The Empire of Gold – S.A. Chakraborty ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Couldn’t have asked for a better end to this triology!

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 death of his people 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. Though Nahri is finding peace in the rhythms of her old 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.

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.

After finishing Kingdom of Copper and THAT cliffhanger, I was desperate to read Empire of Gold.

Empire of Gold picks right back up where Kingdom of Copper finished off. We start with a prologue from Manizheh who has a beautiful and heartbreaking card up her sleeve regarding her daughter. This first chapter, while giving an insight into Manizheh and her plans for Daevabad, sets the tone for this book in promising a devastating and action packed story.

As with the previous two books, the storytelling is sublime. Each character is rich and tangible and the world so descriptive, you can imagine it in your mind. I love that within this book we see some other stories develop further with characters that were passing mentions in the other two books. I wanted more of the fiery Queen Hatset and we got it as well as introducing some rather interesting new characters like Fiza and Sobek.

We’re back in Cairo in this book which feels like a beautiful full circle for Nahri, having trained as a healer back in the Nahid hospital to be back on the streets where we first met her, in a place that she calls home. We also pay a visit to the famed Ta Ntry and a few other places where mentioning will spoil the story!

I really feel for Nahri, having been dragged to a magical city and trying to fit in while dealing with both Djinn and Shafit heritage. As a Nahid, she belongs in Daevabad but as the little thief, she belongs in Egypt. She is torn, much like many of our heroes in stories between duty and what her heart wants. She goes through many revelations in this conclusion and my heart was aching for her. She handles everything brilliantly and always looks to the bigger picture and allows herself small moments of joy. She is a unique character and I love her wit and heart.

Daevabad itself is in civil war, each tribe separated and locked behind their gates after the conclusion of Kingdom of Copper. The Geziri’s suffering the most due to Manizheh’s vapour which decimated their population, that was only a taste of what she is capable of. Each leader thinks that they are doing what is right for the people negating the fact that an equally cruel tyrant has taken over their city in yet another vicious cycle. The biggest victims are the people, being slaughtered and this seen as a price for freedom. The actions scenes in this are both breathtaking and disturbing. Chakraborty paints ruly chaotic, epic battle scenes while allowing for no detail to be missed.

This really is an epic conclusion. You can see when you read this how the first two books set up this last stand. Nahri and Alizayd whose friendship blossomed, who are now tasked with saving Daevabad from Manizheh to Darayavahoush, our ever suffering Afshin. I have a massive soft spot for Dara, he had his choices taken away from him and has to suffer the repercussions of that for all of this years. That being said Ali grew on me over this trilogy, I love his purity and righteousness, he hates to cause a scandal and it’s a beautiful awkwardness that I adore!. This book is filled with love, betrayal, discovery, friendships and heart stopping, gasping moments.

A thrilling conclusion to a spellbindingly beautiful story, Chakraborty is a genius. You will not want to put it down.

A small part of me wishes for a different end (more for my own selfish love) but it was the perfect conclusion that left me fulfilled and teary at the same time. I really hope that we get to visit Daevabad again one day, but for now this was beautiful.

Massive thank you to HarperCollins for letting read this book early, it was truly a gift.

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