Series: Becoming Jinn #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on April 21, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
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.
Becoming Jinn is Azra’s coming of Jinni age story. It has a contemporary summer setting where Azra has just had her 16th birthday and receives her silver bangle that binds her to service as a jinni. She must grant one wish to each human she is assigned by the Afrit. She doesn’t want to be a jinni and has been rebelling against everything this life will force upon her for almost as long as she can remember.
Drama, drama, drama
Take away the magic and Becoming Jinn could have been any young adult slice of life contemporary romance with oodles of family and friends drama. So if you’re a YA reader that normally enjoys contemporary teen dramas this might be right up your alley. Unfortunately I am not so I found myself agitated for most of the book.
You’re agitating me
– This book is about Azra coming to terms with what and who she is and also trying to resolve her emotional turmoil over that while attempting to patch some fences with her “family.” That lends itself to my reasoning that this is more like a contemporary novel rather then a fantasy. There was no other “bigger” plot. But there was a bunch of setup for future books, so looking at it like that this is the setup book. I would have preferred a little something more from the Afrit vs Jinn plot line to offset all the Identity crisis, teen and family drama.
– A zar or circle of five teenage girls (and a matching one made up of their mothers). What happens when you have that many characters? Most of them end up being stereotyped and none really got the character development they needed to make them real people to me.
– Another love terrible err triangle. At this point I’m beginning to think that there isn’t a YA book out there that doesn’t employ the one girl two boys thread. Oh elusive book without the triangle where are you!? – ok I’m being extreme, the YA without the triangle exists, it’s just as rare as unicorn blood. [Spoiler]At least here Azra doesn’t realize she’s interested in one of the boys, Henry, in that way because he’s her best friend. As for the other boy Nate, the romance was so very weak and how it ends up is much too rushed especially given the circumstances of their relationship (having barely passed a few texts back and forth and not even had three dates).[/spoiler] I found things between them to be shallow.
– The anti-climax of endings. After reading almost 400 pages I felt like I was really let down by the lack of progress in the “bigger picture.” Instead this is all very focused on Azra and her drama. And I tell you she is a self centered brat who doesn’t realize she is a brat.
– I wanted / needed more magic! Yes magic is used casually all throughout the book, and yes a few wishes are granted – but I only felt like magic was used meaningfully in two instances. There was even a family grimoire aka “cantamen” that sounded so fascinating and yet only gets screen time once!
I would recommend this to contemporary YA readers who want a dash of magic in their reading.