Disclaimer: If you have not yet read City of Brass, do not read this review. There will be no spoilers for Kingdom of Copper in my review, but by the very nature of the book, even talking about it will spoil some things in Book 1, so please, go read my review of City of Brass first.
Everyone else? Enjoy.
I absolutely adored the first book and I had high expectations going in. I will say right upfront that it met them and then some.
Before we get to the review, let’s talk first about the cover for a moment. I’m not a huge fan. Sorry, I’m not. I like the US version better than the UK version, though, but wow, if there weren’t a few scenes that would have made an AWESOME cover for this book had the publisher chosen either a character or a scene instead.
That being said, after reading the book, the cover makes a lot of sense to me. Even the cover of the first book resonates with me after reading.
But the purpose of a cover is to draw in a reader who has no clue and entice them to open the book, and frankly it just doesn’t do it for me.
These are fantastic books and I think they deserve better covers. Moving on.
Review of The Kingdom of Copper
Kingdom of Copper is a whirlwind of a good time that applies the pressure early and doesn’t let up until the very last page of the book.
The book starts out with a weird little prologue. It’s exciting, it’s riveting, and a bit confusing. We begin with Ali on the sands of Am Gezira running for his life, much like we expected him to be at the end City of Brass. And wow is it a thrill.
Then in the middle of the chapter, very unlike the book’s normal format, we switch to Nahri. I don’t remember what she was doing to be honest. Maybe she had just been married to Muntadhir, Ali’s brother. Either way, it was a bit unimpressive.
But that’s not all, then we switch to Dara. Dara. Yes, Dara. Dara is back. He is back. Sorry, spoiler, but you were going to figure it out the moment you opened the book. So, sorry, not sorry.
I had mixed emotions about that really. Do I want him back? Of course, right, sure he’s hot-headed but his heart is in a good place, right? Holy crap he’s working with Manizeh, Nahri’s mother.
Sorry, again. I really don’t spoil things. I mean, we knew Manizeh was alive right? It would have been hard for you not to draw that conclusion. So, again, no surprise.
Didn’t you say it was confusing? What was confusing? Oh yea, so we start Chapter 1 or Chapter 2 or somewhere in there and there’s an off-handed comment by Zaynab, Ali’s sister, that she’s known Nahri for 5 years.
Okay so we go from this prologue that felt like days after the events of City of Brass, and now here we are 5 years later? And Kingdom of Copper makes no effort to tell us this at all. Like, I could have missed that comment. Some sort of reflection by Nahri would have been nice. “She had been in this blasted city for 5 years and still she wasn’t used to its customs” or something, I don’t know.
Now that I got that off my chest, let’s proceed.
So we pretty much pick up where we left off, five years later, but yea pretty much it could have been the next week. I really have no idea why 5 years needed to elapse, perhaps to give Nahri time to develop her skills. That’s all I can think of really.
The conflict is going to be pretty predictable. At the end of City of Brass there was a war brewing. We got some insights from Kevah and Nisreen about a potential Nahid coup to overthrow Ghassan and keep Jamshid’s Nahid background a secret.
As we progress through Kingdom of Copper there are two factions. Well, three really, but only two that are organized and seem to be making any progress. And, quite frankly, neither one of them is desirable.
I could cheer for and be excited about neither. Even Dara, who I liked in the first book, while he has his reservations, obeys without regard to the consequences, which I found to be very frustrating.
The only truly likable characters that you want to succeed are Nahri and Ali. And all they do for the first half of the book is argue, which makes it difficult to see how they could even come together under a common goal. Though by about the 65% that changes.
Even Nisreen, who I liked well enough before is nothing but deceptive in Kingdom of Copper. And Jamshid, who I also liked in City of Brass, is too defensive of Muntadhir, who I can’t stand.
I thought we’d see more heroics from Jamshid, and it looked like we would at the start, but his actual story fell a bit short in the beginning. By the end, I found myself getting excited again for him, but I don’t feel that it redeemed the brief bit of disappointment that it didn’t move a lot quicker than I wanted.
There are a few new characters in Kingdom of Copper, but none of their names even bear remembering except Hatset, Ali’s mother, who makes quite a wave in the book and I absolutely loved her. I hope we get to see more of her in the next installment.
Oh, and Manizeh of course I guess. I feel like we already know about her based on how much she got talked about in the first book. Ghassan painted her as an unlikable character in City of Brass, and in Kingdom of Copper we find out she really is pretty distasteful.
I was hoping I would like her. I didn’t.
Zaynab is significantly better in this book than in the last. I am really starting to enjoy her character, but she kind of disappeared at the end and I have no idea where she went.
Nahri and Ali makes significant strides developmentally as you would expect. Even Muntadhir, for all that I hate him, made quite a bit of progress in Kingdom of Copper to the point where I might grudgingly be okay with him.
I still hate Ghassan.
And I was really hoping I would like Kevah better in this book, but he was a pretty neutral character all around that didn’t better or worsen the image I already have of him.
As for the overall book, there’s a lot of really surprising moments. Some of the things I saw coming, others took me completely by surprise. There are some AMAZING battle scenes and really depictive descriptions of our heroes laying the smack down on their enemies, I loved it.
Nahri really comes alive here.
That ending, though. Wow.
As is typical for me, it took me about 3 days to read the first half and I read the last half in a single day, in nearly a single sitting. I was enthralled.
My wife was talking to me and I was just like “Yeah. Uh huh. *back to my book* That’s nice. *back to my book* You know I’ll be done in like 30 minutes, I’ve only got 7% left *back to my book*”
I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say I never would have seen it coming. Some of the details, fine, fine, yeah, I did expect a few things and others that I didn’t see coming were surprising, but not like OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED.
But the way the book leaves you. Those last couple paragraphs—there was just no way to anticipate that happening. Floored.
There were some clues, sort of, but no idea that would happen. Which really leaves us in an interesting pickle moving forward into Book 3. I have no idea what our heroes are going to do or how they’re going to fix everything.
But I look forward to it.
Just like it’s predecessor, I give Kingdom of Copper a 5 out of 5.
Read this book. Go buy it. Do it now, and prepare not to speak to any family members for a couple of hours/days.
I have no idea how long we’ll have to wait for the next book, but it can’t come soon enough because I want it now!
Interested in more reviews? Check out my review of Dark Shores by Danielle L Jensen.