Format: Paperback | 384 pages
Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy
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 apparently part one of a two part duology by author Lori Goldstein. Goldstein's story is a contemporary take on what it is like to be a Jinn in the modern world. In Azra Nadira's world, she is responsible for granting wishes just like her mother, her grandmother, and great-grandmother before her. Azra has been hoping to put off her ascension into the ranks of Jinn for awhile longer, perhaps forever. But, when her Sixteenth birthday comes around and wakes up to find that she's wearing a silver bracelet that releases her magic, and has been transformed overnight into the adult version of her self, life as she knows it is about to become very different.
This means her hair has grown long, her nails are painted and sharp, and she's grown a few inches as well. To say that she's not at all happy, would be putting it mildly. In fact, it is rather humorous at the number of ways that Azra tries to get out of being a Jinn and remain a human all which fail. She's aware that she is now at the mercy of a powerful council of ruling Jinn called the Afrit. She will be tied to them until she uses up all her magic, or until they say otherwise. They will be the ones to tell her who to grant wishes for. They will be the one's watching over her 24/7 to make sure she follows through with their rules. One slip up, can send Azra or her mother away forever.
Azra's world now includes five other "sister" Jinn's that will make up her circle of Zar sisterhood. The others include Laila, Yasmin, Hana, Mina, and Farrah. But, my two favorite characters were Samara, and her own mother Kalyssa, especially Samara who probably should have been Azra's mother they are so alike in what they want to do about the Afrit. Zar's are a circle of sisters who are bonded together for life. They are supposed to help each other through hard choices. They are supposed to help each other understand their magics. While her "sisters" use humans for their own entertainment purposes, Azra has no problem sharing her problems and troubles with her next door neighbor Henry, and falling for the sexy lifeguard Nate who also plays lacrosse and is a genuinely nice guy.
Let me be clear on something. Azra's isn't the easiest character to like. She hates that she's forced to deal with her "sister" jinn's. She hates that she can't just give away her powers to someone who wants them. She comes across as aloof at times which gives her a reputation as being untouchable or a bitch at school. But, her determination, spunk, sarcasm, and dislike of the Jinn caste isn't misplaced. Misguided at times, yes. But, there's good reasons to be wary about the Afrit. I didn't much like the fact that she put distance between herself and her friend/fellow Jinn sister Laila who has always been there for her.
I didn't like that Azra allowed herself to be caught by Henry, or the fact that he is around at the most inopportune time. I hated that she rushed to grant wishes, instead of making sure everything was on the up and up. A positive for me was that Azra doesn't fall in love with two boys. She really likes Nate, and that is the end of any Azra/Henry/Nate triangle. Of course, she isn't happy with who Henry falls for but that is neither here nor there. Henry may like/love Azra, but her feelings are definitely for Nate. Let's hope it remains that way.
As Azra uncovers the darker world of BECOMING JINN, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick. She discovers some secrets that could change everything in regards to her legacy, and her own abilities. I would offer that most of Azra's mistakes could have been avoided had she listened to her mother and read the collection of information that was put together by past Jinn's. I would offer that I truly hope that she grows a bit more as a character in the next installment and doesn't whine as much. I would also love to see a resolution to the whole male Jinn's being sent off planet thing so that families can be reunited.
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