by Lori Goldstein
Published on April 21st, 2015
by Feiwel & Friends
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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.
As Jinn seem to becoming more and more popular, especially in the YA world, I find myself interested in seeing how each other takes on the mythology and makes it their own. However, Becoming Jinn did not quite live up to my expectations for the book. It took a while for me to get into it, although it did pick up at the end.
What I Did Not Like:
Well…Azra. My main issues with this book stemmed from the main character herself. Azra was not easy to get along with. While I realize I can’t relate to every character, and some are going to be unlikeable, at some parts Azra was too much. She was whiny and petulant, which made reading this from her POV hard. I realize that she has a right to be upset about being forced to be this thing that she does not want to be. But at the same time, she had 16 years to prepare for it, and yet she all of a sudden turned into a jerk about it. I also hated how she treated everyone around her, from her mom to her Zar sisters. There was also a love triangle-turned-square going on that seemed unnecessary. Although, I actually liked Nate, so hopefully he isn’t just a filler. Also, some of the nuances of actual magic using just seemed…sketchy.
What I Liked:
I did like the worldbuiliding. This was a very interesting concept, and I think it was executed pretty well. I also did like the secondary characters, from her mother to Henry to Laila, which made me feel all the more when Azra treated them badly. There were a lot of secrets, and hidden things, so we get to see those things slowly come to light, which added detail without info-dumping. Like I said, it did pick up toward the end, making me want to know what happened. Azra, for all her faults, does grow and mature, which was nice to see.
There were some big things revealed at the end that caught my attention. Although I was unsure about continuing this series, between the ending and Azra’s changed behavior, I could be convinced to pick up the second in the series. I thought this was a great foundation for the world-building, and that this series and author have some great potential.
Rachel Marie reviews at The Nerd Herd Reads
RachelMarie is book lover and nerd extraordinaire. She might drink way too much coffee, and read too many books.