Title: The Kingdom of Copper
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Series: The Daevabad Trilogy, #2
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: January 22nd 2019
**Contains spoilers for The City of Brass!**
S.A. Chakraborty’s delivers another imaginative and extraordinary story with The Kingdom of Copper, the second novel in the Daevabad Trilogy. Following the events of the first book, Nahri, once a street thief, is fully immersed in Daevabad’s royal court. As the last surviving Nahid, Nahri has been named the Banu Nahid, healer and leader to her people. Ali, prince of Daevabad, has been exiled, but circumstances force him to return to his home, a place he is no longer welcome. Nahri and Ali both must navigate the moods of a tyrannical king while trying to protect the most vulnerable in the city. But they must do so alone as their friendship was severed the moment Ali cut down Nahri’s Afshin, Dara. Five years have past, but the hurt still remains. Daevabad is already on the brink of a civil war as tensions between the tribes and the shafit inhabitants comes to a head, but it is an unexpected player from outside that threatens to bring the city to its knees.
Chakraborty writes some of the most mesmerizing characters I’ve ever come across in a fantasy. Nahri’s very existence challenges many of the preconceived ideas the people of Daevabad have. She grew up without family and without ties to her heritage. Accidentally summoning a daeva led her to another world where djinn rule and while this knowledge led to Nahri gaining power, the most important discovery for her has been learning more about her family. Still, there are a lot of secrets in this city, and no secret is benign. Despite being at odds with people with enormous amounts of power, Nahri isn’t afraid to challenge them. Though her allies are few, she’s always thinking ahead and is willing to take the path less traveled if it means keeping power out of the hands of those who would readily abuse it.
I had issues with Ali in the first novel like his need to always play the hero, which got him into all kinds of trouble, and his naivete, which led him astray on many occasions. Ali, five years older, is more mature and maybe a little humbler. He is returning to the father that cast him aside and a brother who is less than welcoming. Still, he hasn’t lost his moral code and in a place where shafit, offspring of humans and djinn, are mistreated, Ali is one of the few djinn who will stand up for them. Unfortunately this often pits him against his father the king and more recently the heir and Ali’s brother, Muntadhir. This latter relationship has shifted from the first book and although Mundahir has been loyal to the family name, it is clear that Ali exhibits characteristics that would make him the better leader, something that does not go unnoticed by their father and which sows even more animosity between the brothers.
Dara has always been my favorite in this series. His life has been devoted to service, both voluntarily and compulsory. His connection with Nahri was completely unexpected and ultimately led to him being severed from her. Dara’s greatest strength is his loyalty but it’s also his greatest weakness. He’s been used over and over again as someone else’s weapon and though he may want to escape from the endless battles, he’s still willing to sacrifice freedom for someone else’s cause. As complex as these leads are, Chakraborty still infuses just as much intricacy into her secondary characters. I can’t think of a single flat character and continually marvel at how well Chakraborty juggles all of these different personalities in a consistent and compelling way.
The Kingdom of Copper is full of political machinations, dangerous secrets, and flawed characters whose foolhardy beliefs may spell doom for them all. This sequel is can’t-miss and I am counting down the days until we get the finale.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★