I have to say, up front, that I saw ‘The City of Brass‘ on book shelves quite a few times before I took the plunge and picked it up on a wayward trip through Traverse City, MI (shout-out to Horizon Books!). Its cover always gripped me, with its mysterious golden fire and Arabic stylings, but I’d always had a backlog a mile long and passed it over. Until I couldn’t really resist it anymore and took the plunge.

One of the things you’re supposed to do as a writer is read all over the place. Check out different genres, look for things that can expand your own understandings of the written word, how characters work, how plot functions. It’s easy to find genre comfort food – and I love genre comfort food! – but taking a step outside the well-trod paths doesn’t have to mean reinventing everything.

What ‘The City of Brass’ and writer S.A. Chakraborty do is craft a world that I (which might be my fault) haven’t seen before. Unlike someone making up their own fantasy language, the words in this book reach back millennia. The creatures, the mythology, even as it’s invented, carries with a weight that things made up out of whole cloth often don’t. Djinn, Ifrit, and plenty of other beings conjure up a world not often seen in stories, and I was enchanted throughout. The primary characters giving us our view into the world serve as fun guides, too, with plenty of faults, harrowing situations, and fantasy staples that nonetheless glitter in these new trappings.

The Daevabad Trilogy, as its called, is nearly done (the conclusion is up for pre-order now) and I’m launching into the second book now. If you’re looking for a new fantasy read, I’d definitely check this one out. It’s like going to your favorite bar and asking for a new cocktail from a bartender that knows you well – it’ll be a little different from the usual, but it’s still going to be oh-so-good.

In other random news, because I missed Monday’s post doing, well, new dad things – lemme tell you, kiddos are amazing, and they are also amazing time-sinks – you still have a few days to snag Champion’s Call at its cheaper pre-order price. I’m still dancing through this sci-fi novel too, which is getting a little insane in its final third, but hey, what endings are sane, I ask you?

Anyway, happy Wednesday, friends. Hope all is well.

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