Series: The Jinni Wars #1
Published by Random House Childrens Books on July 22nd 2014
Genres: fantasy, young adult
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A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .
Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.
I was so excited to read this book when it hit my Kindle from NetGalley. I had my eye on this ever since I saw it on Cover Snark. When NetGalley approved me, I instantly cleared my schedule.
I can’t say that I am not disappointed. There was some internal hype that I had to struggle with when I finished it, and I did set a certain standard for the story since I loved The Golem and the Jinni. However, The Fire Wish turned to be more of an “itty-bitty living space” book than a “cosmic power” read.
The characters were so flat and just uninteresting. I could hardly tell anyone apart. They all had the same voice, then same actions, and downright acted the same. Zayele and Najwa did have opposite personalities, but it wasn’t as skin-deep as we are led to believe. Just have each girl act COMPLETELY different, that that will certainly cover all of the character development.
I didn’t understand the culture of the jinni race until I pieced together some information after reading the entire book. It is never, ever, EVER a bad idea to do some world building. I don’t like to feel confused or lost during an entire read because everything is glossed over and maybe you’ll get it by the end. This book had a wonderful chance to explain a very interesting culture, inspired by a race that exists in Arabic mythology.
Instalove EVERYWHERE. “You are acting so different now and I like it. I LOVE YOU.” “I am mildly interested in you, I LOVE YOU.” It stung to read spontaneous declarations of love around every corner.
I understand that this was a debut novel, and, if I am honest, it showed. I think this author has some potential, since the plot was clever and it was set up nicely, but the writing was just not up to par for the age group (young adult).
The plot was very interesting, and I did enjoy the backstory of the two main characters. Arabian ideas and culture do come into play for the story, but there is very little and I sure would have liked to see more of it pop up in the book. The subject material of Arabic mythology is usually avoided, thanks to the attitude towards Middle Eastern countries at the moment, and the landscape is poorer because of the negative attention paid forward by the media.
If you are dying to read something inspired by Arabian folklore, then you might get some enjoyment out of The Fire Wish. The characters were bland, the instalove was a plague, and the writing tended to lean towards the subpar category. It isn’t going to cause me to pass over this author in the future, but I will think twice before getting my hopes up again.