Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, YA
Publication date: April 21st 2015
by Feiwel & Friends
Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!
Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.
To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.
Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.
-A copy was provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for review-
This book was quite fun. I loved the whole Genie idea, but having them live in the real world among others. I thought that the twist on how wishes work and how their powers worked was really cool. This is not your typical Aladdin type tale. It’s got all sorts of secrets, teen romances, drama, and fun. I really liked getting to know the characters and the history of the Jinn. It wasn’t my favorite book ever, but it was definitely one that I enjoyed and am excited for the rest of the series.
Azra was a character that I liked getting to know. She has never embraced her destiny as the other Jinn do. In fact, she just wants to be normal, even though that will never happen. She has grown up knowing that she is Jinn and that on her sixteenth birthday, she will become a wish granting Jinn too. What she doesn’t know is how much deeper things really are. Her mother has been keeping some things secret from her. She slowly begins to accept what she is and what her future holds, and I loved watching the struggle. She needs to be one with her Zar, which are the other daughters from her mothers Zar. (A group of Jinn that connect with each other when they come into power) She has never really been close with them being that she never wanted to be part of this. She also has close human connections which is frowned upon. Not only that, but she is different. She has powers that are very rare, and almost unheard of. She’s smart, passionate, and impulsive. I could really identify with her in a way. Obviously not the magic powers stuff, but trying to find herself, and a place where she is happy in her life.
There is a romance in this, and at first I was cringing at the love triangle vibe I was getting. It ended up not being bad though. Her neighbor Henry who is also her dead best friends brother becomes her new best friend. She also begins a relationship with a boy she had been crushing on. There are times when the lines get a little blurry with her and Henry’s feelings towards each other, but I know that she really cares about Nate. I felt that more of the focus was on her and Henry, but since he is a person she feels close to and trusts, it made sense. It was a major part of the book. So there was romance, and friendship, and a whole lot of feelings going around.
So in general I thought this was great. It was creative in the way the Genie thing really worked and it was interesting to learn about it in a new way. Like, only getting one wish and not even knowing that anyone is granting it for you. Genies don’t really exist to the human world. Yes, everything is based on old myths, but nothing is really how we all know it as. Even in their world things have changed for more modern times. New rules, new dangers, and a whole lot of hiding things from one another. As always, that definitely complicates things, and makes for more drama. I don’t know that I really felt much emotionally reading this, but it was a good book and I am looking forward to what comes next.
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