Book Recommendations, Muslim Shelf Space, The Daevabad Trilogy

Why You Should All Read The Daevabad Trilogy By S.A. Chakraborty

So it’s no secret that I adore The Daevabad trilogy. If you follow me on my social media I scream about it ALL THE TIME. But guys, I have very good reasons to scream about it! The books are phenomenal, they really are!

I have not been so wholly obsessed with a book series since my teenage years of Harry Potter and making my dad take me to the midnight launches and devouring the books in a day. My only wish now is that there is midnight launches for The Empire of Gold because you best believe I would be there so excited that it would look like that I just poured a whole bottle of coffee down my throat.

So back to why I love these books, well there’s lots of reasons and I’m going to share some of them in this post and hopefully it will make you want to read it too!

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1 Shannon has written some absolutely amazing Muslim rep. The nuanced and complex ways in which she writes the Muslim characters are so beautifully done. I love that Alizayd’s religious belief’s push him to try bring social justice for all in Daevabad. Social justice is a huge part of Islam and one that we hardly ever see in media. I also loved that she made her male main character deeply devout yet still a great person, too often young men are shown as radicals and terrorists and it was refreshing to see something different and much closer to the reality of a lot of Muslim men.

Shannon also shows how Muslims are so vast and varying in their levels of practice yet it is possible for them to get along but she also shows the tension between those people. Muslim’s are human after all and no one is perfect. I also loved how praying and the azaan and Nahri wearing an abaya was completely normal throughout the books. And using Arabic terminology that is common amongst all Muslims, for example, Assalamualaikum which is how Muslims greet each other.

2 The world building is extraordinary and so incredibly intricate and detailed. You can become fully immersed in the world as if you’re right there with the characters. The sights, the smells, the tastes, you can practically experience it yourself. The world itself is so detailed and so fast with jinns living all over the world and coming from varying cultures and traditions yet it is so easy to distinguish between them all.

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3 I love how she shows that each and every female character is different and unique yet they all show strength in their own way. They are all badasses and I love them all. From our main character, Nahri, who is smart and calculating to Zainab who is witty, patient and wise beyond her years and Hatset who is a literal queen and cares so much for her family.

They all hold their own when faced with men who hold all the power and are often the voice of reason when some of the male characters are about to do something crazy. And despite them not always being on the same page they do support each other when it’s required, rather than using the opportunity to tear the other down.

4 Shannon has created a villain who is complex and we see so many different sides of him that I go from rooting for him to wanting him dead and it honestly gave me whiplash. He is clearly the villain but he also loves his son’s and wants what’s best for his people but the ways he goes about it, is totally not okay and we see him slowly become more and more afraid of losing his power and that makes him commit worse and worse atrocities. Yet we know he wasn’t always like this. I love how layered and complex he is.

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5 This book is an adult fantasy so it isn’t as fast paced as a YA book yet it never feels like there is a dull moment. Shannon’s writing is so incredible that you are completely hooked from the beginning and you enjoy every single second of being in the world. And Shannon does not include anything irrelevant, trust me, every single thing is important. The way she drops in things that you don’t think much of but later when you read the plot twist, it blows your mind! You think you what is happening but you don’t, trust me!

Also just to warn you that if you’re looking for a happy book then this is not for you. This book will make you suffer, it will rip your heart to shreds then run it over but…you will love every second of it.

6 Every single character is so complex and layered and have great character arcs throughout the books. But what I loved was that while they learn and grown the change isn’t a sudden shift we often see in books, the way they deal with events that happen, their emotional wellbeing is portrayed so realistically that you can completely relate to them. Which makes you feel for every character even more, even if you don’t particularly like the character you still feel for them. You want to root for them all. She has written wonderfully diverse characters!

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7 One of my favourite things in the book is the friendship between the two main characters, Nahri and Alizayd. They are both nerds and geek out over things while other people roll their eyes. One of my favourite scenes in The City of Brass is the scene where they are literally geeking out in the library. They teach other so much, Nahri teaching about the human world and Alizayd teaching her how to control her powers better. Despite them having secrets that they must hide from each other their friendship grows to be so strong and I just loved it so much!

8 Lastly, a reason why I love the book is that you can literally read it again and again and still love it as much, if not even more, than you did the first time. I’ve read both books multiple times and I fall in love a little more with each reread. Especially as you pick up more details that you may have missed the first time.

So basically I adore these books and I am incredibly excited and afraid to read The Empire of Gold because I need to know what will happen next but also it will be the last new material we get in this story and I am so incredibly sad about that.

I highly recommend reading these books and if you want to read my reviews you can The City of Brass one here and The Kingdom of Copper one here.

Let me know if you read the books and why you love them

Book Events, Muslim Shelf Space, The Daevabad Trilogy

Meeting Shannon Chakraborty – Waterstones Event

So on Wednesday I was finally able to meet Shannon Chakraborty! To say that I was excited would be an understatement! I was literally buzzing all day and poor Anisha and Gillian had to deal with me screaming at them in caps lock after the event. Get yourself bookstabesties like them who tolerate this lol

Anyways, the event was AMAZING! Honestly it’s my favourite event I’ve been to! Even my husband really enjoyed himself which is an achievement as he normally gets bored as he’s not a fiction fan but Shannon had him hooked as she spoke about Muslim rep and of course his favourite topic, jinns!

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The event started by Shannon reading a non-spoilery excerpt from Empire of Gold which is from the point of view from a certain Afshin. It gave everyone chills. It was a flashback to how everything started for him!

She spoke about my faves Alizayd and Nahri and about Ghassan and complicated family relationships. She spoke about how her background in Islamic history is what inspired the world.

She spoke about how it was important to her to write about Alizayd and that he is a young Muslim boy who is deeply devout and passionate about social justice for everyone regardless of social status. Social justice is a big part of Alizayd and Shannon being a convert to Islam, the social justice is what drew her to the religion. I also loved learning that she was basically Alizayd in her teen years!

I really loved the discussion around the Qahtani siblings. Their relationship is so complicated because of their political positions so it makes their sibling relationship so complex. Muntadhir is the Amir and Ali is the second son who is a trained soldier and this makes him a threat to Muntadhir. Ali and Muntadhir also have very different views on how to run Daevabad which makes them rivals.

But they both love each other and try to protect each other too. Zaynab is the one who ends up as the peacemaker between them. She spoke about how their relationship is inspired by her wanting to explore how Princes in history, who were brothers and loved each other, ended up rebelling against each other. That the sisters would often play peacemaker. It just creates even more depth to this wonderful story!

One of the most interesting characters in this story is Ghassan. He is such a complex and layered character that you hate and love him and want to scream at him and emphasise with him all at the same time. She spoke about how he is corrupt leader mirroring those real leaders we have seen. They believe that what they’re doing is for the good of their people. They will oppress and subjugate other people to “protect” their own, just like Ghassan does. Then over the years he slowly became more and more power hungry and it becomes about keeping that power. And he lets the fear control his actions. He is the same way with his children, he clearly loves them all but will also use them as political pawns.

The last character she spoke about is Nahri. She told us how initially Nahri was a straight cut character and only became a con artist much later. She wanted to explore how, an orphan with abilities that would frighten those around her, that grew up in a time where kinship and family was an important part of the culture would be. Nahri is an extremely distrustful person because of how she grew up and just because she was taken to Daevabad she wouldn’t be able to change that part of her so easily. That’s why even in The Kingdom of Copper she still isn’t comfortable in her role as a leader of a tribe and living there even though she has embraced the healer side of her.

She spoke about how her background in Islamic medieval history has inspired the world and the politics and family dynamics. Listening to her speak made me appreciate even more just how much research she did to build the world. It is so incredibly detailed even in aspects of the characters that I didn’t even initially consider!

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Lastly we were able to ask her questions and when I spoke to her I spoke about how I’m part of the discord chat and she was so lovely to talk to! I spoke to her about our many theories and her response was to smile with eyes twinkling and man she killed me! I am hoping that some of our theories are correct!

Anyways I could go on forever about how lovely Shannon is and how much I adore these books! But that’s all from me!

If you were at the event or have met her do let me know!

PS. You can read my review for The City of Brass here and my review for The Kingdom of Copper here

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – Auto Buy Authors

Hey booknerds! I’m taking part in another week of Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. You can find more information here

So this week is all about authors that as soon as they announce a book you already need it.

Do I know what it’s about? Nope. Do I still need it? Yep.

Everyone has authors who without fail you adore their books so when they announce new books you’re already majorly excited and pre-order the book as soon as it is available.

So these are my absolute favourite authors who I will buy the book faster than my husband can say no!

1 S.A. Chakraborty – It’s no secret how much I adore The City of Brass trilogy and the last book isn’t even out yet. But let me tell you right now that I will buy every single thing Shannon writes. I have not been so thoroughly obsessed with a series since my teenage Harry Potter obsession.

2 Leigh Bardugo – I adore the Grishaverse! Six of Crows is one of my favourite duologies ever! And I am in desperate need of the second book after the ending of King of Scars!

3 Muhammad Khan – I have loved both of his books! He has written about such important issues and I really loved the way he handled them so I am definitely looking forward to reading his next book!

4 Sabaa Tahir – Her books are heartbreaking and soul crushing and I love them!

5 Renee Ahdieh – I have adored both her duologies which features diverse cultures and swoon worthy characters and her beautiful writing and I am already excited for her next book.

6 Uzma Jalaluddin – She wrote the retelling of my dreams and surpassed all expectations and I cannot wait to see what she writes next

7 Aisha Saeed – Both of her books deal with important issues which unfortunately still occur today and issues I am passionate about so it was no surprise that I not only adored the books but read them in one sitting.

8 Rick Riordan – He writes amazingly diverse books with such wonderful rep and I have loved every single one of his books!

9 Nafiza Azad – Her debut book was so beautifully written with such wonderful characters that I am already excited for her next story.

10 S.K. Ali – I loved both of her books and now she’s writing a sequel to her debut and I cannot wait for it! Her halal love story was so beautifully written and had me grinning like an idiot!

So these are my auto buy authors, books I will buy as soon as they are announced and read as soon as they release!

Who are your auto buy authors?

Book Tag, Booksish Discussions

Top 5 Authors I Would Love To Meet

So I saw this post over on Lauren’s blog and I thought I would write one too as there are so many authors I wish would come to the UK and by UK I mean outside of London.

You can read Lauren’s post here

So I have actually been quite lucky over the last few years that I have been able to meet quite a few authors. Leigh Bardugo being the very first author I met back in 2016, though I do hope I get to meet her again! I’ve also met authors such as, Alwyn Hamilton, Samantha Shannon, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black and Angie Thomas to name a few!

But there are some that I would absolutely love to meet but either haven’t been able to go to the event or they haven’t come to the UK, so these are the authors on the top of my list that I would fangirl so hard if I ever got to meet them:

V.E. Schwab

I know right? I have never been able to meet her despite her doing several UK tours. One day, hopefully! I adore all her books though The Monsters of Verity is my favourite! I randomly picked it up one day at the library because the cover looked interesting and I am so glad I did!

Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles are one of my all time favourite series and I would squeal so loud if I ever got to meet her! Her characters are some of my favourites, I especially love that they are so different from each other and that she shows different qualities in what makes them amazing. From Cinder being a mechanic to Cress being a tech nerd. Cress is also a fangirl and I loved that she wrote her like that!

Renee Ahdieh

Her books are some of my favourites and I feel like her events would be so much fun! Her writing is so lush and beautiful and I would love to hear her talk about how she retells these stories giving it such a beautiful twist. Not to mention the incredibly romantic and complete cinnamon roll of male characters she writes. I mean have you met Khalid? *swoon*

Sabaa Tahir

Another author who I think would be so much fun to meet and listen to at book events! Pretty sure she would kill us with teasers about her books. And if her IG stories are anything to go buy she is so sarcastic and funny and it would be so cool to hear her speak at an event.

S.A. Chakraborty

It’s no secret that I am OBSESSED with her Daevabad trilogy, so let me tell you that if she came to the UK and I could meet her, I would actually die of joy! Yup, I would die happy if I could meet her and tell her how much her characters and her story means to me. It’s been a long time since I have so completely fallen in love with a book like this!

So these are my top 5. Have you met any of them? Who would you love to meet?

Adult Books, Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, The Daevabad Trilogy

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – ARC Review

The City of Brass was my favourite book last year and I read it multiple times, so I had high expectations for this book, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! I absolutely adored this book, it was as amazing as The City of Brass and now I will spend all year dying in anticipation for the final book in the trilogy.

As this is the second book in the trilogy there will be some spoilers from what has happened in The City of Brass. If you haven’t read the first book then you need to go read it! You can also find my review of The City of Brass here.

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Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goddreads:

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family and one misstep will doom her tribe.
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid-the unpredictable water spirits-have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

If you follow me on my social media then you know how much and how often I fangirl about the first book. I love everything about it, from the characters to the phenomenal world building to the insane plot twists! So I was really nervous about picking up The Kingdom of Copper as I didn’t want to be disappointed. But damn, this book is as amazing as the first and I know I’m going to be rereading both books again and again this year. I just can’t get enough!

Shannon’s writing is amazing and will keep you hooked, wanting to read just one more chapter until you end up staying up all night reading. I literally had to force myself to stop reading and go to bed and even though I actually read the book in January I am still thinking about it a month later. It is intense and so much happens right from the beginning. There’s plenty of political intrigue which I love seeing as it really built up the tension.

There are again lots of characters, including Ali’s mum, Hatset and Ali’s new friends. I loved them so much! I really enjoy seeing lots of different characters included in the story as you really get a feel of what it is like living in Daevabad from so many different perspectives. Every character is written so well, even characters we only see for a short period of time, they all have their own secrets, there’s double-crosses and ulterior motives and you can’t trust anyone!

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Of course, Ali is my favourite, he’s my cinnamon roll and I will protect him at all costs! He has to deal with his new abilities, thanks to the marid, and spending everyday looking over his shoulder because he was exiled and so as an ex-prince is constantly having to deal with assassins who would love to kill him for the Daevas. But because of his new abilities he has become a valuable member of the geziri tribe out in the desert because of his ability to find water so they protect him. I loved how passionate he is about trying to bring justice to the oppressed shafits but I wish he could learn to be more diplomatic. Shannon is out to destroy my heart with the amount of suffering she puts Alizayd through.

“Alizayd al Qahtani didn’t make it a month with his caravan.”

Let me tell you how much of a badass Nahri is, she has had to live in a very difficult situation, married to someone who she does not wish to be with and she can’t even leave the palace without being punished. Yet she still remains hopeful and does everything within her power to help her people and even try to change their minds about prejudices against the shafits. She decides to build a hospital and employ shafit healers with the help of Alizayd. And she has to battle the king to ensure this happens. She is smart and resourceful and resilient. And she doesn’t back down when the king tries to assert her power. Gahh! I love her so much!

“I need to put some men in their place”

Dara also had a few chapters from his point of view and well, I still don’t like him. Although it will be interesting to see what he does in the next book because of everything that happens at the end of this one. I am also looking forward to seeing more of Fatima, we did see more of her in this book and I really liked her in this. Much more than I did in The City of Brass.

Okay so I could go on forever about how much I love this book and this trilogy, so I’m just going to say that you all need to go read this book! And when you’ve read it, I shall be ready and waiting to fangirl with you!