With the prospect of only one month left until the beginning of a new school year I figured it was time to get a longer book off of my TBR shelf. For this feat I decided to read Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni, as it runs just shy of 500 pages and I’ve heard nothing but praises about it. Did I enjoy reading 484 pages before the start of a new term? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
Telling the story of two displaced magical creatures, The Golem and the Jinni follows Chava, a golem, and Ahmad, a jinni, as they navigate through the streets of New York
in 1899. Becoming unlikely friends, Chava and Ahmad weave in and out of subjects such as race, religion, friendship and heartbreak until an event threatens to tear them apart. When a powerful threat to enslave the pair for their own dark bidding, Chava, Ahmad, and the friends they’ve met along the way must band together to stop the dark fate that waits for them at the end of the line.
I finally decided, after numerous recommendations, to pick up this book, and boy oh boy was I not disappointed.
First and foremost I chose to listen to The Golem and the Jinni rather than lug the 484 page behemoth around with me. The narrator of the audiobook kept my ears glued to the story, and if you get the chance I highly recommend it.
I did notice, when I was first carrying this book around to mark my progress, that the cover is incredibly fragile, and that the only complaint I have about this stunner is that I already have fraying on the corners.
The story itself was beautifully written, with layer upon layer intricately woven together to create a slow burning but satisfying story. Due to its slow nature, I felt that the audiobook kept me interested enough to push through the dull bits.
What I really enjoyed about the novel is the historic setting. Wecker was able to explore both immigration and humanity by setting her debut in 1899 New York, and it genuinely made me want to read up about the time period in which she chose.
I also rather enjoyed Wecker’s ability to weave both Jewish and Arabian folklore in such a way that I felt that I was reading about these literary figures for the first time.
My only other complaint with this book is I didn’t find Schaalam to be the most terrifying of villains, but I just recently discovered that this book is the first in a series so hopefully his character becomes more menacing as the series goes on.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.