Pub Date: April 23, 2013
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master-the husband who commissioned her-dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free-an unbreakable band of iron around his wrist binds him to the physical world.
Meeting by chance, Chava and Ahmad become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing nature-until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
It's been a long time since I've opened a book and devoured huge chunks of it at a time. The Golem and the Jinni was captivating.
There wasn't a lot of action, which I normally demand in a book; The Golem and the Jinni is just plain good storytelling. Wecker delves into what it would be like to be a supernatural creature living among humans, trying to hide. She masterfully weaves magical fantasy and historical fiction in this tale, combining the stories of characters and showing how their lives intertwine.
The characters are fleshed out and believable. Chava, the golem, is passive and afraid of herself and others, yet she stubbornly holds on to her life. She is also gentle and aware of others' feelings. The Jinni is outgoing and selfish with a temper to boot, yet somehow the two end up becoming friends. Some of the best dialogue in the story is after they meet and commence to arguing with each other.
I love how Wecker portrays them as fugitives, not as superheroes. These are creatures that would be destroyed if they are found out, and they know it. They also have to deal with the loneliness of being one of a kind.
At over 500 pages, I thought this book might be a tedious read, but it didn't feel too long and the pages flew by. The Golem and the Jinni is stunningly written and will take you to an enthralling world of magic and 19th century New York. Highly recommended.
This post was part of a TLC Book Tour for The Golem and the Jinni. Go here for a list of the rest of the tour stops, and to read more reviews of the book. Also, check out the book trailer!