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The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1)
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June 2018: Magical Realism > Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker - 5 Stars

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The Golem and the Jinni is Helene Wecker's first novel and it was both captivating and thoroughly enjoyable. I was intrigued at the premise of a book dealing with two creatures from mythology, the Golem from Judaism and the Jinni from Arabic culture. Both creatures are so vastly different, and given very distinct attributes. The Golem and the Jinni builds momentum slowly, yet perfectly, chapter by chapter alternating between the story of the Golem and the Jinni and how they came to New York City during the turn of the century. Their introduction to New York is radically different in virtually every respect and like the cultures that created them, they settle in their respective immigrant communities, the Golem in the Lower East Side and the Jinni in Little Syria in the Lower West Side. The character of the Golem, eventually named Chava, was my favorite character. For some reason I felt very connected to her, her challenges, her restlessness, and her growth. Despite the potentially destructive and violent nature of a Golem, Chava is full of love and concern, even though she has no object for her devotion. The Jinni, impulsive by nature, is perhaps the less relatable of the two for me. Passionate and easily angered, he defines the nature of the Jinni in Arabic tales. The author finds ways to intertwine both of these characters into their respective communities and in the process creates an amazing story, linking each of them to their past as well as their uncertain future.

The Golem and the Jinni both become pursued by a past they cannot escape and it is then that they realize they must work together to avoid their worst fears being fulfilled. It was here I became so wrapped up in the tale that I simply could not put the book down. I had to know what was going to happen next. I love it when a story takes me to this point, when an author has created such a storyline that I am hooked. Wicker is amazing at creating suspense and I find it hard to believe that this is her first novel. Towards the end of the story the Golem and the Jinni are facing potential destruction, yet work together to attempt to stop that from happening. In the end I was torn as to whether the author wanted to attempt a sequel or simply couldn't figure out a suitable ending for these two very different creatures. Perhaps that's what she wanted, for her readers to determine what they thought would happen. This is not to say the ending ruined the book for me. It only left me wondering and I don’t always think this is bad. What makes the Golem and the Jinni great is that, although they are mythical creatures, they reveal to us what it means to be human through their adaptations to the human world.


message 2: by KateNZ (new) - added it

KateNZ | 2667 comments I’ve had this on the list fo ages and it sounds gorgeous. I wish someone would create at least 8 more hours in the day. Perhaps I need to move planet


message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 9344 comments Rachel, that was an absolutely gorgeous review! I loved it too but had read it many years ago, and you brought it all back for me.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 8424 comments KateNZ wrote: "I’ve had this on the list fo ages and it sounds gorgeous. I wish someone would create at least 8 more hours in the day. Perhaps I need to move planet"

All the great reviews here had me searching book sales/garage sales for it-And I found one this week! Now to just get to it.....so many books so little time.


Susie | 4488 comments Great review! I really enjoyed this and have fond memories of reading it. I’m looking forward to the sequel.


Jgrace | 3108 comments I loved this story. And this was a book I had to buy. The cover art is so beautiful and the page ends are dyed and gilded!

I'm not sure I like the idea of a sequel. It would take a lot to pull off something just as good.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Susie wrote: "Great review! I really enjoyed this and have fond memories of reading it. I’m looking forward to the sequel."

I really think she left an opening for a sequel and I would love this!


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Amy wrote: "Rachel, that was an absolutely gorgeous review! I loved it too but had read it many years ago, and you brought it all back for me."

Thank you Amy. This was my favorite book for the month. I absolutely loved the story and am so impressed with this author's writing. She had me the entirety of the book.


Barbara M (barbara-m) | 2299 comments That was one of my favorites of the year and I'm looking forward to a sequel. I borrowed it from the library a couple of times before I actually opened the cover to get it started! Maybe the size put me off at the time but it turned out to be a really fast and enjoyable read!


Amy N. | 256 comments I'm so glad you loved it as much as I did!


Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6396 comments I was disappointed in this book

Excerpt from My Review
In general, I like fantasy, and I love magical realism. When the book was first released, I immediately put it on my TBR. But I felt that Wecker failed to deliver. I was not swept away. Still, there are passages that were riveting and I never felt like I should just give up on the book. Final verdict: a decent but uneven debut, and I won’t be in any hurry to read the planned sequel.


Hahtoolah | 439 comments This is one of my all-time favorites. i read it when it first came out, then bought copies for friends and family so they could read it too.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Hahtoolah wrote: "This is one of my all-time favorites. i read it when it first came out, then bought copies for friends and family so they could read it too."

I absolutely loved this book!! It is on the top of my list for this year so far.


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