The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #1)
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Summary: Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life 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 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 binds him to the physical world.
The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.
My Thoughts: The Golem And The Jinni is a wondrous story filled with such in-depth characters, fascinating world-building, and a magical plot that will leave you captivated long after the final page!
Originally on my Goodreads review I rated it 4.5 stars, but honestly I’d spent maybe a month or so reading this book (which I’d been wanting to read for years now! ❤ ) and now that I’ve finished, this story truly a masterpiece and I felt it deserved a full 5. Aside from a minor issue (mentioned later in my review), The Golem And The Jinni is a tale I’ll never forget!
I don’t usually mention my “reading experience,” but that’s definitely another aspect that made me love this book so much. No matter where I stopped, I was immediately thrust back into the magical world of The Golem And The Jinni whenever I picked it back up! ❤ ❤
*~While I mostly read/review Young Adult, note that The Golem And The Jinni is an Adult book!~*
There were so many incredible aspects of this book I’ll try my best to explain them all.
Firstly, the plot. It was beyond amazing~ It follows Chava who is a Golem (creature made of clay) and her beginnings as she is created for Otto Rotfeld, who wants a wife. But her husband falls ill on their ship voyage to New York and passes away.
A Golem itself is also created to follow the desires/wishes of its master, however now that her husband Otto Rotfeld has passed, the desires/thoughts of people around her begin to invade her mind and she is unsure of what to do as she tries to better understand herself and navigate this world alone.
Then there’s the Ahmad the Jinni. He finds himself in a tinsmith’s shop in New York and realizes he’s been trapped in a flask for thousands of years. He does have gaps in his memory, but remembers for sure that there was a wizard who trapped him. All he wishes for is freedom.
These magical creatures are now understanding who they are and where they fit, in this new world.
As for other elements of the story (like plot) I don’t think I’ll go too much in depth, because I feel this a tale you really need experience for yourself without much background. But, I will mention the basics and a few specific elements that I really loved!
The writing (3rd person POV) is very descriptive and creates a magical atmosphere which immediately draws you into the story. There is a lot of description of food, setting/nature, that the setting feels rich and immersive.
There are multiple POV’s however, Wecker does a masterful job at making them distinct, really letting you understand each and every character with such depth that they feel so real throughout the story!
The story weaves together phenomenally which is shown masterfully through the differing POV’s.
At its heart, this tale is about finding yourself and understanding who you want to be. I loved that theme of self-discovery was weaved all throughout the story.
The diversity was fantastic! There’s mainly a Syrian and Jewish cast of characters and an array of ages among them.
I adored the world-building! There’s so much detail put into the differing neighborhoods, buildings and architecture. Additionally, I found each character lends a unique scope to the world-building as well, which truly made the settings come to life.
While reading I could really picture the wear and tear of the apartment buildings, the baked goods, the sunsets, bustle of city life…everything! Being able to really envision these little details really transported me.
Magic weaves with history and religion as this tale, which fuses both Jewish and Arabic folklore, unfolds.
The female friendships in this book were fantastic! While a problem or two arises along the way, they show support and care for each other no matter what!
I suppose my only minor issue pacing with some moments throughout the POV’s where it is rather slow.
The Golem And The Jinni is a captivating & atmospheric tale that melds history with fantasy. Filled with compelling characters, themes of family, friendship, and a dazzling setting, this is not a tale to miss!✨