Thoughts: Excerpt from The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi

Tor recently released an excerpt from upcoming novel The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty on their website.  Chakraborty made her literary debut with The City of Brass, the first book in her Daevabad Trilogy, which has received wide-spread praise.  This book is slated to be the first in a new trilogy, and it’s being compared to Ocean’s Eleven meets Pirates of the Caribbean.  The article starts with a short teaser and covers chapter five of the book. 

The excerpt begins with the main character, titular retired pirate Amina Al-Sirafi, offering contrasting descriptions of the Yemeni city of Aden.  Both she and her associate Dalila have traveled to Aden in search of Amina’s old ship, the Marawati.  Based on the brief story summary at the beginning of the article, it seems they need the ship to complete a job.   

As they walk towards the docks in search of her former ship, Amina makes some pointed comments about how age has brought her invisibility as a woman.  She no longer has to deal with men’s lascivious glances and lecherous remarks.  This short passage, along with one voicing her thoughts and anger when she witnesses a young woman being purchased for pleasure, quickly reveals Amina to be a woman with deeply held beliefs about the world and society she lives in. 

While searching for her ship, Amina and Dalila see a crowd of people gathered further down the docks.  They quickly walk over to see what the commotion is about only to discover the very ship they’ve been searching for is now being searched by soldiers and lawmen.  Her former first-mate-turned-captain Tinbu is being apprehended by force, and he is quickly dragged off to jail despite his shipmate’s protestations. 

Against Dalila’s misgivings, Amina quickly follows them to discover more about what is going on.  She ends up cornering Yusuf, the wealthy businessman trying to keep Tinbu out of the soldiers hands, and demands information from him.  It seems Tinbu was in possession of iron ingots that the soldiers believe came from a missing ship.  Some of the passengers of that ship washed ashore, and they were murdered in a brutal fashion.  Tinbu is being wrongfully charged with the murders and thievery, and the excerpt ends with Amina making the decision to break him out of jail. 

I will admit I haven’t read the Daevabad trilogy yet.  It’s been in my TBR for quite some time, and if it’s anything like this excerpt, I need to move it up on my list!  The excerpt was written in first person from Amina’s point of view, and I’m hoping the entire book is written this way.  Amina has a sharp mind and discerning opinions on her world, culture, and religion, and I am excited to see more from her.   

I am also interested in learning more about this job Amina has been tasked with.  What would force her out of retirement?  If only five chapters into the book she is already having difficulty even securing her ship what pay-off makes it worth it for her and her associates?  Amina seems to live in a harsh, hypocritical world, and I want to learn more about the setting as well.  I’ve been trying to branch out and read more books about diverse worlds and cultures, and I think The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi would definitely fits inside that goal. 

The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty published by Harper Voyager releases February 28, 2023, and is available for preorder now! 

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