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The Daevabad Trilogy is a trilogy of fantasy novels by S.A. Chakraborty, based on Middle Eastern folklore and legend. It begins with Nahri, a young con-woman living in 18th-century Cairo, who possesses a mysterious ability to sense illness and injury. While conducting what she believes is a sham zar to "exorcise" a mentally-disabled girl, Nahri accidentally summons a real djinn named Darayavahoush. She learns that she is actually the lost scion of the Nahids, the rightful rulers of the world of djinn—which is real, and ruled from the city of Daevabad. After a perilous journey, Nahri has to navigate a complex web of political intrigue. Daevabad is no longer ruled by her family but the Qatahnis, and the city is maintained in a state of tense, very technical peace that is constantly undermined by tribal rivalries and the oppression of the part-human shafit. The king's second son, Alizayd, conducts what he thinks is a secret life trying to help the shafit. He and Nahri form a tense, tentative friendship at the behest of his manipulative father, Ghassan.

It isn't long before the uneasy peace between Daevabad's factions erupts into violence. Nahri, Dara, and Ali have to find a way not only to survive the various political upheavals, but do so in a way that allows them to retain their self-respect and morality—which is no easy task.

  • The City of Brass (2017)
  • The Kingdom of Copper (2019)
  • The Empire of Gold (2020)
  • The River of Silver: Tales from the Daevabad Trilogy (2022) note 

This work contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Daevabad used to have a place of healing that was run by the Nahids. Nahri puts considerable time and effort into restoring it as a good faith gesture. It was also used by the Nahids as a place to conduct horrific experiments on the shafit.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Ghassan is a complicated example. He loves his children, but it doesn't stop him from ruthlessly manipulating and coercing them whenever he thinks the city's interests are at stake. The first book ends with him exiling Ali to an almost-certain death because he can't bring himself to directly order his execution.
    • Manizheh proves to be worse than Ghassan. She's far from a model parent to her long-lost daughter and son, completely ignores their wishes, and uses the safety of one to manipulate the other.
  • Achilles' Heel: Djinn, being creatures of fire, are justifiably terrified of igniferous weapons, like gunpowder, that might set them alight.
  • Alien Blood: Full-blooded daeva have distinctive black blood, while human-daeva hybrids bleed red.
  • All Myths Are True: Those tales of genies and magic that Nahri thought were just fantasy? Yeah, turns out they're the real deal. This includes the tale of the Prophet Suleiman versus the daevas and the existence of the Ancient Egyptian gods (who are implied to have been daevas, peri, or marid depending on what they oversaw—Sobek appears in the third book as a marid who lives in the Nile and prefers a crocodilian form).
  • Altar Diplomacy: The marriage between Nahri and Muntandhir. Neither of them are the least bit interested in being married to each other, and Ghassan knows it, but he wants to create a symbolic link between his new dynasty and the Nahids they overthrew.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: All of the ifrit are enemies of the djinn. They universally consider the djinn to be cowardly traitors for submitting to Suleiman's judgment and enslave them as retaliation.
  • And I Must Scream: What enslavement by the ifrit is like for a djinn. It is widely regarded as a fate worse than death, reducing them to prisoners in their own bodies. Most go insane after a few centuries.
  • Animal Motifs: Comparisons to cats seem to pop up a lot regarding the various otherworldly beings—Dara is likened to a tiger a couple of times, and the Djinn's and Ghoul's actions are sometimes described as cat-like. The Nahids are even said to have ridden winged lions into battle.
  • Anti-Magic: One of the basic powers of Suleiman's Seal is shutting down the magic of everyone but the holder, which Ghassan is only too happy to demonstrate.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: Despite being a story filled with genies, magic carpets, and the like, this trope is averted. It takes place in Egypt in the late 18th century.
  • Archer Archetype: The Daeva tribe pride themselves on their traditional skill with bow and arrow.
  • Arranged Marriage: Ghassan plans to unite the Qahtanis and Nahids by marrying Muntadhir to Nahri. Both decide to be pragmatic about the situation. At the end, they happily burn their marriage contract and become Amicable Exes.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ifrit delight in picking out which humans to give enslaved djinn to in the hopes that the humans will create as much self-inflicted misery as possible through their wishes.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • Muntadhir towards Zaynab and sometimes Ali.
    • Dara is haunted by his little sister Tamima's brutal death. The mention of it serves as a Berserk Button for him.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family:
    • The Qahtanis, royal family of modern Daevabad. The siblings Muntadhir (heir to the throne), Ali (slated to be Muntadhir's Qaid), and Zaynab (only daughter, dreading a seemingly inevitable political marriage) get along well enough at the start of the series, but after Dara returns with a living Nahid things get complicated. By the end of the first book, Ghassan is willing to have his own son killed.
    • Then in the later books, the Nahids make the Qahtanis look like an absolute model of family harmony. Manipulation, scheming, and murder were just par for the course.
  • Blood Magic: The ifrit specialize in blood magic. Nahid blood in particular is revealed to have numerous magical properties, including being poisonous to the ifrit. Manizheh learns blood magic from the ifrit and uses the bodies of her ancestors from the palace crypt to resurrect Dara & re-enslave him.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • The peris have a strict code of noninterference with anyone they consider an "inferior being" and execute any fellow who breaks it. However, they can arm lesser creatures with peri weapons or advice and send them out to do the dirty work. They give Nahri a daeva-killing dagger to kill Dara in The Empire of Gold. She winds up calling them on their "noninterference" bluff by using it on herself at a crucial moment.
    • Marid operate on a system of debts and dealmaking—taking Ali as a weapon to kill Dara puts them in debt to Dara. Because getting their help has traditionally involved blood sacrifice, they are abhorred by djinn. Their nature as communal beings also makes them difficult for everyone else to comprehend, and the feeling is mutual.
  • Bodyguard Crush:
    • Dara's job as Afshin is to protect the Nahids. He and Nahri fall for each other during their trip to Daevabad.
    • Muntadhir is in love with Jamshid, who is the captain of his guard.
  • Brainy Brunette: Economics nerds Ali and Nahri.
  • Came Back Strong:
    • Djinn revived as slaves (usually by the ifrit) have powerful magic at their disposal, as the process weakens the effect of Suleiman's curse.
    • When Manizheh revives Dara, he comes back with all the power of an original daeva.
  • Came Back Wrong: When Manizheh revives Dara again using the remains of past Nahids as a magical catalyst, it does not go so well. Not only is he re-enslaved (to Manizheh this time), but his magic and soul have been tainted by the process.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nahri quickly learned to hide her healing powers when growing up in Ottoman orphanages in Cairo.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: In the second book, Prince Ali dresses to hide the fact that he's Covered in Scars from the neck down from a marid attack, which he only survived because he let the marid possess his body.
  • Cold Iron: Iron deadens magic. Detained djinn are usually put in iron cuffs to keep them from using their abilities, and shafit militants load their guns with iron bullets because it makes injuries to djinn nigh-untreatable unless the bullet is removed.
  • Cool Airship: The Tukharistani djinn tribe fly enchanted sailing ships as part of their extensive trade network.
  • Cool Chair: The Shedu Throne, located in the palace of Daevabad, carved to resemble its namesake winged lion and encrusted with jewels, serves as the seat for the ruler of the magical world; first the Nahids, and then the Qahtanis. Nahri has it sold off to fund the rebuilding of the city at the end of Empire of Gold, but not after she has a good old lounge in it first.
  • Crapsack World: Eighteenth century Cairo was subject to a series of foreign powers cycling through with varying levels of brutality, and Daevabad, secret capital city of the magical world, honestly isn't much better if you're shafit, poor, or on King Ghassan's shit list.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Qahtanis' treatment of Manizheh, controlling her life, keeping her as a virtual prisoner in the infirmary, and punishing her brother if she ever stepped out of line caused a deep hatred and resentment in her which ultimately lead to her faking her own death and plotting to overthrow the Qahtanis.
  • Creative Sterility: After Nahri gets him to open his mind a little, the high priest Kartir points out to Dara that—for all the supposed inferiority of humans—the daevas and djinn made human society a model for their new world after Suleiman. Their styles of architecture, art, clothing, and worship are all based on customs that were invented by humans.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • The shafit who are executed by placing them on a bronze boat that is enchanted to melt, burning them alive. Ali tries to perform a Mercy Kill on one of the victims, and it goes badly.
    • The third book has Dara relate secondhand that a mob literally tore Kaveh into pieces.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The trilogy explores this concept as a recurring theme. The Nahid clan of the Daeva tribe used to rule the magical world, and treated partially human shafit quite badly, culminating in the events that earned Dara his title, the Scourge. Then Zaydi al Qahtani led a rebellion to oust the Nahids and protect the shafit. This led to lasting resentment from the Daeva tribe as a whole, many of whom are still angry that the "jumped-up sandflies" are sitting on the throne of Daevabad centuries later. And then Manizheh, one of the last Nahids, leads an attack on Daevabad to take back the city she thinks belongs to her. Nahri and Ali plan to defy this by installing a more egalitarian government, but know that djinn history will make it an uphill battle.
  • Deadly Scratch: The magical poison of zulfiqar swords is universally deadly and defeats even Nahid healing, so the Geziri fighting style emphasizes mobility and shallow slashes. At the end of Kingdom of Copper, Muntadhir is cut, but the Seal of Suleiman disables the magic before it can finish him off.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Among the djinn, there are stories of making arrangements with the water-spirit marid that fit the general vibe of trafficking with ineffable malicious powers for personal gain.
    • Manizheh cuts a deal with the ifrit to have them on-side when conquering Daevabad.
  • Decadent Court: Ghassan's court is a minefield. The man himself is an unabashed tyrant with a fondness for lethal force and messy public executions, the established noble houses have held power for millennia at this point and are not interested in sharing, and each tribe is convinced the others are plotting something. They're, ah, not wrong.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Sobek, the crocodilian god of the Nile, appears in Empire of Gold and horrifies Nahri and Ali by reminiscing about how his followers used to practice Human Sacrifice for him. Ali reflects a couple of times that it's a good thing his ancestors ended that kind of worship.
  • Depower: Manizheh sealed Jamshid's Nahid abilities shortly after his birth so Ghassan wouldn't discover his true identity. When the spell is later removed, his Nahid abilities return.
  • Disappeared Dad: Rustam dies shortly after Nahri is born.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Dara tricks Manizheh by luring her into a false sense of security & killing her before she realizes what's going on. She really should've paid more attention to his slave tattoo.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Spelled out by Dara to Nahri. He dedicates himself to finding all the slave vessels scattered through the world to atone for his crimes during the trilogy and to earn himself the right to reunite with his family in the afterlife.
  • Elemental Motifs: Whether supernatural or not, living beings in the setting are associated with one of the classical elements. Humans are considered earth-based (adding an extra layer to calling the shafit dirtblooded), djinn are associated with fire, marid with water, and the peris with air.
  • Evil Chancellor: Kaveh, from the Geziri perspective. He actively plots to restore the Nahids to power and is the one who releases the poison that kills Ghassan and many other Geziris.
  • Failed State: King Ghassan fractures his nation as he takes more and more extreme measures to keep control over his perceived enemies. By the second book, he can't equip his armies or even get the trash collected from the streets of his capital, and his own son rebels in disgust.
  • Faking the Dead: Turns out Banu Manizheh, one of the last Nahids, did not die with her brother Rustam.
  • False Flag Operation: After cutting Ali off from the Tanzeem, Ghassan orders him to deal with the shafit unrest as harshly as possible. When Ali reports that there is no unrest to deal with, Ghassan says—clearly disappointed that Ali didn't figure it out—that if there isn't any, he needs to incite it.
  • Famed In-Story: Dara. To the djinn he's the monstrous Scourge of Qui-Zi & The Dreaded, while to the Daevas he's a heroic and romantic figure who fought to free their tribe from foreign rule.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Manizheh reveals to Nahri that she's actually Rustam's daughter, making Manizheh her aunt and Jamshid her cousin.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • By djinn law, shafit (those with human blood) are not allowed to leave Daevabad. Once we see the City of Brass, we discover that there's a huge divide between pureblooded Djinn nobility and the shafit, with the former believing that the latter are incapable of powerful magic.
    • Dara isn't too fond of humans either, and there is intense animosity between some of the Djinn tribes.
  • Fantastic Slurs: Several examples: "Dirtbloods" for shafit, "sand flies" for Geziris, "crocodiles" for Ayaanle. Daevas are derided as "fire worshipers" by djinn for continuing to practice Zoroastrianism.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Jinn are universally terrified of being enslaved by the ifrit, to the point they wear relics containing a piece of their body, such as a tooth, so they'll stand even a chance of being freed if they end up enslaved. When Dara ends up re-enslaved, his first response is multiple suicide attempts.
  • Fisher King: The palace of Daevabad was founded by Nahids and still responds to their emotions, shifting stones and restoring the wall art when Nahri comes to the city. It's also booby-trapped; historically, djinn who tried to remove the Nahid carvings melted into puddles of brass.
  • Flaming Blade: The Geziri tribe's signature zulfiqars are poisoned flaming blades.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Muntadhir, the elder brother, is a hedonistic socialite, and Ali is a devout scholar who's spent his life training to be The Good Chancellor. Subverted — Muntadhir reveals himself to be clever and canny, and knows much more about the political realities of court life than Ali.
  • Forbidden Love: Between Rustam e-Nahid and Duriya, an Egyptian shafit servant working in the palace. Such a relationship between a Nahid and a shafit was unprecedented. Manizheh and Kaveh count as well, since they were unable to be together openly due to Ghassan wanting Manizheh for himself.
  • Fortune Teller: Nahri plays this up in order to make a living.
  • From a Single Cell: The process of freeing an enslaved djinn requires part of their former body. Djinn wear relics containing a tooth or lock of hair so they can be resurrected if they're enslaved.
  • Gambit Pileup: The festival of Navasatem end of The Kingdom of Copper consists of a number of plots colliding with each other. Angry shafit attack the Daeva procession that Nahri is a part of, giving Ghassan an excuse to attack them wholesale. Ali turns on Ghassan for good and raises a significant chunk of the Guard and the Geziri as a whole against him. Manizheh, Dara, and Kaveh unleash their long-planned assault on the city. By the end of it, hundreds are dead and Suleiman's seal is in different hands entirely.
  • Garden of Love: Nahri's parents first met while both of them were hiding away from the unpleasantness of court life in the palace gardens. Rustam magically cultivated the gardens as a refuge from his Gilded Cage; the shafit washerwoman Duriya was secretly growing molokhia for Comfort Food; and she accidentally punched him while trying to stop him from uprooting the vines.
  • God Guise: One of the things the ifrit did to earn Suleiman's ire was convincing humans to worship them.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Manizheh is terrible at being a queen.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: The Nahids were immensely powerful healers, but they were utterly ruthless, brutally repressed the shafit, and conducted horrific medical experiments. Best exemplified by Manizheh, who uses her healing powers to create a horrific superweapon.
  • Grand Vizier: Kaveh is Daevabad's Grand Wazir and happily fits into the scheming manipulator mold.
  • Greek Fire: "Rumi fire" is a classic anti-djinn weapon that is known as a liquid substance which sticks to the skin and can't be extinguished except by sand. When some is hurled at a crowd of djinn in The Kingdom of Copper, Nahri's description of the scent and appearance indicates that it's simple pine tar.
  • Green Thumb: Rustam and to a lesser extent his daughter Nahri.
  • Healing Hands: The Nahids are known for powerful healing magic and advanced medical knowledge. Nahids themselves even have a Healing Factor.
  • Hero of Another Story: Zaynab and Subha during Manizheh's occupation of Daevabad.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • A very literal sacrifice is revealed at the end. Nahri is able to see the memories of her real mother, the Egyptian shafit Duriya. After escaping Daevabad and being hunted down to Egypt by Manizheh, Duriya goads Manizheh into pushing her off of a cliff over the Nile—in other words, sacrificing herself to Sobek. In exchange, Sobek grants Nahri his protection, including by making her appear fully human.
    • The peri Khayzer breaks his people's rule regarding noninterference and saves Nahri and Dara at the cost of his own life.
    • Nahri does this to herself as part of bluff against the peris. She is rewarded with Suleiman's seal and the power to literally reshape Daevabad.
  • Hive Mind: Marids can share their feelings, thoughts, and memories with each other as though they are one entity because they are water-based creatures.
  • Horse Archer: The Daevas are known for these. Dara in particular is a very skilled horse archer.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each book is titled "The [Location] of [Metal]".
  • I Know Your True Name:
    • Knowing a djinn's name gives you power over them, especially if you're an ifrit or marid. Ali was never taught this, and answering the marid when asked allows them to use him as a weapon in the first book.
    • In the third book, Manizheh invokes this when she gives the ifrit Nahri's birth name, allowing them to bind her. It's especially strong because only Manizheh knew the name, which increases its power. While bound, Nahri considers which name is her true name and realizes that every important event and choice in her life was made as Nahri, making that her true name. And since everyone knows it, it has no power to bind her.
  • Inherent in the System: One major obstacle Nahri and Ali realize in the third book is that Ghassan and Manizheh are the cleverest, most experienced, and most determined people they know—and neither of them have been able to make Daevabad a peaceful place to live, even after spending decades trying to do so.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Daeva tribe claim the ancient name for the whole djinn race as their own; the other tribes think it makes them look arrogant.
  • Invisible to Normals: Ali isn't totally invisible to humans, but they don't notice him unless he makes an effort to get their attention, and it only lasts a moment before they forget he's there.
  • Jackass Genie: Jinn slaves are expected to kill their human masters, and get their victims' names written down their arm. Dara's arm is nearly full. Manizheh's final mistake is forgetting this.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Manizheh crafts a biochemical weapon to kill Geziris, but doesn't have time to refine it from an uncontrollable fog into a short-range weapon before retaking Daevabad. Dara begs her not to use it and tells her explicitly that she'll be no better than Ghassan if she unleashes it, but she responds that she doesn't care.
  • King of Beasts: The Nahids once rode winged lions into battle, and still use a winged lion as their symbol.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Dara's excuse for his multiple war crimes is that as an Afshin, he is a weapon for the Nahid. In the third book, Manizheh re-enslaves him, making him the perfectly obedient weapon he'd always claimed to be.
  • Last of Their Kind:
    • Nahri is, as far as anyone knows, the only living member of the Nahid family.
    • Dara, in turn, is the last of the Afshin line.
  • Legacy of Service: The Afshin clan of warriors served as the Nahid's strong right hand for generations. When Dara, their last and most well-known member, returns with a living Nahid (i.e., Nahri), many of the Daeva tribe see it as a miracle.
  • Like a God to Me: The Daeva tribe holds the Nahid clan in high esteem as the descendants of revered Anahid, the woman who laid the foundations for both Daevabad and the modern magical world. The marid, by contrast, hate her guts for stealing their sacred lake.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: When Dara joins up with Manizheh in Kingdom of Copper, he begs her to share her plans for Nahri with Nahri, otherwise they run the very real risk that Nahri will instantly mistrust them and oppose what they are doing. Manizheh decides that Nahri would be safer in ignorance. Dara turns out to be right.
  • Long-Lost Relative:
    • In The Kingdom of Copper, we find out that Nahri and Jamshid are siblings.
    • The epilogue for the trilogy also reveals the Egyptian shafit working in the palace kitchens was Nahri's grandfather.
  • The Lost Lenore: Ghassan had unrequited feelings for Nahri's mother Manizheh and there are hints that he sees Nahri as a replacement. However, Manizheh considered Ghassan an Abhorrent Admirer. And is still very much alive.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Nahri gets this from Manizheh. Though it turns out she was lying. She's actually Nahri's aunt, and also tried to kill Nahri as a baby.
  • Magic Carpet: Dara can turn any carpet into one of these, even if it's mostly cinders.
  • Making a Splash:
    • Marid magic is largely water-themed and quite versatile.
    • Ali gains this power after the battle at the lake.
  • Manipulative Bastard: This is Ghassan's chief skill. When dealing with any given person, he knows exactly what is important to them and uses that to twist them into doing his bidding. Every time Ali tries to stand up to him in the first book, Ghassan reveals that he knows everything Ali has been up to and threatens the people Ali wants to save to force his compliance. When con-woman Nahri goes up against Ghassan, she quickly realizes she's in the presence of a master, and it takes all her skill to survive life in his palace.
  • Mass Transformation: The Prophet Suleiman transformed all the Daeva from spirits of pure fire into their current flesh-and-blood forms as part of their penance for preying on humanity. Millennia later, the memory still terrifies them.
  • Master Archer: Dara, full stop. No one else is in his league, though Jamshid also deserves mention as a skilled archer.
  • Meaningful Name: Alizayd was named for Zaydi, the man who lead the uprising against the Nahids. Ghassan remarks at one point that it was not a good idea to name his son after a revolutionary.
  • Medical Monarch: The Nahids.
  • Memory Jar: A slave vessel functions as this. Nahids have the ability to see the memories of the djinn trapped inside the vessel. Dara's ring contains his missing memories of his time as a slave, & Nahri is able to see them on two separate occasions.
  • Missing Mom: Nahri's mother Duriya died when she was very young. She lost all memories of her mother after Sobek wiped her memory & only regains them at the end of the series. Manizheh is also a missing mom to Jamshid, who was told his mother died when he was born.
  • Monster in the Moat: Played With: the moat itself is the monster. The djinn's capital city is in the middle of a lake of Murder Water that tears apart anyone who so much as dips a toe in. They use it as a defensive feature (and for executions), but it originated in a Curse against them by the marid, from whom they stole the lake.
  • Murder Water: Daevabad's lake was cursed by the Marid to rip apart anyone who so much dips a toe in. The monarchy uses it for executions.
  • National Weapon: Zulfiqars for the Geziris & bows for the Daevas.
  • The Old Gods: The marid include a couple of these among their number. Sobek, the crocodilian god of the Nile in Ancient Egypt is one. Another is Tiamat, the primordial goddess of the sea (and one of the oldest known divine beings period, as she was worshipped by Ancient Babylon at the same time they were figuring out the whole writing business). Although their glory days of godhood and worship are over, they're still active and powerful.
  • Omniglot: The other signature Nahid power. It doesn't work for reading, though, or for Geziriyya, which only Geziri can understand.
  • One-Drop Rule: A djinn with the slightest amount of human ancestry is considered a shafit and oppressed in djinn society.
  • One-Hit Kill: A single cut from a zulfiqar is enough to kill due to the poisoned blade. Not even the Nahids can heal zulfiqar wounds.
  • Our Genies Are Different:
    • The Djinn in this series are a race of magical beings who live separate from humanity, and exhibit extreme Fantastic Racism towards those who mix with humans.
    • The Daevas from whom modern djinn are descended were nigh-legendary figures, riding the winds and living for thousands of years. They were punished by Suleiman for tormenting humanity, though, resulting in the loss of most of their power.
    • Ifrit are those daevas who refused to submit to Suleiman's judgment. They're all quite ancient at this point, not to mention vindictive and crafty.
    • The classic "trapped in a lamp" type of djinni is here known as a slave, reduced to such a miserable existence by the ifrit. It's a process that involves ritualistically murdering the djinn and reviving them in thrall to whomever holds their slave vessel (rings and necklaces being common).
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're called ghouls here, and they're of a pre-Romero variety, primarily being dried out corpses of people who made contracts with the Ifrit in death. They can be very fast, however.
  • Parental Substitute: Yaqub, a Jewish doctor and surgeon, is the closest thing Nahri has to one in Cairo. He fusses over her, passes his knowledge to her, and even offers to let her inherit his business when she and Ali are hiding in Cairo in the third book.
  • Playing with Fire: Djinn have fire-based powers, with most able to at least conjure flames.
  • Powers via Possession: Ali gains marid powers when he allows them to possess him. Some powers linger after the possession ends, which he's none too pleased about.
  • Proud Scholar Race: The bird-like peris are quite knowledgeable about most subjects, but their smug aloofness means getting them to act is an exercise in frustration.
  • Really Gets Around: Beyond a certain point, it's easier to list which members of Muntadhir's party circuit he hasn't slept with.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Nahri is quite surprised to learn that she's actually the last surviving member of an ancient and revered lineage. Jamshid gets one as well when he learns Manizheh is his mother.
  • Regional Redecoration: After freeing Daevabad, Nahri uses the full power of Suleiman's Key to move the city into the nearby mountains, restoring the marid's sacred lake to its original state. She then passes out.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized:
    • In The Kingdom of Copper, Manizheh is willing to wipe out an entire clan of djinn to overthrow Ghassan.
    • The shafit rebels bomb a peaceful Daeva celebration that includes children.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Ali, the Djinn prince who sponsors an Imam of the often put upon mixed blood peoples and joins him in his efforts to stop the enslavement and trafficking of his people by the nobility.
    • Ghassan is introduced doing the tedious but necessary bureaucratic work of kingship. He takes the responsibility of ruling the multitribal city extremely seriously; unfortunately, that makes him totally ruthless in dealing with any perceived threat to the public order.
  • Sand Blaster: Dara and later Nahri.
  • Second Chapter Cliffhanger: In the climax of the second book, Daevabad falls in a surprise attack. The Big Bad reveals herself, King Ghassan (The Heavy until then) is killed, all the djinn are Brought Down to Normal, and the protagonist and her friend narrowly escape in an emergency teleport to another country. Nothing Is the Same Anymore in the third book.
  • Secret Test of Character: Ali faces several of these from both his family and his revolutionary contacts. He fails most of them miserably.
  • Shapeshifting: Once a common magical ability, now limited to more powerful Djinn.
  • Shedu and Lammasu: The shedu are winged lions and the emblem of the Nahid dynasty, who were the original rulers of the djinn. The Nahid trained them and brought them to their capital city, but they slowly vanished from the world alongside other magical creatures and haven't been seen for centuries by the time of the series.
  • Shown Their Work: The author put in a lot of research regarding Islamic folklore, and it shows.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Ali is diligent, responsible, socially awkward, and as tightly wound as a spring. His older brother Muntadhir is relaxed, jovial, charming, and gives an air of sybaritic indulgence. Both have a lot more going on, though.
  • Slave Market: During the second book, Ali is outraged and disgusted to find shafit being auctioned off in public under the paper-thin excuse of helping djinn find their shafit relatives.
  • Supering in Your Sleep: Oases sometimes appear around Ali in his sleep as a result of his marid-inflicted Making a Splash powers. When he's shocked to realize that his friends Lubayd and Aqisa know about his powers, they remind him of that fact.
  • There Is Another: Two more Nahid, in fact.
  • Time Skip: Five years pass between the end of The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: Ali is mortified to realize that Nahri, with whom he has mutual Unresolved Sexual Tension, was the one to bathe and change him during his illness. She tries to brush it off because she's The Medic and he's "...well-formed", and they change the subject.
  • Villain Respect: Nahri marching into Ghassan's office and demanding a fair rate of pay (among other things) for her healing work earns his approval.
  • Walking the Earth: At the end of the third book, Dara embarks on a quest to find all the djinn relics stolen by the ifrit and return them to the city so that they can be freed of enslavement. He fully expects this to take millennia.
  • Wham Line: The last line of The City of Brass reveals that Nahri's mother is still alive.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Ghassan and Manizheh will both murder children if it helps them.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Ghassan is a master of it. Near the end of the first book, he comes up with two possible cover-up stories for the incident at the lake, implicating completely different people.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Jamshid says this to Ali after finding out about Muntadhir's apparent death. He doesn't accept that Muntadhir chose to take the blow, arguing that Ali failed his duty by ever allowing a situation where his brother could take a mortal wound for him. Jamshid does eventually apologiz for the outburst.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: There's an organization called the Tanzeem which seeks to support and protect the shafit against the (many) excesses of the djinn nobility. To the shafit, they're the nearest thing to heroes; Ghassan, however, would like them all dead.

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