I’m finding this review really difficult to write because, if I’m being honest, I was a little disappointed in this book. But at the same time, it was still very good, and I don’t want to let my expectations or comparisons to previous books color my opinions too much.
The main thing was that this one didn’t have the political intrigue and everything that gave the other books so much great tension and interestingness and even humor. It was maybe too straightforward, in a way. These characters were doing this. These other characters were doing this. And yeah, there was gonna be a battle, but there was no tension in the build-up. It made the story feel slow, and I never had that “need to know what’ll happen” feeling.
I’m also not sure how I feel about the romance. *SPOILER* Nahri and Dara had more passion, whereas Nahri and Ali seemed more compatible in a way that can last. Except I don’t know if I really felt any romantic chemistry between them. I do, however, understand why she didn’t end up with Dara. *END SPOILER*
I loved when everyone came together though. There’s something so satisfying and kind of touching about everyone coming together for an epic battle.
I also think the ending, and how things ended for each character, was fitting for the story.
*SPOILER* Dara’s ending was the most bittersweet, but he made the right choice by leaving Daevabad. He spent his whole life being used, being pinned between a rock and a hard place. When he had chances to do better, he instead chose to keep defending Manizheh and being used and doing bad things. But does anyone really choose to keep being used? After so much manipulation and abuse, it was probably just easier and a comfort at that point to continue letting himself be led. Especially when his long-held beliefs and loyalties were mixed in there too. But ultimately, that still doesn’t excuse some of his actions. He made too many bad decisions. Hurt too many innocent people when he didn’t have to. But I was glad he did make the right choice in the end. And I’m glad he’s going to find some redemption in finding the slaves. *END SPOILER*
I was oddly proud of Muntadhir and Zaynab. Proud of how they stepped up. Proud of how they fought back. Muntadhir was always an interesting character and one I wasn’t entirely sure if I should like or not, but I did anyway. I would’ve liked getting to see more of him and all of his skill with politics and court intrigue.
The other characters were great too, I just don’t have any specific thoughts about them.
There was also some backstory and twists and bits of information revealed in this book, including some that’s been wondered at for a while but also some surprises.
Overall, though this didn’t quite continue the building intensity of the series or have the same kind of political intrigue and tension, it was still a great book. This author crafted an incredible, detailed djinn world and an amazing, complex story.
Fans of Books 1 and 2 in S.A. Chakraborty's Daevabad Trilogy. Anyone who likes djinn, detailed worlds, complex characters, and royal court politics.