Series: Becoming Jinn #1
Published by Macmillan on April 21st 2015
Number of Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Mythology, Paranormal, Romance, Urban, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
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.
I won this ARC over at On Starships And Dragon Wings. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Azra spends most of the book rebelling against being a Jinn. For her entire life, she’s hated the fact that on her 16th birthday she will get her magical powers and have to grant wishes. We learn a bit about how Jinn society has changed since one particular family gained power. How it used to be good, the Jinn were able to choose their own targets for granting wishes, and were able to live in family groups. But now everything is bad and they are basically enslaved to the Afrit.
While that was interesting, we don’t learn most of that until towards the end of the book. So most of the book is filled with teen angst, and Azra doing things she isn’t supposed to do. I kind of liked her as a character, and I liked some of her ‘sisters’. But we don’t really get to know the sisters all that well since Azra isn’t close to them.
If you remove all the magic, and the fact that this is a book about Jinn, it reads like a typical young adult book with a bit of romance to it. Lots of sneaking off to do things she isn’t supposed to do, snooping into her mother’s things, dating a cute boy while trying not to fall for her dead best friend’s older brother. Azra is supposed to be coming to an understanding about what she is, and mending her relationships with her mother and her zar sisters. There is magic in the book, but it isn’t enough to have kept my attention through all the drama.
The family grimoire sounded really interesting and like it would be a fun plot point. Unfortunately, Azra spends most of the book avoiding actually reading it. So we learned almost nothing about it. The same went for her magic lessons and spells. It wasn’t all that believable that a Jinn would only get 3 ‘practice’ people for wishes before being expected to be able to do it completely on their own. Especially when they don’t come into their powers until the age of 16, and thus don’t get to practice anything.
Azra comes off as a bit of a self-centered brat of a character, and while she doesn’t realize a lot of her brattiness, it’s quite obvious to the readers. The end of the book was better than the first 50% or so, but it wasn’t really good enough to make me want to read the next book in the series.
If you like contemporary YA books, you’d probably enjoy this one more than I did.