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Djinn City

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  434 ratings  ·  113 reviews
Indelbed is a lonely kid living in a crumbling mansion in the super dense, super chaotic third world capital of Bangladesh. When he learns that his dead mother was a djinn — more commonly known as a genie — and that his drunken loutish father is a sitting emissary to the djinns (e.g. a magician), his whole world is turned inside out. Suddenly, and for reasons that totally ...more
Paperback, 413 pages
Published November 2017 by Unnamed Press (first published October 24th 2017)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  434 ratings  ·  113 reviews

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K.J. Charles
An absolute barnstormer of a read, set in Bangladesh. This looks on the surface like an urban fantasy novel--boy with weird father in crumbling mansion discovers strange supernatural world of djinn, moving into adventure quest. Except a) the plot diverges wildly from anything you expect, and b) it's not only a fantasy, it's simultaneously the darkest possible satire, of Bangladesh, humanity, and the effects of wealth and power. (Author's previous book, the excellent Escape from Baghdad!, is also ...more
Aimal (Bookshelves & Paperbacks)
I'm confused about this. Because it started off great, and it's incredibly imaginative, well-written, and laugh-out-loud funny. It takes the largely untapped lore of djinn and weaves something incredible out of it. Politics, djinn currency, airships, giant sea monsters, dragons, enchanted vases and glasses, and a decent amount of fascinating genetic science... the world-building gives Harry Potter some competition.

But as the novel progressed, I felt like it was doing too much. Instead of remaini
Kristen Burns
3.5 Stars

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

Djinns! So many djinns! YES!

A couple years ago I read some urban fantasy books about djinns and decided they just weren't for me. But I became interested in them again lately, so I decided to give this book a try, and apparently the problem was the books themselves, not djinns, because this version was super interesting!

The author clearly put a lot of thought into the djinn aspect, and that was
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Escape from Baghdad! was such a delight, I was so hopeful I'd like the authors second novel at least as much. There is a book buried within this one that could have been that book for me. I loved the character of Indelbed, who had such an innocent, self-deprecating nature - the perfect raw material to go through trials and become a heartfelt hero. He was the real beating heart of the book, and his story line was great. The Rais story line, on the other hand, was cartoony, with lots of action but ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Great fantasy book that doesn’t have a single elf dwarf goblin orc or troll in it. So refreshing. The ending however leads me to believe the author passed out and his agent sent it off for publishing without consulting the author or reading the manuscript.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love the worldbuilding and plot twists! Solid page turner of a novel. Though I enjoyed it, be warned that it ends on a major cliffhanger with no sequel in sight.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Special note: I was sent this book by Unnamed Press. I'm giving an honest review.

I have read a little bit of another djinn series (The Bartimaeus trilogy) before, which I enjoyed, so I was very excited about this book. It was interesting to see the difference between these books and their presentation of djinn mythology, such as who holds the power (djinn or humans).

Djinn City was very lyrically written (which I enjoyed and am very familiar with because of my mother's writing). It read like poe
Peter Tillman
Apr 30, 2020 marked it as to-read
I *think* I read this one, or most of it. If my memory is correct, it was a DNF of a used copy, since recycled. So no independent confirm (library check-out list), and I didn't keep notes. It was... OK. Interesting. Definitely a YA book, and not the sort I would usually read. I must have had a pretty good reco, to go to the trouble of buying a copy. Not this one, but it is good:

Nope, the book I was thinking of was "Jasmine Nights" by S.P. Somtow. Otherwise
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable read. It was funny, smart, and inventive. I liked the setting and the characters. I wasn't sure how a story about djinns or genies would go but I was very engaged in this story. The worldbuilding was clever and not too far-fetched or technical (ok, the section on genetics was more detailed than I would have liked so I skimmed it.)

The ending didn't go as I wanted but it was reasonable given everything that led up to it.

I would definitely read other books by this author. Hi
Vanessa Price
Mar 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Did not finish at 30% through.

I hate giving up on books and I've only done it a few other times, but it took me almost TWO WEEKS to get not even half way through, and I just decided I didn't care anymore. My problem was mainly the excess of word vomit that was the world building. Very little happened in the story to the point that I read because the characters spent all their time describing the world and the very complicated politics in the world of the djinns. It was all pretty hard to digest,
I loved this book - great story, great dark comedy tone and a vividly built world without losing sight of the plot. I liked how the fantastical elements of the story are woven into mundane Dhaka life. The harshness - of the characters and the environment - felt realistic. Also, this isn't just a story about Indelbed, but a whole host of characters and it's all the better for it. I do hope the writer publishes a sequel.

I really wanted to give this 5 stars but had to hold back because of a few iss
Bryan Wigmore
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Not often I give a book three stars but then put the author's other title straight on my "to read" list. The writing voice here is mostly lively, erudite and fun, there are some fascinating ideas, and the djinn and their society and history are very well worked out. At the same time, the djinn all seem rather ridiculous (which is a neat idea, but doesn't allow for much of the sense of awe that I like in fantasy), and all speak in much the same voice: the same voice as most of the humans, in fact ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
I LOVED this book. Until I got about 3/4 through. By the time I got almost to the end, it was a disaster, and I am quite unsatisfied with, not only the turn of events, but also how everything just seemed thrown together. Plot changes and character shifts because the story had to go some place in the author's mind?

I don't know. It's worth a read, I'm just let down.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found myself savouring each page, not wanting the book to end. A masterpiece. Brilliant. At times laugh out loud. Dark. Magical. The characters will stay with you after you put the book down. Now to wait for the sequel ..... sigh.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonky last 1/4- definitely just chopped off for a sequel

First 3/4 are amazing though

This book is long.  This book is dense.  Try to just breezily rush through this and you will miss things.  This book is also smart and sarcastic and snarky and everything else I love.

Indelbed is adorable.  He's from the embarrassing part of a prominent family.  He's pretty much being ignored by his alcoholic father who is in turn ignored by the extended family.  He's just going about his life the best he can hoping that maybe someday one of his aunts will notice that things are really not ok in
Jun 02, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-sf
Escape from Baghdad! this ain't. I'm jumping ship to The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday.

But not before leaving you with this tidbit:
“But how, you might ask, did the djinn evolve such a useful and unlikely ability? Which dread organ allows this ‘magic’? Which terrible forge was this… er, forged in?”
“I might ask,” Indelbed said, suppressing a groan. There were times of extreme boredom when he was half tempted to let loose the distortion field and have the swarm eat him, if only to enjoy a bit of p
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Closer to 4.5 stars. It ended.

I really enjoyed this story, I laughed, got angry, sad, wanted retribution for Indelbed, felt vindicated at times, but was really just engrossed in this book. Hossain definitely knows how to inject a book with the right amounts of magic, science, philosophy, mystery and humour; not to mention sly and love-to-hate-them characters.

Djinn City is the product of a writer that was just as driven to create a story featuring djinn, as I was in devouring a story about djinn
a hooded figure from your friendly neighbourhood dog park
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
there is a fantastic novel in here somewhere—the story and world is imaginative as hell and is clearly trying to offer timely commentary, but this needed another draft or two with an editor. multiple sections collapsed under the weight of lore exposition (getting WAY too detailed about genetic science, for instance) or simply what feels like a rush on the part of the author to hurry to the next part, ending most chapters with long stretches straight dialogue absent of any fleshing-out with descr ...more
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018reads
Pretty much gonna read anything with djinns these days, thanks to the Djinni & the Golem. This one was fun — better than Alif the Unseen in a more rollicking adventure kind of way, not as good as Golem & the Djinni which is really literary.

But this was super fun (if shallow on the character development end), and: there will be sequels!
Paromita  Piya (Peekabook)
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When you think about YA fantasy novel. They all fall under the same type. Something terrible is going to happen to this world and then enters the hero to save the day. But what really makes this book different is that there is quite a few number of characters that play a big role throughout this whole book and don’t forget about the Djinns. This is one of the best science fiction and urban fantasy novel I have read in a long time. Saad Z Hossain is a wonderful story teller and the book was able ...more
Saad Hossain knocks it out of the park with this, his second novel, a worthy follow-up to the excellent Escape from Baghdad!. This is an epic win: a fun, unique fantasy adventure that will appeal to fans of Tim Powers and China Miéville.

The enjoyably bonkers plot centres around Indelbed, a forlorn Bangladeshi kid growing up in the questionable care of his decrepit, drunk father. They live in a crumbling old house in the chaotic city of Dhaka - and Dhaka grows to be a character in its own right
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an interesting and enjoyable book that builds a fascinating lore while telling a pretty good story. There's some humor, but I didn't find it as funny as a lot of reviewers apparently did. The biggest knock against this book is that it just ends. Like suddenly stops dead with no resolution. I'm assuming there's a sequel (I haven't been able to find definitive info one way or another), but that would have been nice to know going into it.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 21st-century, fantasy
One of my favorite podcasts has a Wtf rating and I’m inclined to think that might be appropriate here.
This book is fascinating, intriguing, occasionally a slog, and a little bit what would happen if the Arabian nights, the 19th century novel, and a twitter feed had a very strange child.
I don’t quite know what to do with it and I don’t quite know whether that’s because I’m missing something that it’s doing or if it’s just like this on purpose.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Thoroughly recommended.

I really enjoyed this read. A touch of China Miéville and Brandon Sanderson...yet 100% Saad Hossain. Top quality.

I give it a solid 4/5. And, yes, I took away one star for being a cliffhanger...and not being up front about it. Bad Publisher!
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Named as one of the Guardian’s best books of the year, Djinn City evokes the supernatural world of djinns who are permeated in the popular imagination either through the cartoons like Aladdin or television series like I Dream of Jeannie where genies are subservient to their human masters or through movies where they are characterized as evil, dark characters whose very existence is to afflict agony and torment humankind. In both the scenarios, their world circles around the human world. However, ...more
I would definitely wanted to have said I love this book and would recommend it to everyone, because this is a paranormal fantasy set in my hometown Dhaka. But in all honesty, I just can't say that.

It started off pretty great. It seemed like the protagonist was a little boy called Indelbed who lived in some part of Dhaka (on the outskirts) that I hadn't even heard of, who was basically neglected by his drunkard father and brought up by the family's caretaker. And although he lived in poverty, he
Vivek Anandh
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 400, owned
When can a fiction be called a success?
I have a simple answer for this. It succeeds only when it succeeds in obeying its own construction of the world. When a fictional work is written the author constructs an artificial world with each word that writes. That world is possessed of its own intrinsic qualities that are unique to it. It does not matter whether you call is a science fiction or not. Every fictional story has its own laws of physics that it must obey. In that world there can be no gra
Sarina M
Apr 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hossain has built a complex world and included many twists and turns in his story, including traveling all over the globe (even in other dimensions) with intricate (often magical) characters. Whenever I would get the "ah I see where this is going" idea, then there would be a sharp turn to another track. This created a dramatically exciting read.

That said, this took me forever to finish as I read it in spurts, and would put it down and not pick it back up for weeks. I suppose my problem was that
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