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The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1)
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The Golem and the Jinni > TGATJ: Finished (Spoilers)

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Adam Gutschenritter (heregrim) | 107 comments First, I have been having the debate on if to put this into historical fiction or urban fantasy. For me it hit much of what I love about both genres of stories such as both characters being seeped in the cultures of two different immigrant groups as well as the historical mythos/magic from outside the European perspective.

Second, Although I saw the finish coming (way to go Saleh) and the Jafaring of the villian I still found myself drawn to both of the main characters as they attempt to immigrate in two ways, both to the US and to the 1890s.

Third, I am sure more will be added as I continue to process....


Kevin | 701 comments Why pick one genre? If it fits both, put it into both. There's no reason something can only be one genre, on the contrary a lot of things are multiple genres.


Elizabeth Morgan (elzbethmrgn) | 274 comments I was so mad at the ending. Why did it have to go ahead and (view spoiler)


message 4: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tassie Dave | 3506 comments Mod
I didn't think it ended up as a romance.

Chava is debating whether that is even something that she wants or if Ahmad could settle down and be happy.
Ahmad doesn't even voice his thoughts on the subject.
In the whole book he doesn't show any romantic or lustful interest in her.

I saw them just as the odd couple who are happy to spend time together.

Do I think romance is an option for the sequel? Certainly.
Do I think it could work? No, for all the reasons Chava states in the epilogue.


Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I was so mad at the ending. Why did it have to go ahead and [spoilers removed]"

I think it's more of a (view spoiler)

On another note, this is my second time reading and I realized at the end that (view spoiler) I thought this was supposed to be a standalone but now I hear that there will be a sequel.


Kristina | 588 comments I really enjoyed the book. I was really interested in the characters and the back stories and how they all tied together eventually. I also liked that it didn't end up too romance-y between the two. I like that they came to care for each other over time and how they complimented each other's nature, instead of it becoming some steamy physical thing.


Kevin | 701 comments Joanna wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "I was so mad at the ending. Why did it have to go ahead and [spoilers removed]"

I think it's more of a [spoilers removed]

On another note, this is my second time reading and I r..."


From what I've read it was written as a stand alone, but because of its success there's going to be a sequel.


Phil | 1137 comments About halfway through there is mention of a rooftop derelict community. Were these really a thing historically? I've never heard of them before.


Darren What's wrong with romance?


Leesa (leesalogic) | 639 comments I enjoyed this book quite a bit.


Trike | 8291 comments Adam wrote: "First, I have been having the debate on if to put this into historical fiction or urban fantasy."

That's funny, I was just thinking we may need to create a new subgenre called Historical Urban Fantasy. UF taking place in the past when the author wrote it.

Adam wrote: "Second, Although I saw the finish coming (way to go Saleh) and the Jafaring of the villian I still found myself drawn to both of the main characters as they attempt to immigrate in two ways, both to the US and to the 1890s. "

For once I did not see the end playing out the way it did. Although I did correctly guess the ultimate denouement, I had pictured a different path.

I think the reason for that is because I've read so many other works which were written much more quickly, so there are throw-away characters who don't figure as large in the story as the secondary characters here do. In other books, characters like Saleh and Anna end up as flavor or, as the saying goes in filmmaking, "local color." They highlight the regionalism but rarely figure into the plot or character arcs.

This is why bookclubs in general and the S&L podcast in particular are so valuable. Tom and Veronica's discussion revealed that it took Wecker seven years to write this novel, and it really feels like time well spent. Not only was the research into the era excellent, but she really crafted an intricate piece that fits together like clockwork. If the smaller gears don't work, the entire thing comes to a stop.

I have to say, it's shame this didn't win the Hugo or World Fantasy Award. It was just Wecker's bad luck TGATJ was released the same year as Ancillary Justice, because it's definitely award-worthy, but it's not like AJ robbed Golem of its rightful place, since AJ is a worthy book, as well. That said, I think this book will last longer in terms of popularity. I think it will have staying power. It's kind of like when The Thin Man lost the Oscar to It Happened One Night. They're both great movies, so there's sense of "it was robbed!", but Thin Man has featured much larger in the culture as time has has passed. I feel like TGATJ will be the same way.


Trike | 8291 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I was so mad at the ending. Why did it have to go ahead and [morph into a romance?]"

I didn't get that at all. Not even a whiff, actually. I thought it was refreshing that here we have a story where a man and woman (for extreme outliers of the definition of such) can be friends rather than romantic partners, refuting the When Harry Met Sally conclusion that men and women can never be friends.


message 13: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tassie Dave | 3506 comments Mod
"I'll have what she's having" ;-)

The more I think about it the less chance I see romance in any future storyline for Chava and Ahmad.

It just doesn't fit either of their personalities to be happy with the other as more than a friend.


Leesa (leesalogic) | 639 comments I liked this way of presenting NYC in the past more so than in "Time and Again", which was way too quaint for me


Trike | 8291 comments Oh, I meant to mention here (as I did in my review) if you Google "NYC 1899" you'll get a good set of photos of New York from that era. The skyline, Central Park, elevated trains, carriages, hansom cabs, etc.

If you then add "Little Syria" to that, you'll even get some nice photos that look like the inside of the bakery. Wrecker really brought that area to life.

I'd also recommend the 1999 PBS documentary series "New York." The first few episodes cover this era.

The Italian side of my family came to NYC in the 1880s, so a lot of what Wecker wrote about aligned almost exactly with stories about life in the Little Italy section of the city that I heard growing up. (Although my great-grandfather did travel once to Chicago but didn't like it. "Too many Indians," was the reason he gave at the time. As in Native Americans. Probably would've been handy to have the golem's gift of language.)


Elizabeth Morgan (elzbethmrgn) | 274 comments Trike wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "I was so mad at the ending. Why did it have to go ahead and [morph into a romance?]"

I didn't get that at all. Not even a whiff, actually. I thought it was refreshing that here w..."


It's the distinct impression I received from the final two or three pages . I've taken my copy back to the library, so I can't re-read it. And, I agree, romance wasn't part of it and doesn't need to be part of it. I can't see Ahmad in a romantic relationship, but a friendship is what they both need to balance their elements (literally).


Fried Potato I wouldn't say I found it boring, but it wasn't entertaining either. I could describe it as "meh". I read it almost out of habit. "Oh, that guy dies? whatever, who cares, next chapter."

It wasn't bad but I just never felt any connection with any of the characters.


Darren This was a book I bought a long time before I actually read it, and I think I went into it with a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I have an issue with writers who seem to act like they're slumming in the genre, so when I see a fantasy with all the trappings of lit-fic, I can be a little biased. Also fairly well read/longtime interest in both golems and djinn, so I was excited enough to pick the book up instantly, but wary enough of disappointment that I kept putting it off.

I don't know whether all this prejudice on my part worked in the book's favour or not, but I reallly enjoyed it, when I finally did sit down with it. It's got a hard ending, but a good story.

As I wrote after reading:

"This is a beautiful book, but cruel. It builds up readers' empathy for Ahmad the Jinni and Chava the Golem, despite their dangerous natures, and then in the end shows us no, they are still monsters."


message 19: by Gregory (new)

Gregory (gfitzgeraldmd) | 36 comments I had not heard of the book prior to it being a Sword & Laser pick. The story grabbed me right away, and held my interest to the last page. I really enjoyed the historical aspect of turn of the century NYC, the people, languages, cultures, etc. All, I felt, were well done. I felt the two protagonists were well fleshed out (pun intended), full of hopes, dreams and faults. I switched between the Kindle version and the Audible version. The narrator of the audio book was also very good.


Matthew (matthewdl) | 341 comments I had a similar experience Gregory. The first half of the book was a bit meandering as far as the plot goes but the love that went into the worldbuilding and the cast of secondary characters kept me totally absorbed in the book.


AndrewP (andrewca) | 2469 comments Uxía wrote: "I wouldn't say I found it boring, but it wasn't entertaining either. I could describe it as "meh". I read it almost out of habit. "Oh, that guy dies? whatever, who cares, next chapter."

It wasn't ..."


Just finished it and I have almost exactly the same opinion. I listened to the audible version and had the opposite reaction to most people. For me he was just incredibly boring and my mind kept drifting off.


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