The Daevabad Trilogy 03: The Empire of Gold

The Daevabad Trilogy 03: The Empire of Gold

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

Review

Thanks to NetGalley for a providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I probably liked this book least in the series, but I think for the reasons that most people are going to be very happy with the conclusion of the trilogy. I was disappointed to see this adult book series that deals with difficult topics and a bloody war conclude with a very neat & tidy Disney ending. I’m sure many readers will be thrilled that all the main characters have happy endings, but for me it came off as incredibly unrealistic. And Manizheh, who had been a nuanced villain in the previous book, just becomes a charactercher of evil in this one. I am glad this was the last book as Chakraborty’s own established (very interesting) magic rules were starting to become pretty fuzzy around the edges to conveniently keep characters around.

I also wasn’t thrilled with some of the “big reveals” in this book because they just undid previous ones. I find using a reveal that goes like this: “Remember how you thought A, but then discovered it was B? Ha! It was really C all along!” to be on the lazier side of writing. I found one of the reveals that did this to be particularly irritating as the only purpose it seemed to serve was to further the “Nahri is actually perfect” narrative.

I think this could have been a really powerful story if Chakraborty had been able to commit to more difficult decisions for her characters. However, I will say that she did do a good job of closing this chapter of Daevabad while leaving it naturally open for another series and I would not necessarily be against reading that.