Title: The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3)
Author: S. A. Chakraborty
ARC provided by Harper Voyager through Edelweiss.
This is an extremely hard review to write. While The Daevabad Trilogy will continue to be one of my favorite series even after reading this, I have to be honest that I did not enjoy The Empire of Gold has much as I would expected for the finale of such a beloved series. This is honestly more of a 3-star review, but I gave an extra star for Dara alone.
“Find your happiness, little thief. Steal it and do not ever let it go.”
The size of The Empire of Gold was daunting, but as with the previous two books, the story pulls the reader into the pages and it was not long before I became completely enthralled. It was so easy to fall back into the world of Daevabad. S. A. Chakraborty is an incredible writer and a masterful storyteller.
Nahri – Throughout the story, she struggles between her desire to live a quiet life in Cairo and the need to go back to Daevabad to help set things right with Manizheh in charge of the city. We finally learn more about who her family is and her ancestry. I absolutely loved her character’s ending and thought it was perfect.
Dara – My beautiful Daeva warrior has finally begun to see the error of the ways and I loved watching him finally stand up for what is right. He’s still struggling with his history and what kind of man it makes him, but throughout the book he’s working on redeeming himself and finding ways to attempt to make reparations.
Ali – There is a much bigger focus on Ali’s family’s past and his connection now with the Marid. As far as character growth, I felt like his character kind of stalled after The Kingdom of Copper. I didn’t enjoy his POV as much this time but I blame that on the fact that his chapters were less about his personal struggles and more about his feelings and constantly daydreaming about touching a certain someone. By the time it did become more about his own character growth, it was far too late in the book.
One of the things that kind of killed the book for me was the romance. I never expected a Nahri/Dara romance after the second book (as amazing as that would have been), but I honestly expected Nahri to end the book alone as an independent woman working at the hospital and her healing skills, living her best life with the hope for more in the future. Ali and Nahri are better off as platonic friends. They had absolutely zero chemistry and their romance felt rushed and unnecessary. I don’t know why authors are so afraid to let opposite-sex friendships prosper and need to force them into something more, but I am Tired™️. Their friendship was one of my favorite things about the books so it was really disappointing that they couldn’t remain so.
Another issue I struggled with was the shift in tone between Ali and Nahri’s POVs, and Dara’s. Dara’s chapters had a sense of urgency and seriousness that one would expect following the events that happened at the end of The Kingdom of Copper. And yet, Ali and Nahri’s chapters spent half the book gallivanting around and blushing about their newfound feelings for each other. It felt very YA Fantasy. There chapters were almost trivial compared to Dara’s and the shift between them was jarring.
And now the most important part of this book: Darayavahoush e-Afshin. Dara’s character arc throughout the Daevabad series has been the most magnificent thing I have ever read in literature. It was beautifully executed and I couldn’t stop myself from crying at those last few chapters.
“You have earned your happy ending, little thief. Let me do the same. Let me earn a place in the garden with my family.”
Nahri and Dara’s dynamic in The City of Brass was what made me fall so in love with that book. It wasn’t until I finished The Empire of Gold that I realized they spend more time apart throughout the whole series than they do together, and that really touched a sore spot. I think that’s honestly why, as much as I loved reading The Kingdom of Copper and The Empire of Gold, they just didn’t stand up to The City of Brass.
“Nahri instantly reached for his hand. “I would do it again, Dara. I would take your hand a thousand times over.”
With all that being said, I still consider The Daevabad Trilogy one of my favorite series. The City of Brass will always have a special place in my heart and I encourage anyone who’s come across these books to read them. The Daevabad Trilogy is a magical story full of fantasy, djinn, amazing character arcs, action and adventure, and political intrigue. It’s an enchanting story for perfect for any fan of fantasy and dynamic characters.