Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review: Becoming Jinn


One of the Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror of 2015 by VOYA Magazine

Harry Potter meets Twilight in debut novelist Lori Goldstein’s magical tale of sixteen-year-old Azra, a teenage girl whose Jinn ancestry transforms her into a modern-day genie. With the power to grant anyone’s wish but her own, Azra pretends to be human, spending her days at the beach, enjoying a budding romance, and evading her Jinn destiny. But when she discovers she may not be like the rest of her circle of Jinn, will her powers save or endanger them all?




 


 

 

 

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Title: Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn #1)

Author: Lori Goldstein

Release Date: April 21st 2015

Pages: 384

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends


I’m a genie in a bottle baby, you got to rub me the right way honey
I’m a genie in a bottle baby, come, come, come on and let me out

…. Oh wait. Wrong kind of genie. And no bottles. Thanks anyhow Christina Aguilera!

Fret not friends! There’s still plenty of wishes, magic, and fun to be had! Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn #1) had all the promise of being a fantastic YA book on jinn/djinn lore, and in some ways it was.  Although I was a little disappointed with its execution at times, I am still crossing my fingers that the next book will pick up for me and that I will fall in love with the series.  Here’s the bits I loved, and the not-so-fantastic parts.

Favorite Bits:
o   The Sisterhood: Lack of female friendships in YA is something that’s been heavily discussed for a while now.  When I was at a book signing in Naperville a few months back for the release of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken and Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, they touched on this briefly.  Did you know there are VERY few YA books published each year that have scenes that involve women talking about things other than men?  In almost all instances the only conversations that take place revolve around men and relationships, as if a woman’s whole purpose in life is centered around finding their significant other. How sad! And then BAM! I read Becoming Jinn and in very few scenes DID the girls focus solely on boys and their dating lives.  Sure, Azra’s sisters talk about the human boys they’ve met and how adorable they are, but a lot of the dialogue involves discussing their future and their powers.  They lean on one another for support and even though Azra may not love (or understand) all of her Zar sisters, she realizes just how important it is to have them and why her mother has so heavily stressed the significance of this bond all her life.  I loved the female representation in this book and the closeness of the Jinn females.  Left on earth to fulfill the wishes of humans, Jinn women are on their own after the Afrit (the governing body of Jinn in their world) sent all husbands and men back to their world. 
o   The Ending: The last 100 or so pages of the book is what really saved me from giving this book a lower rating than what I did.  The plot got REALLY good all of a sudden and all of the confusing parts of the story finally started to come together and make more sense.  I loved that the book left off in the middle of a wish (don’t worry I won’t say whose) because now I feel obligated to get the next book when it comes out despite my initial reservations about book one. 

Not So Favorite Parts
o   The Restrictions: There’s a few rules that are instated in the world of the Jinn in this book, and that’s probably what made this book so confusing for me at times.  I felt like the construction of the rules by the Afrit wasn’t explained enough and Azra’s mom and her Zar sisters only explained bits and pieces to their daughters, which made it more complicated as a reader to understand.  Perhaps the most confusing part of the book for me was the last two wishes she made.  The process she goes through with these wishes differs from the beginning of the book when she first gets her powers and is assigned a human.  I had to reread these chapters a few times which was frustrating because I felt like there was a change in the rules/structure of the wish-granting ritual. 
o   The Foreshadowing: In hindsight I realize just how much foreshadowing there really was in this book, but at the time it just felt like random and unnecessary bits of information thrown into the book that didn’t make sense at the time.  Like at the beginning they mentioned Henry’s sister a lot and her relationship with Azra (which gets explained as the book progresses) and initially it just felt like information overload.  Then there were other small moments that they would be in the middle of a scene and all of a sudden it was like “Oh I’m going to look outside my window and hey! A random dog barking-that’s odd,” and return to current scene.  *scratches head. What just happened?

So where does that leave me? Well, for starters, up in the air about the potential of this series.  I didn’t hate this book at all, but it wasn’t one I flew through.  If I wasn’t such a big fan of jinn/djinn lore though, there’s a good chance I would have DNF’d after the rocky start Becoming Jinn had.  If we’re comparing it to other djinn/jinn series though I will say it’s not on the top of my list.  I recently finished reading the first two books in the Dark Caravan Series by Heather Demetrios and if I had to recommend a good series in this genre, that’s the first one that I’ll tell my friends about.  All things considered though, the book finished on a high note and I’ve heard good things about the next one in the series, which comes out in a month, so I’m still going to read that one. 


2 comments:

  1. Hm, not a rousing endorsement but at least the last 100 pages or so kicked into high gear and made it worthwhile. The lack of explanation/details about how things worked is what would bug me. If you're going to introduce powers or a magic system or a new world, you have to give some explanation. I hate feeling lost while reading. Ugh!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah it's ok! Maybe the series will get better but as far as I'm concerned right now, it's not a favorite of mine! There was just so much potential and worldbuilding that went unexplored.

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