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 review from the publisher, that does not influence my review.
I’m not usually into paranormal books, but I love reading interpretations of mythological creatures/beings, and Becoming Jinn sounded like the perfect mix of contemporary fiction + supernatural!
Azra has always known she’s a Jinn. Her mother, and her grandmother and her great-grandmother (and so on) were also Jinn and this ability (if that’s the right word) is passed down from generation to generation. When Azra turns 16, she’s finally able to use her powers and grant wishes for humans. But, there are plenty of strings attached- and these rules are set out by the Afrit, a council that overrules all Jinn. Becoming Jinn explores themes of coming-of-age, rebellion, family and self-acceptance. It’s a whirlwind of great messages that blend into an entertaining story.
I loved the world-building of Becoming Jinn. While there are some info-dumps in the beginning, I think the Jinn world was very well explained and definitely strategically written. I loved learning more about the world with Azra, as she was learning along with readers. The plot of Becoming Jinn is a bit slow at times but picks up quite quickly. There are tons of interesting and compelling subplots as well as the main plot which really helped develop the story. The flashbacks and references to Azra’s past really made me connect with her and I felt like I truly understood her.
My only qualm is with the romance. I’m sorry, I just do not like Nate. I get that Azra’s liked him for a while and (yay!) he starts seeing her in a new light during the course of the book but I just can’t connect to it. I see hints of a love triangle (with Henry, Azra’s best friend) and I am definitely rooting for Henry in the sequel. I *wish* the book didn’t end so early, I definitely need to read more of Azra’s story!
Overall, Becoming Jinn is a great debut that I will be recommending to all people looking for a fun, and somewhat intense, take on genies! I recommend it for people reluctant to read fantasy, Becoming Jinn blends reality and myth superbly!