Title: Kingdom of Copper
Author: S. A. Chakaraborty
Series? Yes, 1 of 3
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Harper Voyager Australia in exchange for an honest review.
Note: This review will contain spoilers for the prequel, City of Brass. There will be no spoilers for Kingdom of Copper.
Kingdom of Copper is an enthralling sequel that took everything I loved about City of Brass and intensified it by tenfold. I emerged from this novel with new appreciation for every single character, and I completely convinced that the city of Daevabad exists – being so richly imagined and filled with complexities. Reading this book was an emotional journey I was not completely prepared for, so I have Aimal and Fadwa to thank for helping me hold onto my sanity as I made my way towards that heart-stopping end.
Nahri ended the last novel by smiling at her mark, the King of Daevabad. What I appreciated most about Kingdom of Copper was seeing how Nahri reclaimed her own narrative through the course of this novel. Although she was the protagonist of City of Brass, I felt that much of her agency was taken from her in the last book due to the machinations of those around her. Despite (or maybe due to) Dara’s absence from her side, Nahri took the reins of her story and worked to represent her people as Banu Nahida. Glimpses of her sharp wit and street-smart, remnants of her childhood in Cairo, are still present – but grounded with maturity. I came to love her so much more in Kingdom of Copper, and I loved that the book explored all of her relationships with depth.
I am ashamed to admit I did not love Ali after my first read of City of Brass. I am at a complete loss as to why because when I reread City of Brass in anticipation for Kingdom of Copper, this idealistic and awkward young prince quickly became my favourite character in the series. My love for him only deepened as I watched him navigate his relationships with Suleiman and Muntadhir after the events of City of Brass. Where my heartstrings were truly tugged was in Ali’s interactions with Zaynab and Hatset, his mother. Not to mention how this book explored his friendship with Nahri and how the damaged trust between them continue to haunt their relationship.
With this book, another point of view gets added to the mix – fully fleshing out this world and all the conflicting political interests within it. The individual voices within this novel are so distinct that I could always tell who was narrating, even when I listened to the audiobook (which had a single voice actor). While I disagreed with many of the choices this third character made, I could always understand where they were coming from given their history. Their chapters are some of the darkest in this book, and I am glad to see that the book continues to pull no punches when it comes to making us question our presumptions and challenge the belief that morality is black and white.
While I loved City of Brass, I did felt the drag in pacing at the beginning third of the book. Kingdom of Copper is a whole different beast, captivating at every turn and kept me listening to the audiobook well past by work night curfew. The characters, especially Ali and Nahri, resonated with me so strongly with this book that I was spellbound by every word, determined to find out what S. A. Chakraborty had in-store for them (The answer? Heartbreak, and a lot of it. Steel yourselves, readers.). Their thoughts and stories are so ingrained into my being, I still catching myself thinking about them every other day. Needless to say, I cannot wait for Empire of Gold to be released.
Have you began this epic series? Who is your favourite character? How did you think Kingdom of Copper compared to the first book? Let me know in the comments below!