Standalone Sunday April 16th 2017 YA review: The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker

Standalone Sunday is a feature created by Megan@bookslayereads (https://bookslayerreads.com) where each Sunday a standalone book (not part of a series) that I loved or would recommend will be featured!

I love that meme as it takes little time to do (I’m always running like the real busy bee I am) AND I get to promote a book I really loved. This is the perfect idea for me!

If you want to play, feel free but don’t forget to tag Megan’s blog.

 

This week I’d like to feature some Fantasy book I’ve received as gift from a friend.

The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker is a fantastic tale happening in New York in the year 1899. The main protagonists are…well a Golem and a Djinni.

 

♥ My Thoughts ♥

4,5 stars


The golem and the djinni photo The Golem and the djinni_zps74y4jouq.jpg

This book was a gift from a very good friend and I’m so happy she sent it my way. She made me once more discover a little gem.

It looks like a tale, it tastes like a tale and it’s a wonderful tale. This is the story of an unexpected and unlikely friendship between a Golem without master and a Djinni, both lost in New York’s streets around 1900.

The writing was truly beautiful and with just a few sentences, Helene Wecker brushed vivid portraits for each character, every side character more colorful than the other. I could feel the tradition and fervor of the Jews neighborhoods, the atmosphere of Little Syria with its hen mother Maryam Faddoul, the coffeehouse proprietress. I walked alongside Chava and Ahmad on cold night, climbed on New York’s rooftops and admired angel fountains in Central Park.

The pace was steady, slow in the beginning to let us be introduced to the many side characters destined to play their part in the story and becoming quicker by the end, a rush against the hour when the threat was so close all seemed lost. The back and forth between past and present did not make sense in the beginning until everything came full circle.

I was immersed in Chava and Ahmad’s poignant stories. They were polar opposite and inhuman, both trapped by a destiny they did not ask for, both trying to adapt to their new life and desperate to find their place in this strange world.

Honestly I did not like the Djinni until the last chapters. I found him too careless, egotistical and reckless for my taste. But of course, I also understood that’s what he was, his true nature. He was so enraged and resented relentlessly the loss of his freedom. He was meant to be free to roam the earth as he pleased, not be trapped in this human body.
”Because I was above this once! I depended on no one! I went where I would and followed my desires. I needed no money, no employer, no neighbors.” “But weren’t you ever lonely?” “Oh, sometimes. But then I’d seek out my own kind and enjoy their company for a while. And then we’d part ways again, as we saw fit.”
He made choices without a care in the world, never thinking what could befall others. Until he met Chava and they began to argue, until he hurt Matthew, until…

Chava was the star of the book, my favorite by far. The Djinni was made of fire but she was made of clay. She was selfless to his selfishness, anxious where he was reckless. She was lost without a master. Her purpose and true nature was to serve, to be needed and guided. How many times did she think she would rather be destroyed than hurt human with her formidable strength?

Their unexpected friendship helped them better themselves. The Djinni helped Chava to let go, have some fun and Chava showed Ahmad the errors of his way, the hurt he could cause.
”We can’t seem to talk without fighting.” “It’s strange that we can be friends. I hope that you do consider me a friend, and not a burden. I don’t want these walks to be something you dread.” “I look forward to walking with you. I think I even look forward to the arguments. You understand what my life is, even if we disagree. So yes, I consider you a friend. And I would miss this, if we stopped.”

This story was magic. It was vivid and compelling like any good tale.

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4 Replies to “Standalone Sunday April 16th 2017 YA review: The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker”

  1. I tried reading this book a while back, but found it a little too slow for my liking, and did not finish it. Glad you liked it though

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you! It’s true the pace is slower than many fantasy books but it did not diminish my enjoyment 😉

  2. Been thinking of reading this one. I wasn’t sure though until now.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well I loved this one. It’s not fast paced but the characters are so interesting and so humans in their flaws, questionment and all.

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