Saturday, June 28, 2014

REVIEW: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

I'm not sure why I decided to read The Golem and the Jinni, with it not being my usual type of fantasy novel and with so many others on my shelf to read. I think I was intrigued by the title and some of the good reviews.

I'm really glad I gave it a go. The book starts out with and mostly maintains a quiet pace, simmering along on a low burn. Most fantasies have to pummel you with exposition before unwaveringly diving straight into the drama. The Golem and the Jinni does away with both of these, primarily because it is set on Earth (mostly at the end of 19th century New York).

Fantasy smacking of ordinary fiction is usually a turn off for me, but Wecker finds the perfect balance in this, her first novel. She cleverly ties together and blends the stories of the two protagonists, Chava the Golem and Ahmad the Jinni, as well as a cast of intriguing, fully developed secondary characters. Having viewpoints from characters from a range of times, countries and ethnicities gives the story the intrigue that we usually get from fantasy.

Much to my surprise the story intensifies quite a lot, including some darker moments and unexpected revelations, making for an ultimately meaty read.

Wecker's writing style is calm and consistent, leaving no room for dissatisfaction. I couldn't have asked for anything more in this book!

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