Book Review

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty (Spoiler-Filled Book Review)

“Behind the battlements of the palace that had always been hers, Banu Manizheh e-Nahid gazed at her family’s city.”

First line in The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty

Author: S. A. Chakraborty

Published: June 11th, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Daevabad Trilogy #3

My rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This review includes spoilers for the entire Daevabad Trilogy, so here’s your SPOILER WARNING!

So The Empire of Gold was probably my least favorite book in the trilogy, but there was also a lot to live up to after The Kingdom of Copper. I missed the politics and the characters all being together instead of spread widely across the land. This book also taught me that I don’t have a favorite POV character because my favorite is whoever finds themselves in Daevabad. In the previous book, it was Ali and Nahri, but in this one, it was only Dara and it was very limited how much time we got to spend with him. But I’m in love with Daevabad apparently and I missed it a lot in this book.

I’ll also say that I spent the first 40-50% of the book wondering when it was going to start. It was a very chill beginning to the final book in a trilogy. It was very obvious that Nahri and Ali was going to Ta Ntry but it took them 350 pages to get there! Why?! This is the reason I hate traveling in books! I don’t feel those 350 pages did anything for the story other than develop a romantic relationship between Nahri and Ali. And now I’m just throwing this out there: They worked better as friends. I’m not a fan of their relationship, especially not because it took over so much of this book that I had hoped would spend the time on other things. Like letting me know if Jamshid was okay.

So… Dara. I knew we were getting some redemption arc for him because he wasn’t actually evil, just stupid. Still not a fan of him though. We follow his thoughts so we’re aware of the fact that he knows that what he’s doing is wrong. But he continues to do it anyway, which is almost worse. So when Manizheh takes control of him, I know I’m supposed to feel bad for him and I also did to a small degree. However, he had had multiple opportunities to stand up to her when he was the more powerful one and he didn’t. He’s all “oh I need to protect my people”. YOU’RE NOT PROTECTING THEM BY KILLING THEM AND DESTROYING THEIR CITY, YOU IDIOT!!
Still, I don’t mind the ending that he got, although I think I would have preferred him dead.

And now I would like to file a complaint because I had to wait THAT long for Jamshid to appear! That’s just not okay. And he was mostly definitely not okay. Him seeing Nahri and Ali, thinking that it could mean that Muntadhir was alive as well. That tiny spark of hope and they crushed it immediately 😭 I was in pain. Especially because I knew there was no reason for them to be sad, so I just wanted to jump into the book and tell them everything was fine. Okay, maybe not totally fine but Muntadhir was alive and that’s the bar we’re setting.

Jumping a bit further ahead in the story to the point where I wanted to murder Nahri. I’m of course talking about the moment where she poisoned Jamshid in a way that robbed him of the use of his legs 😡 That was beyond cruel!! How could she possibly even consider doing something like that to him?? I was begging for someone to kill her at that point. And I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t come around to her even when it was revealed that she regretted it and stayed with him. She still did that horrible thing, Jamshid still had to experience it.
On top of all that, I really didn’t care for how much they hid from the reader about how they were going to defeat Manizheh. Like, gathering an army and plotting how to take back Daevabad? That was what I thought this book was going to be about and we got to see none of it? It all happened “off screen” and as a surprise to the reader. Personally, I also wanted to see Nahri beg for Jamshid’s forgiveness and him being reluctant to give it, but that’s probably just me. But yeah, generally I don’t like this thing of hiding stuff from the reader when we’re so much in the characters’ heads. It appears convenient.

Do I need to talk about Ali as well? I guess since he was the only one of the POV characters to not do anything unforgivable. Overall though, I probably wasn’t that interested in that marid storyline of his, especially not here in the final book. It was weird and I’m still not sure I get it. Why him and not everyone else in his family? Still, I got the confused-Ali that I wanted when he learned about Muntadhir and Jamshid, and the way he handled it was really sweet.

I think I’m going to stop this messy rambling now. I really enjoyed this trilogy despite this last book, first of all because I now know about Jamshid and I’m very sad I can’t read about him again. All of the politics and the world-building was also amazing of course, and I’m definitely going to be on the look-out for more books by this author.

4 thoughts on “The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty (Spoiler-Filled Book Review)

  1. Ahhh, this was the perfect balm for my soul after it was left in absolute tatters by A Little Life 😭 I’m still not sure whether I’ll ever recover, but reading about Daevabad is a nice start.

    I also really missed Daevabad in this one, but not enough to make Dara favorite POV character 😁 I hated him from the get go – Because yes, I kind of see parts of where he’s coming from, but you can’t just go around murdering thousands of people for stupid reasons and expect me to be okay with it! Due to me hating Dara so much, I actually began shipping Nahri and Ali in book one – They were clearly perfect for one another! You need your partner to also be a good friend 🥰 – so I actually really loved seeing that romance come to fruition and didn’t mind that first part at all 😁 I was really scared Nahri might return to dumb Dara after all, and I don’t think I could have taken that. (Also, I very much appreciated you shouting at Dara for his idiocy 😇)

    As to how the book hid from the reader how Manizheh would be defeated: I hated that with a burning passion 😡😤 I already ranted about this in my own review, but YOU DON’T DO “PlOT TWISTS” THIS WAY!! It’s not a twist of you suddenly stop revealing what characters are thinking! There are reasons why I hate The Red Rising qnd Throne of Glass series so much, and this way of writing plot twists is one of them 😤 So I’m not going to forgive S.A. Chakraborty for suddenly doing it in one of my favorite series.

    And I’m also bummed she didn’t kill more people off. Is it truly a finale if the characters don’t suffer from lots of tragic loss? I wanted death and heartbreak! (Okay, maybe after A Little Life, I should rethink those words 😅)

    But otherwise, I loved the book! I was just so excited to finally be reading it and be back in this world 🥰 And yes, confused-Ali was the best 😄 (I didn’t think the marid storyline was the most interesting thing ever, either, so I loved getting the family drama back! 🤣)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, everything hurts for a few days after one finishes A Little Life 😅

      I also wouldn’t say that Dara became my favorite character, but I was looking forward to his chapters more because something was actually happening in those. Because I’m sorry, I really do not ship Nahri and Ali. They had zero romantic chemistry. It came out of nowhere and felt forced. I know it’s a novel concept that the main female character doesn’t need to end up with someone, but I had been begging for that since book one 😅

      And yes, I hated that “plot twist” so much! It’s such a cheap trick. It only works when characters have been hiding stuff from the reader the entire time, not just at the end when it’s convenient. I’m forever going to be bitter about how Chakraborty prioritized the “romance” over all the politics in this book because that seems to be the reason why everything needed to be so rushed at the end.

      I’m also disappointed no more people died. From book one, it just seemed so violent and brutal so it felt like a series where important people would die. That’s why I was so afraid for Jamshid and Muntadhir but even they made it, and so did both Dara and Ali which I also didn’t expect. None of the six major characters died. It seems wrong when so many minor characters died (and there are ways to kill characters that won’t crush the reader’s soul like A Little Life 😅).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nahri and Ali had lots of chemistry! At least I thought so in the first two books 😄 I also liked them in this one, but I will give you that things suddenly progressed a bit quickly… I wouldn’t have minded a bit more build-up 😊 I do see where you’re coming from, though – since I shipped Nahri and Ali hardcore, I didn’t mind Nahri being paired up here at all, but authors’ burning need to have all their protagonists in relationships has definitely infuriated me in other series (*I’m looking at you, Victoria Schwab* 😤)

        I’m glad we agree on that awful “twist” and the lack of death, though! (I actually don’t mind having my soul crushed 😂 A Little Life crushed it in the best way possible; though I am now in a serious dilemma because how could anything I read next possibly compare?)

        Liked by 1 person

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