Series: Becoming Jinn #1
Published by: Feiwel & Friends on April 21, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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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.
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
One Line: More contemporary than fantasy, so it was a nice attempt at a magical book.
In My Opinion: Worth a try!
Becoming Jinn didn’t turn out quite like I was expecting. I was hoping for more from the Jinn/fantasy side of the story and instead we get a more contemporary story than anything else. Yes, the Jinn elements are there, but it’s more so parlor tricks and we’re not really introduced into the magical world at all. Azra turns sixteen and comes into her Jinn powers. She is tasked with granting wishes for people, but we very little of any actual wish-granting. It’s there, just not prominent. Everything kind of felt mediocre and even though Goldstein detailed how and why the jinn go about using their magic the way that they do, it didn’t make up for it. This book was more about a girl reaching a certain age where she’s finally allowed more responsibility (i.e. her powers) and gets into crazy situations because she’s unprepared to handle it all. There’s a love triangle, which I didn’t mind too much, and a lot of (maybe too many) female characters that weren’t as involved with the story as I thought they would be. I feel like we get a lot of stuff, but nothing really comes of it.
Azra got on my nerves quite a bit. I understand her need to break free and I definitely don’t like how oppressive the Afrit are, but her defiance was selfish and immature most of the time. She was just a bit too stubborn in all the wrong ways for my taste. Maybe I should cut her some slack since she is only sixteen, but I guess I prefer sixteen-year-olds who are more mature. The girls in her Zar weren’t the best, but they, except for one, tried to connect with her as best they could and she just wasn’t having any of it. I understood to some extent, given that her best friend passed away and how they never accepted her, but Laila wasn’t that bad and I didn’t like how she treated her at all. There was one thing that she did to Laila that I couldn’t understand her reasoning for, even when she explained it like five times. I was still like, “yes, but why did you even do it?!”. Even when it came to Henry, what started out as a mutual friendship, with an obvious to me/oblivious to her attraction, turned into a pretty selfish relationship on her part. Despite my obvious issues with Azra, she does have a good heart and she cares deeply for most of the people around her. I especially liked her relationship with Nate. He’s such a sweetheart and even though I was rooting for Henry at first, I really like both guys right now and can’t decide who I like more.
Oh, and I didn’t like Azra’s mom. Once again, the “lying by omission to protect you” spiel rolls its ugly head and I know it’s not this particular book’s fault. It’s a plot tool that I loathe in general so I don’t really fault the author for it. I do, however, dislike how it took way too long for the truth to come out. If I’m 75% in and the truth still hasn’t come out, I get pissed. Heck, if I’m 50% in and it doesn’t happen, I get pissed, but that’s more because I’m impatient and I know if all the secrets are revealed it won’t make for a very intriguing book, so 75% it is. Here, it went well into the 90% territory. Grrrrr…
With that said, I’m still somewhat interested in seeing where this series goes. Since we get hardly anything about the Afrit, Janna (the land where they come from), and how powerful the Jinn really are, I’m curious. I’m hoping we get to actually be in Janna in the next book and that more secrets are revealed. Since all the jinn on Earth are females (because of the Afrit), I really want to get a chance to meet the male jinn who are stuck in Janna. I only hope Goldstein has some real creative magic up her sleeve or else this series will be a flop.