Book title: Becoming Jinn
Author: Lori Goldstein
Series: Becoming Jinn, #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
Release date: April 2015
Format: egalley, 384 pages
Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affects my review; all opinions are my own. Thank you, Feiwel & Friends and Macmillan!
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.
This is a DNF review. I gave up at 31%.
I really wanted to love Becoming Jinn: it has an awesome premise: genies! (Azra, at sixteen, is now able to grant wishes and perform magic.) However, it took me ages and ages to read 31% of my copy. I finally realized that I was never going to finish it. Why? It was partially due to the incredibly slow beginning and the feeling of a meandering plot, but mainly because I had no interest in any of the characters. For me, as a reader, characters can be a complete deal-breaker. And, sadly, I never connected to Azra (she just came across so whiny and bitchy and unlike someone I’d want to be friends with), and I could have cared less about her circle of jinn gal friends and their mothers (who all make up a “sisterhood”, called a “Zar”). I could never remember anyone’s names or who was who. There were just too. Many. Characters. That all felt similar and cliche and cardboard-y and unappealing.
I also really disliked how jinn (who seem to be only women? A matriarchy, I suppose) can only be hot. Like, Azra wakes up on her sixteenth birthday to see she’s been given a complete makeover. It was kind of, I don’t know, sexist? To only portray these jinn as beautiful and hot? Like, you can’t be a wish-granting-magic-using genie if you have a larger nose and only A-cup boobs and slightly uneven eyebrows? This obsession with vanity irked me.
The good things about this book? Henry: He was adorable, the few brief times I saw him. Magic: Pretty awesome how you could just magic into existence some French fries. I want to learn that trick! And… that’s about it. There were a few snippets of interesting jinn culture and mythology, but I barely registered the words I was reading because I really didn’t give a crap about anyone. It was a chore to read the almost third of the book I did, sad to say.
I’ve read other reviews of this book and it seems that people either really liked this book or really didn’t. I’m also kind of glad I gave up before I reached the love triangle with Azra and Nate and Henry. (Just, no.) I tried to like Becoming Jinn, I did. I pushed myself through it to see if it would get better, but it didn’t, not for me. I’m disappointed, because this was a book I was really looking forward to. Sigh. You just can’t love ’em all. ♦
So tell me…
Have you read Becoming Jinn? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? What was the last book you read about genies, if you can recall? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!