The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the Jinni follows two parallel stories: that of a Golem and a Jinni (of course), each finding their way from fall flung shores to circa 1900 New York City.

It’s a relatively complex narrative structure, jumping from the Golem to the Jinni and even to a few minor characters within the space of a chapter. Even in one viewpoint, there are multiple timelines, showing how events a thousand years apart all fit together. Yet despite all of this, I never got lost, never couldn’t figure out where I was in the story. It took a while for the story lines to start coming together (for a while, it felt like reading two books), but once they do things just keep pushing towards the conclusion.

Two things in particular I enjoyed about the story were the characters and the magic. The Golem and the Jinni have very different personalities, down to the very core of the sorts of beings they are. There is some commentary about the idea of an unchanging nature and choosing your own fate which I particularly enjoyed. I really felt for both of them by the end of the book and could see why they made the choices they made (even if they didn’t make any logical sense).

The magic of the world was also neat. It’s fascinating to see the magic of real world traditions. I honestly don’t know how much of it was ‘real’ and how much embellished, but it all stayed just close enough to reality that I could see such things happening just like that in a close cousin of our own world.

Overall, this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I’m glad my book club choose it, otherwise it might have been a while before I got around to it.

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