Sunday, April 26
Book Review: The Golem and the Jinni
Author: Helene Wecker
Pages: Ebook 484
Summary: Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.
The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.
My Rating: 8.25/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was well written and, while it was a slow moving book, that aspect is what made the book what it was. It had a great balance of both historical fiction and fantasy elements, along with a fun and memorable cast of characters. I loved the backdrop of Historic New York City, the author did a fantastic time at creating the setting. You could really see and picture the buildings, the weather and the culture of New York at the time. I also thought the scenes from the Jinni's past were incredibly well done. The author did a fantastic job with contrasting the difference between New York and the desert.
I'm still not sure which of the two creatures I like more. The Jinni was more entertaining, but the Golem had more range to the characters development. Some of the other characters were just as memorable, and the fate of one, hit me. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed that character, and while that character wasn't a major one, it was a memorable one.
I did find that, the book slowed down in the middle, while for the most part the slow moving aspect of the book worked. It did slow down more than I would have liked. I also found that certain characters didn't come together as much, I do think they needed to be in the book, but at times their roles in the book stuck out, and felt awkward.
I enjoyed the ending, it would work for both a standalone novel as well as one that could be part of the series - it was satisfying and worked well for the characters.
Overall, it was a good read - well worth reading.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, it was a good read and had elements in both Historical Fiction and Fantasy. I think readers who enjoy either genre would enjoy the book. It had a lot more depth than I thought it would.
What to read next: I would try reading some of the folklore and mythology behind Golems and Jinnis.
Challenges: 100+ Book Challenge, 2015 Category Challenge, Chunkster Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge