This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
*note: This review will contain spoilers for book 1 & 2 in the Daevabad trilogy!
What is it about?
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. (goodreads)
Book: Empire of Gold | Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #3 | Author: S.A. Chakraborty | Publisher: HarperVoyager | 11.06.2020 | TW: death of loved one, blood, slavery, murder, manipulation
What did I think?
Writing this review is hard. It marks the end of one of my favourite series. And I loved it so much, I really struggle to put all those emotions into words. Words that are not just me rambling about how much I fell in love with the Daevabad trilogy. Words that are supposed to make actual sense. Believe me, if a review could just be a series of “aaaaaaah”s and some crying, this review would contain not much else. But words are needed. And I shall try my best.
Empire of Gold starts off right where book 2 ended. Ali and Nahri are literally stranded in Egypt, with Suleiman’s seal but no power. They are both struggling with their situation, the loss of magic and how they feel about returning to Daevabad. They need plans and allies. But they also have inner demons and own memories to deal with.
I loved how their relationship has developed over the first two books and it continues to do so beautifully in this one. They care deeply for each other, they already went through so much and they know that they might not survive what’s going to come. But they know, despite the enmities between their families and the differences between them, that they can count on each other. Their relationship is so wonderfully written, growing over a large amount of time, having its ups and downs. The two of them just share so much, their bond going so deep, uniting them in trauma and a strong friendship.
But I also loved Nahri and Ali individually. I wasn’t Ali’s biggest fan in the first book, but he really grew on me in Kingdom of Copper and I fell more and more in love with him while reading this one. He is a cinnamon roll, always trying to see the best in people and I am soft. How could I be dumb and not like him in City of Brass? Why?
And Nahri, my fierce Nahid. She’s still so stubborn and never holds back with her opinion. I love that so much about her. She’s so strong, getting back up when she’s down, and even when she has doubts, she usually does the right thing for everyone while still looking out for herself and caring for her own wants and needs, too. I loved reading both PoVs.
The third narrator of the story is Dara. Oh, Dara. My poor, poor, heart. While I love all of the protagonists in this series, if I had to pick a favourite, it would be Dara. Where Ali and Nahri’s chapter felt a bit like an adventure story, Dara’s chapters were dark and lanced with conflict. Dara is an incredibly complex character, constantly torn between what’s right for his rulers and what’s right for everyone else, between his guilt and conscience and the wish to finally end this war at all costs. Torn between living and dying. And that tore me apart, too. His emotions and feelings were described in such raw, sometimes hopeless ways, my heart broke and broke and broke for him. The things he had to go through in his long, long life. Nevertheless, his whole character arc was so well written and developed, it made sense. Even though he hurt and I hurt too.
I quite liked the contrast of Dara’s chapters and those of Nahri and Ali. This way, it was a good mixture of heavy content, a bit of fun, some romance, some friendship, light and dark and hope balancing each other wonderfully.
In my opinion, Empire of Gold was the perfect last book for this series. It did a great job of finding solutions for every character and beautifully enough, those solutions fit. While my heart wasn’t exactly happy with the outcome of everything, my rational mind surely is. The characters got the endings they deserved, and more, they got the endings that fit them. I felt both content and like nothing will ever fill that Daevabad shaped hole in my chest. I’m still not over it and it’s been a week. The whole series is just so good, so wonderful and each book has something unique with this one rounding it up perfectly. And I might reread the series soon because ugh, I just love it so much.