*I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*
Daevabad has fallen, and Nahri is miles away in Cairo. After fleeing her ancestral home, alongside Ali, she is haunted by the past which continues to follow her. Together, they are determined to return to their homeland, but not without facing the truth behind their own history. Back in Daevabad, Dara struggles to regain control alongside Manizheh in a city stripped of its magical core.
The Empire of Gold deserves a better review than I could ever write. This book wastes no time, kicking right back into action where Kingdom had ended. Nahri wakes up in an abandoned village with Ali, losing life every second. Thus, begins their journey back home, back to Daevabad, which entails a wild adventure that involves fighting sea creatures, evading pirates and rehashing old family feuds. Then you slip the script over to Dara, whose chapters are less adventurous and more dangerous as Dara finds himself pushed to the very end yet again, but now under the command of Manizheh. Empire is the series’s most cruellest novel, no matter who is your favourite, someone will get hurt. (And that was me in the form of Jamshid and Muntadhir.)
I was a little worried about Empire because it had a lot stacked up against it, especially being the finale to an expansive trilogy. The contrast between Nahri and Ali’s seemingly calm chapters in comparison to Dara’s dark and sinister moments where he is struggling to stay true to his beliefs and values felt quite strange at first. Depends on the reader, but you can either find the contrast quite comical or something of a relief, I place myself firmly in the middle.
From the very beginning of the series, where Nahri accidentally summons Dara, this series has always been character-driven, and Empire is no stranger to a vast cast of characters that pull at your heartstrings. Nahri learns more about her ancestry, which brings up even more questions than answer, Ali’s past truly comes to haunt him, and Dara is slowly falling apart while trying to follow the leader he thought he believed in. Nahri quite literally retraces her steps, and it was quite emotional seeing her back in her human home and the cost of having to leave it for the sake of her future. Dara is a fan favourite, and I understand why but, personally, for me, I wasn’t all that invested in him, though I did have a lot of empathy for him. His story is quite heartbreaking. But don’t get me wrong, I love how Chakraborty handled his character, it was quite possibly the only ending I ever expected for him, but if I had to rank the trio, he would undoubtedly come last.
I realised in my previous reviews I never mention Jamshid at all! And he’s one of my favourite characters in the series. He really grew on me because I didn’t pay much attention to him for a while and during my re-read of Brass, I really saw him in a whole new light! Jamshid has been Muntadhir’s bodyguard for over a decade, and his part in this story really comes to light in this book. While we reunite with some old faces, we also meet new ones, and they all really shine through. It’s a shame this is the finale because I so would’ve loved to have read more about them all. The thing I noted about the series and its expansive map was that we, as readers, never really get to experience much of it in the story. While Nahri and Ali aren’t gallivanting across the world, we do get to see some already mentioned places in this one, which was quite lovely.
Overall, Empire builds on the strengths of its previous novels, especially in its worldbuilding. The world of Daevabad is unreal, just when you thought you knew everything, new revelations are thrown back at you, and the whole world has you spinning again. The story of Nahri might end here, but the ending is genuinely the greatest one we would have possible be given. I don’t think I was truly ready to see the end of this world, but it is a satisfying ending and worth the read.
Resources on the Black Lives Matter movement, and what you can do to support basic human rights:
Resources for UK citizens:
– https://blm.crd.co/ (Specifically aimed towards UK & Ireland citizens)
– Black Lives Matter UK (https://blacklivesmatter.com/)
– Show Racism The Red Card (https://www.theredcard.org/)
– Runnymede (https://www.runnymedetrust.org/)
– Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (https://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk/ab…)