the story to pick up at a point where more crucial-to-the-plot things happen. And that is an incredibly smart move on the author’s part if you ask me. Because it made this book the strongest, mind-blowing sequel I’ve ever read. It made it the best book I’ve ever read, period.
Starting my read I thought I knew everything there was to know about the world, that I was well armed to face anything Chakraborty decides to throw at me because it doesn’t get any worse than the first book, and well… I’M BOO BOO THE FOOL! The world is complex and so deeply studied and detailed that the more I read the more I learned and the more I realized how little I actually knew. There are so many layers to the world, the history, the plot, the characters, the politics, the secrets, that I just kept flipping page after page desperate to know more, to know everything.
What I loved most is that this book expanded outside Daevabad. And I know what you’re going to say, the first book did as well. But not in the same way. Whereas that one was a journey book, this one scattered our main characters and we got to see other places as more than a passing by scenery. And we also see more of Daevabad, learn more about each specific quarters and their inhabitants as well as the flimzy relationships and shaky peace between all of them.
The plot of The Kingdom of Copper is a lot more intricate and fast paced than that of The City of Brass and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. It’s just so heart stopping, head spinning and I honest to God did not catch a break for the whole 600+ pages. And I don’t mean that every second of it is a battle, not at all, but there’s this tension and sense of urgency through it all that made me feel like something would go wrong in the next page, the next sentence I read. It’s still highly relying on the politics and scheming and if you ask me, that’s the best thing. Because every character is calculating, not knowing who to really trust, always watching their backs and OOF the stress.
While being a high fantasy story, The Kingdom of Copper also manages to tackle some very human, very timely topics and that’s reason #57583292 it’s my favourite book. First off, we have racism and segregation, the Shafit who are mixed between Jinn and humans are treated like dirt by most “pureblood” Jinns and the author doesn’t just mention that in surface level, she also digs deep and explores in gritty detail the workings and repercussions of such discrimination in that Jinn society. Don’t get me wrong, this is a thing in the first book as well, but with the political climate changing, bigots start getting louder and more violent, which… is a horrifying mirror copy of our current world.
Then at the center of the book is an incredible exploration of human motivations, especially revenge, and how far people who are consumed by it can be willing to go to achieve their plot, even if their purpose starts off noble, it twists it and turns it until they’re willing to go to any lengths, even the most obscure ones to get their vengeance. In addition to that, it talks and shows extensively how people’s actions don’t exist inside a vacuum and can and do affect other people, even those who seem far away and removed from a situation as first glance.
In this second installment of The Daevabad trilogy, we have an additional point of view, which you might or might know who it is (you should know, it’s obvious), and having that was definitely…enlightening. With three point of views, all of them scattered in different places, at least at first, we get a much wider look at what’s happening as well as a more rounded backstory of the characters as well as the historical events that led to the world to being what it is in the story.
As I said, this is a five year jump into the future, so naturally characters have changed and matured (while still being the lovable messy dumbasses we know and love), they’re so three dimensional and well crafted that you can see that time has passed through their actions, while still being the same at their core. They’re more guarded, more jaded, less naive, and have a bit of wisdom about them.
And at the center of all this growth is Nahri. I am thoroughly, hopelessly and irrevocably in love with her. I did love her in the first book but if you’ve read my review of that one, she wasn’t my favourite character, now she is, my favourite in this series and hands down my favourite female character of all time. She’s just a phenomenal character. Still the pragmatic sometimes selfish girl we met and loved in book one but in this one she understands that her purpose is bigger than she is and acts accordingly. She’s strong and grows confident and comfortable in her powers while still acknowledging her weaknesses and that she still has a lot to learn. She’s also SO DONE with the men all around her trying to make decisions for her and I LIVED for that, she was so fierce in the face of that and knew when to defend herself and when to hold back. She still miscalculated and made mistakes though.
Ali on the other hand is the exact same fool. While he’s grown too and became less preachy and sees the world as more than his previous black/white dichotomy, but if anything he’s just grown more set in his ways and convictions, but he lost his idealism. Eventhough he still struggles taming down his views when all they do is create more trouble for him, something about the way he approached them was different, in The City of Brass he spoke a lot because he had a bit of aloofness to him whereas in this one he has more of “I have nothing to lose and this cause it bigger than I am” to his actions. And I adored him more as well.
Dara is one I…have more of a complicated relationship with. OF COURSE, I still love him because I’m trash, but I didn’t love his actions and the way he lost what drove him in the first book. But the thing is it was the perfect thing for his character at this point in the story, with how things progressed, his belief system and undying devotion to the Nahids, every single one of his actions made sense. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. So I couldn’t even hate what was done to his character, because it was right and anything else would’ve been off. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get frustrated with him and the fact that he lost his fire, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t yell at him to square up both internally ande externally. I still love him though. I still love him. *cries*
And that ending? THAT ENDING? I’M SUPPOSED TO BE OKAY AFTER THE AUTHOR PULLED THAT STUNT? I’M JUST SUPPOSED TO LIVE ON AS IF NOTHING HAPPENED? I’M SUPPOSED TO WAIT OVER A YEAR FOR THE NEXT BOOK AND TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO MY FAVOURITES? *takes deep breath* It’s fine. It’s okay. I’m okay. (narrator: she was not okay) Reply